Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Poptarts (Mint Chocolate Chip)

Kitchen Request:  Homemade Poptarts (Mint Chocolate Chip)
Complexity Level:  Easy

I love poptarts.  I love the fruity, wild berry or blueberry ones with the colorful icing and little burnt edges when toasted.  As a child, my father would keep a serious stash of the Strawberry Frosted Poptarts (that we were not allowed to eat) in the pantry next to all our healthy granola bars.  He was serious about those poptarts... thad gps been around then like it is now, I think I would have found myself grounded more so than not.

Because we all know, from time to time when you are young, an adult telling you no means I dare you, and I dare you means you're often grounded.
As an adult, my husband love poptarts and like my father, keeps a stash around.  Unlike my father however, my husband is obsessed with the poptarts I often hide from (I'm a fruity kinda gal!):  Chocolate Chip Sundae, Ice Cream Shoppe, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon.... Man, if only he could jump onto the Wild Berry wagon we'd probably buy poptarts with our weekly groceries. 

In all honesty, even in college I never really found a reason to stock up on them, just the occasion road trip breakfast snack (or if in college year -- the after bar convience shop trip).  I know, it's a shame to admit, but I am being honest here!

So the reason for this story is that two friends of mine from work, Niki P. and Mike E, have serious obsessions with poptarts.   It's to the point that if you even mention the word "Poptart" they will immediately say "Oh great idea!" and start eating one... 

So in conversation with them, they told me their favorite tart has been discontinued, and no matter who they know or ask, they are gone for good:  Mint Chocolate Chip.  Now upon realizing this we all had a moment of catharsis, because instantly they remembered I am a recipe creator, and they are food lovers.

And so the challenge was given.  I Aimee Kleer-Gonzalez (Bargain Bites) have been asked to create Chocolate Chip Poptarts to bring back the joy, peace, and love these rectangular treats have once brought to Niki and Mike.  And so, the experiments began.

The moment I started making the dough my husband asked "What are you making!?" And when I said "Poptarts" he seriously asked with whole hearted concern, "honey how, when, how do you do these things and why haven't you done this before!?"

I do not like to use other recipes, so I will be trying this experiment, just like the others, with nothing but my kitchenaid mixer, husband, and from time to time I may sneak in a sip of beer (never doubt a genius at work!).
The first and most scary topic:  The Poptart Crust 
Poptarts have a pie/ cookie like crust.  It's like Mrs Fields and Pepperidge Farms joined forces and created this ultimate crust.  And so, to try to compete with that, I am going to make a pie like crust with cookie like ingredients.  Of course, if you can think back to when the Mint Chocolate Chip Poptarts were around (or do an image search), you will see their luscious dark chocolatey crust, and so this will be taken into account as well.

Experiment Chocolate Poptart Crust
What You Need:
2 cups Flour
2 sticks Salted Butter
1 Egg
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Cream

To start, mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl with either your hands, a dough cutter, or a food processor.  Just like traditional flaky butter crust for pies, we need to assure the butter is not mixed, but rather clumpy, to give way for some flakiness to the crust.

Next, mix in the egg and milk, again either with a fork, your hands, or a whisk.  Do not use the food processor at this point.  The heat from over processing will melt the butter, and lose some flakiness once baked.  Yes, this is a dry dough at first.  Please, do not add anything else to it!  Keep mixing it with your hands, pressing it to knead the wet into the dry.  Adding more moisture will, in the end, cause an epic disaster!

Form into two square patties, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill.

Experimental Mint Chocolate Filling (it's a mint ganache!)
What You Need:
16 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tbsp Peppermint Extract

Hold that thought.  We'll make this when it's about time to assemble.

After the dough has chilled at least 1 hour, roll into 1/4 inch thick sheets.  If you have a ravioli press you can use it to help you form mini-poptarts (genius right! -- how do I think of these!?), if not then you can have the fun of making these however you desire.

I went with a few different sizes, because in all reality it's an experimental recipe and I like to have fun in my lab (kitchen).  That, and I'm not a machine so I enjoy imperfections.

Once rolled out I decided I wanted to reduce crust waste and focus on maximizing my poptarts.  So like ravioli I was ready to stuff, meaning I had squares of different shapes and sizes ready to be married to their matching counter part.
Experiment Notes:  In an ideal world this works perfectly.  During the experiment, like many dough recipes, the first roll was too hard.  But have no fear, one thing I did was cut thick squares then roll those out even more individually.  Of course as you handle the dough it will soften.  You can re-roll the scraps to make more tarts!
It's time to melt that chocolate.  To start, melt the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and peppermint extract in the top of a double boiler.  I like to bring the bottom water to a boil, then set the double boiler on top, and lower the water to a simmer underneath. 

Stir often, and continue to melt until smooth and warm consistency.  Remove from the heat and let sit 1 minute before spooning into your squares.  

Absolute Heaven.  And if you have extra ganache, it hardens to a truffle center consistency.... just saying ;)
Place enough ganache into the center to leave 1/2 in on all sides.  Place the top layer of dough on top, and press the edges around with your fork.  For steam, poke a few holes on the top (think about unfrosted poptarts--you've seen these holes before!).  Don't worry, we will make a frosting too after these cool.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely.  If you try to eat these hot those chocolate chips may burn your tongue off (not good).

Experiment note:  If you think your oven is cooking faster, then remove them.  No one likes burnt tarts. and you know what, not every tart will look gorgeous, but what may seem like an ugly tart, can soon be masked with frosting!  Below is what can happen if your dough is too thin, or you holes to large:
Bakers Sample?!  yummmm

Let the tarts cool at least 1 hour at room temperature before frosting.  This is only to assure your frosting wont melt off into a messy sugar lake.

Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting
What You Need:
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tbsps Heavy Cream
1/2 tbsp Peppermint Extract
Green Food Coloring (about 8 drops)

Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk.  This is a super thick icing, but keep whisking to get it smooth and consistent in color, I assure you it will happen.  If you are struggling ad a few drops of water or more cream, but every drop goes a long way!

Spread onto the cooled tarts and decorate with your favorite flair!  I used mini chocolate chips and silver sprinkles (I LOVE glitter ;) )

I hope you enjoy!  These are super tasty, and believe it or not, I like the ganache better than normal poptart fillings.  In all, I would say this experiment is a great success!  After making these, I looked around online for other ideas (i like to share mine where I can).  Smitten Kitchen had some awesome ideas to make strawberry and brown sugar poptarts... it's a small world that more than one of us have tried this experiment out!

I hope you enjoy Niki and Mike!


  1. I love homemade poptarts! I can't believe you never went through a 'poptart addiction' period. My freshman year of college, I ate them every morning. I'm not proud. haha. These look delicious!

  2. I love homemade poptarts! I can't believe you never went through a 'poptart addiction' period. My freshman year of college, I ate them every morning. I'm not proud. haha. These look delicious!

  3. I love homemade poptarts! I can't believe you never went through a 'poptart addiction' period. My freshman year of college, I ate them every morning. I'm not proud. haha. These look delicious!

  4. wildberry pop tarts were my favorite too! Only my brother liked the smores kind (and he was the baby in the family) so we never got the ones I liked, which was probably good because I could eat a box at a time :) I've never made homemade pop tarts but these look awesome!

  5. Jenn -- You're enthusiasm is amazing! I don't often meet people with energy like me ;) This is me opening up a bit, but no -- i didn't go through a poptart phase in college (i think you were my neighbor, she LOVED them freshmen year) but I did go through a LUCKY CHARM phase! I'd eat boxes of it every week! Ohhh college years, the good times!!

    Kristina -- I am SUPER excited you're on the wildberry train. Whats with these boys and their obsession with the non fruity poptarts?! lol. I will make up a wild berry recipe and post those. Who knows, maybe I'll do Poptarts round 2, and post a bunch of flavors! This was a test post, so I wanted to see if they worked -- and they sure did!!!

    Let me know if you ladies try these out ;) Thanks for commenting and stopping by ;)

  6. Haha, I love you husbands reaction to you making these! That was pretty hilarious :) But that would probably be my reaction cause these look and sound amazing, I've got try it out myself! Great job :)

  7. Thanks Amalia!!! I love your reaction, I think often I take for granted how ridiculous we are in this household!

    Let me know how these go for you! For my friends who requested them.... let's just say they ate 3 each in 1 sitting! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!!


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