Making Healthier Homemade Pop Tarts with an Oatmeal and Whole Wheat Crust is a little extra trouble. I’ll admit that upfront. However, they are so much tastier than store-bought–no preservatives and so fresh!
Flaky dough containing oatmeal and some whole wheat flour surround a sweet filling of your choice. These pop tarts can be frozen ahead and baked fresh for breakfast.
If you’re thinking “too much trouble” —don’t go away just yet!
If you are dough challenged… never fear! I have devised an easy method for making these deliciously flaky and tasty pop-tarts with you in mind.
What makes these healthier?
Most homemade pop tart recipes have more fat than my conscience or waist can tolerate. But it cannot be avoided entirely. Pop-tarts are, after all, just pie crust with a little bit of filling.
However, I created a crust that incorporates oatmeal and some whole wheat flour. I used part white whole wheat flour because of its mild flavor and better behavior in pastry. Regular whole wheat tasted too much like cardboard. The oatmeal lends a wonderful nutty flavor.
You could also substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the white whole wheat flour.
Instead of the usual brown-sugar filling, you could use all-fruit preserves.
The recipe calls for shortening (stick form stored in the freezer is SO convenient) because it makes a flakier product than all butter. But if you are averse to shortening, you can substitute the same amount of butter with good results. Be sure you freeze the tarts before baking or they will turn in to a melty, greasy mess.
Do I need special equipment?
The only special equipment you will need is 2 zippered gallon-size plastic bags and parchment paper. See the pictures below.
Homemade pop-tarts are a special treat and/or fun project to do with your kids, grandkids or a class. Consider letting them help.
What are the benefits of making homemade pop-tarts?
- You can vary ingredients according to your tastes.
- You control the portion size
- Unsurpassed freshness
- Can be frozen for baking when needed
- Suitable for breakfast or dessert
- Not just for kids
3 Pop Tart filling variations
- Brown sugar-cinnamon filling seems to be a favorite so I included the directions in the recipe below.
- Try thick jelly or preserves–but expect it to leak a bit during baking.
- Check out the picture below for an awesome filling using a slice of cold cream cheese and a spoonful of blueberry preserves or lemon curd. You might call them “Cheesecake Pop-Tarts.” Not sure if your kids will like them, but adults go crazy for them.
How to make the oatmeal and whole wheat crust in a food processor
You don’t have to have a food processor but it makes for much faster mixing. If making the dough by hand, I recommend you use oat flour instead of oatmeal. Mix dough the same way you would a traditional pie crust.
In another small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Pour over flour mixture and pulse 5-7 times. Remove lid and blade. Use hands or spatula to press dough together. All crumbs should come together into a ball.
Kitchen secret for easy roll-out of the pop tart crust
Thanks to Smitten Kitchen for giving me a starting point regarding the brown sugar-cinnamon filling. Raisins are optional. Dates would be awesome too. Chopping them finely will fool most raisin haters and keep your tarts from being lumpy.
Also, thanks to Dorie Greenspan for giving me the idea to roll out sticky dough inside a plastic bag. I use the same method with my Pink Shortbread Cookies.
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- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 generous tablespoon raisins (optional)
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant or old-fashioned)
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (milder and better for pastry than regular whole wheat)
- 1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup cold or frozen shortening (if you are averse to shortening, butter may be substituted. Pop-tarts should be frozen before baking, however.)
- 2 tablespoons cold butter (chopped)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup buttermilk or plain fat-free yogurt
1. Add all ingredients for filling to a food processor bowl and process for 1 minute or until raisins are chopped fairly small. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
- Combine oatmeal and flours in the bowl of a food processor and process for 15-20 seconds. Add shortening and butter and pulse 12-15 times. The mixture should be coarse. Don't go too far with this. You should have small but visible fat lumps throughout.
- In another small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Pour over flour mixture and pulse 5-7 times. Remove lid and blade. Use hands or spatula to press dough together. All crumbs should come together into a ball.
- Divide dough in half and place each in a separate gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Place dough ball at the center of the bag.
- Begin to roll out with dough remaining in the plastic bag. Roll dough evenly to all four corners. Open the bag and re-close to remove air or wrinkles. Flip bag and roll on the reverse side to help with wrinkles. Try to roll it as evenly as possible. Holding the bag up to a window or light will show you where the dough may be too thin or thick. Place flat dough (still in the bag) in the freezer. Repeat process with second dough ball.
- When frozen hard, remove one bag of dough from the freezer. Let warm 2 minutes, + or -. The dough should not be so hard it breaks, but also not soft.
- Use kitchen shears to trim all 4 edges of the zippered bag. Use a pizza cutter or knife to lightly mark cutting lines for 12 equal rectangular pieces. Without removing from the bag, cut apart with kitchen shears.
- Do in this order: Cut bag in half. Cut each of those halves in half length-wise so you now have 4 long strips. Cut each of the 4 long strips into 3 equal lengths.
- Place squares in the freezer and repeat Step 5,6, and 7 with the second bag. Place those squares back into the freezer for a few minutes until completely hard.
- When the crust squares are frozen hard, remove them from the freezer. Remove plastic from 12 squares and divide between 2 cookie sheets that have been covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each square. Remove plastic from the remaining 12 squares. and place one on top of each square with filling. If at any point, the dough becomes unmanageable, return it to the freezer until hard. Seal squares with a fork.
- At this point, you can bake them or freeze them. If freezing, place tarts in the freezer on a cookie sheet unwrapped until frozen hard. Cut paper around each pop tart and place it in a plastic container or a bag with the paper still attached.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425˚.
- Place pop-tarts with attached parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake immediately.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you plan to toast later, bake only until very lightly browned. Otherwise, bake until golden brown. Frost if desired when cooled.
1. Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon butter or margarine and 1 tablespoon coffee (for brown color, but does not really taste like coffee) or milk.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 4g