Phew! These have been such a long time coming. When the pop tart train rolled into blog land, I couldn’t help hopping aboard. Who didn’t, at some point in life, LOVE pop tarts? I was a huge fan of the funky flavors like s’mores, chocolate frosted (with those majestic white sprinkle crumbles), apple cinnamon, brown sugar and so on. Toasted or not, with milk or on their own — there was just something about that crumbly crust and thin layer of filling that I couldn’t get over.
I haven’t had a pop tart in YEARS. So when homemade versions debuted all over my favorite food blogs and overwhelmed my Pinterest feed, the wheels started turning. I had to create a “clean” version of that wondrous breakfast pastry.
I noticed that a lot of people were using pie crust recipes for the outer pastry, but as I remember them, pop tarts were less flaky and more crumbly. I also wanted to nail the filling. It had to be sweet and flavorful without being overwhelming.
So after lots of trial and error, here is my attempt at clean pop tarts. I’m shocked by how delicious they are while remaining completely vegan and grain/gluten/sugar-free. They’re buttery, crumbly, sweet but not too sweet, pleasantly filling, and they’ve satisfied each and every one of my childhood breakfast cravings. Please do give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! If you like to snap pics of your food like I do, post to Instagram and tag #offbeatandinspired so I can see your results! (Find me on IG here!)
Were you (or are you) a pop tart fan? What’s your favorite flavor? Let’s talk nostalgic breakfast foods!
Apple Cinnamon Almond Pop Tarts – Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Sugar-Free!
yields about 6 pop tarts
For the Crust
350g finely ground blanched almonds
2-3 small, or 1 large pitted Medjool date
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut oil (I like to use this kind from Trader Joe’s, or this kind by Nature’s Way)
1 tbsp light coconut milk (if needed)
For the Filling
1/2 a sweet/tart apple such as Honeycrisp, Jonagold or York Imperial (cored – peel it if you prefer, but I like to leave the skin on!)
4-6 small, or 3 large pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup light coconut milk (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In the bowl of a food processor, combine blanched almonds, dates, cinnamon, salt and coconut oil. Pulse until fully combined, resembling wet sand. If you’re able to form a ball of dough, move the mixture to a large piece of parchment paper. If not, add 1 tbsp coconut milk and pulse again.
After you’ve moved the dough to the parchment paper, rinse out your food processor bowl and make the filling. Add the apple, dates, coconut milk and cinnamon and pulse until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure everything is thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Once you’ve formed the dough ball, press it into a rough rectangle on the parchment paper, cover with another sheet of parchment and roll out to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick with a rolling pin. Be very careful to press and roll slowly and steadily, as this dough is prone to crumbling.
Cut as many rectangles from the rolled out dough as you can. Use a very sharp knife and cut slowly. The rectangles should be roughly 3 x 4 1/2 inches.
With a spatula, carefully slide up to 6 rectangles onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Spoon about 1/2 tbsp of filling onto the middle of each rectangle, spreading with the back of the spoon, being sure to keep the filling about 1/2 inch away from the edge.
Form the rest of your dough into a ball again, press into a rectangle and roll out the same as the first time. Cut 6 more rectangles and place them carefully on top of the filled rectangles. Press the edges lightly with your fingers until they’re all sealed. Crimp the edges lightly with a fork, and then poke 8 holes as shown, using a toothpick or skewer.
Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
Carefully move the pop tarts to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before serving. These will be much more fragile than a flour-based pop tart, so handle them gently! They’re SO worth the extra care though. Once they’ve cooled, they won’t be as crumbly. If you have leftovers, wrap and store them in the fridge.