If you like pop-tarts, you will love my Homemade Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. 100% from scratch. The frosting “sets” after an hour making them identical to the originals.
Hi! (I’m currently wiping pop-tart crumbs off my keyboard.)
I made a homemade version of my all-time favorite high school snack food. My high school vending machines never had anything interesting (mixed nuts, stale granola bars) but it did supply pop-tarts. In only one flavor. The BEST flavor in the entire world.
Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon – the toaster pastry putting all other toaster pastries to shame. The food of which heaven is made. Unwrapping those silver wrappers is the sound of angels singing. Right?
When I was 15, I would eat two brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts at a time in about 20 seconds, twice a day – not caring for one second about all the processed junk going into my body. Oh, to have a teenager’s metabolism again…
It’s been way too long since I tasted one of life’s greatest pleasures, so I set out to make my own. None of the unrecognizable ingredients, all of the cinnamon goodness. And frosting. So much frosting. And brown sugar!!! Sweet, sweet brown sugar.
Can ya tell I’m a little excited?!
I’m going to be honest. Making pop-tarts at home, 100% from scratch, isn’t the easiest. It’s not impossible, nor should this recipe intimidate you – but you have to take your time, read all of the instructions before beginning, and be patient. There are lots of steps, but I have about 1 billion photos to walk you through it.
I highly suggest reading each step and viewing each photo before beginning.
Alright pop-tart lovers, here are my Homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. With pictures of the process and the full recipe written out towards the bottom.
(just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling…)
First step. Homemade pie crust is what you use as the pastry. My homemade pie crust is simple. Nothing fancy or intimidating. My buttery pie crust uses both shortening and butter to obtain optimum flakiness and tenderness. These fats must be COLD.
You also need very cold ice water.
Why the emphasis on temperature here? Keeping your pastry dough as cold as possible prevents the fat from melting. If the butter melts before baking, you lose the flakiness of the pie crust. When the lumps of fat melt in the oven as the pop-tarts bake, their steam helps to separate the crust into multiple flaky layers. Warm fats and water will lend a hard, crunchy crust instead of the nice flaky crust you want for the pop-tarts.
After the two discs of dough have chilled as described in the recipe below, remove one from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. This makes rolling out the dough much easier.
Roll disc into a rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick – about 9×12 inches in total size. Trim off the sides of this rectangle as needed. Cut dough into three even sections, then cut each section into three sections. Does that make any sense?
Use a pizza cutter for ease; it’s the easiest tool to use in this process. You’ll end up with 9 rectangles, each 3×4 inches. These will be the bottoms of your homemade pop-tarts.
Place each rectangle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the baking sheet in the fridge and repeat with the second half of dough.
Always keep the pastry dough chilled as you are working.
Roll 2nd disc out into a rectangle and cut into 9 even rectangles like you did with the first half of the dough. These nine rectangles will be the tops of your homemade pop-tarts. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator as you make the brown sugar cinnamon filling.
The filling! This is the best little filling to ever come out of my kitchen. I say that because brown sugar is my favorite ingredient to use in baking.
The homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop-tart filling is made with lots of cinnamon, lots of brown sugar, a touch of flour. That’s all, just 3 ingredients.
Mix it up with a fork, or even better– your fingers. Messy recipes are the best recipes.
Before filling the homemade pop-tarts, you have to brush the bottoms with a little egg wash. This helps the filling “melt” down and stick to the bottom. We’ll also brush the tops of the pop-tarts with the egg wash.
My egg wash = 1 beaten egg, 2 teaspoons milk.
(Thanks for the new pastry brush, Jaclyn!)
A few more steps.
Place 1 heaping Tablespoon of filling onto each rectangle. I used the back of my measuring spoon to spread it around. Leave about a 1/4 inch border around the rectangle. Brush the rectangle “tops” of the pop-tarts with egg wash. Place on top of the filled bottoms, egg wash side down. Poke holes in the tops of each pastry to allow the steam to escape. This helps get your pop-tart pasty nice and flaky. I used a toothpick to poke 8 holes in each.
Seal the edges by crimping with a fork.
Now, place the ready-to-bake pop-tarts in the refrigerator. Let the pop-tarts rest before baking. This firms up the pastry, since it has been out at room temperature for so long at this point. Chill for 20 minutes as your oven preheats. Once chilled, brush tops with egg wash. This egg wash will give your pastry that beautiful golden sheen.
Now it’s time to bake, then frost. A visual of these steps:
The frosting is so simple. It’s more of a glaze, less of a frosting.
Just a few ingredients including confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk. Whisk until slightly thick, but still a little runny. Use a knife or the back of a spoon to spread on top of each homemade pop-tart.
The pop-tarts are finally ready to eat.
I told you, this isn’t the easiest of my recipes – but it sure as heck isn’t the most difficult. I really want you to try these! My homemade pop-tarts taste just like the original, but 10x better. I can’t believe I just typed that. But seriously! You don’t get a flaky, slightly crumbly crust with store-bought pop-tarts. You just get… crumbles. You know what I’m taking about? And you get about twice the amount of filling with my homemade version.
The frosting isn’t an exact copycat because there aren’t any preservatives, brown food dyes, or strange things– but it’s absolutely incredible paired with the warm homemade pastry and brown sugar cinnamon filling. The frosting takes about 1 hour to set. We actually loved these homemade pop-tarts the next day. The frosting slightly hardened, making them taste much more like the originals. I think Kevin ate 4 that day.
Back to the subject of metabolisms… umm, can I switch mine with Kevin’s?? I look at a pop-tart and feel heavier. This is why I exercise. To enjoy homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts. And these.
Did you make it down this far? Enjoy this recipe, everyone!
If you like brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts, you will love my homemade frosted brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts recipe! They taste one million times better and are made completely from scratch with REAL ingredients. I encourage you to read this entire recipe before beginning, as well as viewing the step-by-step photos to help guide you. Plan ahead, the pastry must chill for some time.
Yield: 9 pop-tarts
Total Time: 3 hours
2) Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Form the dough into a ball. Divide in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks).
3) Assemble the pop-tarts: Remove 1 chilled dough disc from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. This will help make the dough easier to roll and work with. Keep the other disc in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes, place disc onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick and 9x12 inches in size. Trim the sides as needed. Always be gentle with your pastry dough. You don't want it to tear. Cut each piece of dough into thirds and each third into thirds again. You will end up with 9 rectangles, each measuring 3×4 inches. Use a ruler to help make this process easier and more accurate.
4) Place each of the 9 rectangles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The pop-tarts will not spread in the oven much, so you may place them relatively near one another. Place the baking sheet in the fridge. Roll 2nd disc out into a rectangle and cut into 9 even rectangles like you did with the first half of the dough. These nine rectangles will be the tops of your homemade pop-tarts. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator as you make the brown sugar cinnamon filling.
5) Make the filling: Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a small bowl. Set aside. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small bowl until combined. Remove 1 baking sheet of rectangles from the refrigerator. Brush egg wash over the entire surface of teach rectangle. These will be the bottoms of your pop-tarts and the egg wash will help glue the lid on. Place a heaping Tablespoon of the prepared brown sugar filling into the center of each rectangle, spread it around, leaving around 1/4 inch of space on the edges. Brush the second baking sheet of rectangles with egg wash, then place each rectangle on top of the filling-topped rectangles - egg wash side down. Use your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.
Poke holes in the tops of each filled pastry to allow the steam to escape. This helps get your pop-tart pastry nice and flaky. I used a toothpick to poke 8 holes in each. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork, to prevent the sides from opening as the pop-tarts bake. Refrigerate the filled pop-tarts uncovered for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour. This chilling let the pop-tarts rest before baking. It also firms up the pastry, since it has been out at room temperature for so long at this point.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Once unbaked pop-tarts have chilled for 20 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and brush the tops with the remaining egg wash. This egg wash will give your pastry that beautiful golden sheen. Bake for about 22-28 minutes or until they’re golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let the baked pop-tarts cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
Make the glaze: whisk all of the glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl until it reaches a spreading consistency. You want a thick glaze, but not too thick that it is hard to spread. Add another teaspoon or two of milk if needed. Use a spoon or knife to glaze each pop-tart. The glaze will slightly harden in about an hour, if you prefer to wait that long.
STORING & FREEZING. Store pop-tarts in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 6 days. To reheat, bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes. Baked pop-tarts freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat as directed before. I am unsure about reheating in a toaster.
*Get creative! Use your favorite fillings instead of brown sugar cinnamon. Like jam, Nutella, etc.
*I'm sure store-bought pastry would be fine, but this homemade version creates that unique flaky, slightly crunchy yet tender texture you know and love from regular pop-tarts. I prefer shortening in my pie crust and pastry dough recipe for the best texture. Feel free to use your own favorite pie crust recipe that uses all butter if you prefer. Butter may not be replaced for shortening in this particular pastry recipe.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
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AND, because I couldn’t stop shooting these pop-tarts…