I think it’s pretty well established that the great joy of cooking, and one of the biggest advantages over buying food, is the satisfaction that comes from making something with your own hands. Turning separate ingredients into one cohesive dish that is greater than the sum of its parts is certainly one of the biggest motivators in putting forth the effort to cook. Creating – and consuming – a labor of love like this can be extremely satisfying. Usually. I’ll go ahead and say it, though. Some recipes are difficult and not pleasing. Enter the homemade pop tarts.
Gosh, I wanted to love this recipe, and I didn’t think it would be too hard to improve on the store-bought version. Then the pastry-making began. I know I’m in the minority here, but I really dislike butter-based pastry recipes. I’m always hopeful, but I’ve never met one that turned out well for me. Same with this one. First the texture was wrong, then I thought it tasted too salty, and then I had a heck of a time cutting 18 identically-sized rectangles. But I pressed on.
I didn’t have the corn starch that the recipe called for in order to make a jam filling, so I decided to make peanut butter and chocolate chip filling. I was getting progressively more frustrated, especially when it came to matching up my oddly-sized pastry squares. Finally, they were in the oven!
When the timer went off, I opened the oven door and nearly cried. They were a lovely golden brown, but that was mostly due to the fat bubbling out of every fork hole I had poked in the top. I double-checked the recipe to make sure that I read it correctly, and then it hit me: the peanut butter (yes, you probably foresaw this problem at least a paragraph ago).
Once they had cooled, my homemade pop tarts were actually pretty good. That’s what my eating audience told me, anyway. Somehow the end product had been a little tainted for me. Will I make these again? Probably. But not for a while (and butter-based crust remains on my blacklist).