Homemade Pop Tarts
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)
Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste
To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.
Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8? thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9? x 12?. [You can use a 9″ x 13″ pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3? x 4? rectangles.
Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.
Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
Charming tip from King Arthur: Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.
Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon half-and-half (I used cream, because I had it on hand; suspect milk would work just as well)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Then cut each strip into approximate 1-inch squares. Gently transfer the squares to an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. You can also transfer the dough first, and then cut into squares. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best.
4. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
5. Serve at room temperature. Cheese crackers will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days.
Homemade Ho Hos
Recipe from Gale Gand
* 5 eggs
* 2 yolks
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 6 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 cup clarified butter, warm
* 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 1 cup butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
* 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 ounces cocoa butter or 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* Equipment: 2 half sheet pans with sides
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the Cake: Butter the jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper; then butter the paper to assure release.
Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer.
In the bowl from a standing mixer, combine the eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla in a bowl and whisk briefly. Set the bowl over the simmering water and stir until warm and the sugar looks dissolved. Attach the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with a whisk, and whip until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder 3 times.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, while folding the egg mixture, sift in the flour mixture, little by little, until incorporated. Drizzle in the clarified butter, while folding the batter.
Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pans dividing equally and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake until lightly browned and it starts to pull away from the edges of the pan, about 14 to 16 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let sit in the pan for 1 minute. Run a knife along the edge to release the cake then flip it out onto parchment paper. Brush the paper (the one you lined the pan with) with water and let soak for 2 minutes. Peel it off the cake. Trim dry edges from the cake. Let cool covered with plastic wrap.
To make the Filling: In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the sugar and butter and mix on low speed until well blended; then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream for spreading consistency, if needed.
Spread the sponge cakes with a thin layer of the filling, leaving a 1/4-inch space at the far edge. Roll the cake tightly on the long side until you have rolled a 1 1/2-inch thick log. Cut the log off from the remaining sheet of cake and place seam side-down. Repeat with remaining cake. Chill the logs for 30 minutes; then cut into 2 1/2-inch sections.
To make the Glaze: Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. One at a time, gently drop the cake rolls into the hot chocolate. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the cookie sheet and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.