I considered tearing out my hair. I considered spending my lunch hour at the Dave's downtown running up and down the cereal aisle comparing the prices of various raisin brans. Instead, I got ambitious. I decided to open up my recipe box, flip to the breakfast tab, and get cooking. What I found was a recipe I'd loved from years ago and had promptly forgotten about.
Baked Faux-Toaster Pastries
What you need:
1 c. whole white wheat flour (or 3/4 c whole wheat plus 1/4 c unbleached flour)
1 stick of butter/margarine (or 1/2 c of your favorite butterish alternative)
1/4 c water
Jam (as much or as little as you want but a little goes a long way)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease yourself a jellyroll pan. The jellyroll part is important, because if you are like me and end up overstuffing your pastries in your enthusiasm, you want a rim on the pan on catch any run-away filling.
2. In a small bowl, cut the butter into the flour with a fork. Add the water as you go. It will be a lot like mashing potatoes after awhile. When the flour becomes doughy enough to form a ball, do so and knead it around a bit to make sure there are no large clumps of butter in there. You want it roughly uniform. Separate that one ball of dough into four equal balls.
3. On a floured surface, roll out one of the balls into a rectangle as thick or as thin as you want. On the bottom half of that rectangle, add a thin layer of jam, leaving at lead 1/4th of an inch at the edges clean of jam. I used strawberry for two and blueberry for the other two, but any variety will do. Fold the top half over onto the bottom half. With that same fork from before, crimp the edges of the top half into the edges of the bottom half to seal the pastry. Place the pastry onto the jolly roll pan.
4. Repeat step 3 for the remaining balls of dough. If you, like me, enjoy a variety of jam flavors, remember to give each a distinguishing mark so you can tell which is which, unless, of course, you really like surprises.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes. My stove takes less time than others, so you might need to put it in longer. They should come out vaguely golden brown. If some of the jam seeps out, because you too are an enthusiastic jam stuffer, fear not. It will come off in the wash.
I used this excellent blueberry jam that has tiny whole blueberries in it for two of mine and your standard Smuckers strawberry for the other two.
Of course, if you, like me, are planning to make these puppies ahead of time, just put them all on a plate with plastic wrap separating each one and pop them in the frig. Then, in the morning, you simply nuke one in the microwave for 45 seconds. Add a drizzle of honey if you like your pop-tarts frosted. Leave plain if you prefer your pop-tarts unfrosted.
These were even better than I remembered them. The jam is sweet but with a taste that just seems less fake-tasting than your boxed toaster pastry, due to the actual fruit content. The other plus, you know how there's those parts at the top and bottom of the pop-tart where there's no filling and the crust tastes, in a word, nasty? Nonexistent in a homemade version. The crust is simple, a little plain even, but it's enjoyable alone. Not that you have to worry. That little bit of jam will find a way to coat everything.