Vegan Life | Recipes

Vegan Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

March 19, 2021

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Homemade brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-tart on a plate with a dish of brown sugar and cinnamon sticks behind it

I'll admit that these homemade brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tarts don't taste exactly like the original. But they do taste like what I always wished the brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tarts tasted like. While the original crust was underwhelming (am I the only one who used to break off the edges just to get to the filling?), the crust in this recipe is flavorful and delicious.

The biggest challenge in this recipe was the filling. Other recipes all seem to use very similar fillings which came out lacking flavor, and would get hard and chewy when they cooled a little. But this filling tastes perfect, and even better, it stays soft and moist when it cools. (A combination of vegan butter and coconut cream is the secret!)

FAQ

Are Pop-Tarts vegan? Some versions of Pop-Tarts (without the frosting) are already vegan. But the frosting contains gelatin sourced from beef. This recipe makes cinnamon frosting without any animal products.

Can I heat these Pop-Tarts in the toaster? I don't recommend it because the frosting tends to melt and drip off in the toaster. You can reheat them in a toaster oven or conventional oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) for 2-3 minutes until warm.

Can I use vegan butter or coconut oil instead of shortening? In my tests, vegetable shortening was the easiest to work with and tasted the best. You could use vegan butter, but I'd recommend refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes before rolling it out. I wouldn't use coconut oil because it melts too easily.

Vegan Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

Yield8 Pop-Tarts

Prep Time75 minutes

Cook Time25 minutes

Total Time2 hours

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. vegan granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan shortening
  • 1/3 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • water, for brushing on dough edges
  • plain, unsweetened almond milk, for brushing on pop-tart tops

Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Filling

  • 3/4 cup vegan brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegan butter sticks (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cinnamon Frosting

  • 1 cup vegan powdered (icing/confectioner's) sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 1/3 tsp. plain, unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add flour, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt to a medium mixing bowl and mix well. Add shortening and cut in (mix, pressing down) with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.

    Flour and shortening mix in a bowl after being cut to a crumbly texture
  2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, add 1/3 cup almond milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and mix well. Then add the liquid mixture to the crumbly dough and mix it well until it comes together and forms a dough.

  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out until it’s about 1/8” (3 mm) thick. Check to make sure the thickness is even throughout and continue to roll out any areas that are still too thick.

  4. Cut your dough into 3” x 4” (7.5 x 10 cm) rectangles (or any size/shape you’d like, just make sure they’re large enough to fill). You can do this using a rectangle cookie cutter, or cut a piece of parchment paper into a 3x4 rectangle, then lay it over the dough and cut with a pizza cutter. You should have 16 pieces if you’re cutting 3x4 rectangles. (If needed, re-roll the dough once.) Place the cut pieces on a baking tray (you will need 2 trays) and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Left: rolled-out dough cut with a pizza cutter and parchment paper guide; right: dough rectangles on a baking tray
  5. About 5-10 minutes before the dough has completely cooled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. salt to a small mixing bowl and mix well. Cut the vegan butter into small pieces, then cut it into the brown sugar until well-incorporated. Add the coconut cream and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and mix well.

  6. Remove the dough pieces from the refrigerator and lightly flour a flat plate. Place one rectangle on the floured plate, then add a heaping tablespoon of filling to the center. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread it out, leaving some space along the edges to seal the Pop-Tarts. Brush the edges with water, then place another dough rectangle on top. Lightly stretch the top piece to cover the filling and bottom piece, ensuring that there are no air pockets left inside. Press the edges together with your fingertips to seal, then crimp with a fork. Poke holes in the top with a fork to allow steam to escape. Make sure your holes go all the way through the dough (you’ll feel the sugar under your fork when you’ve passed through the dough). Brush the top with almond milk, then transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces and filling, then bake for 25-30 minutes at 350°F (175°C), until the edges are beginning to turn golden brown.

    Left: filling on a dough rectangle; middle: Pop-tart with filling, sealed, crimped, and with holes; right: Pop-tarts brushed with almond milk, on a baking tray, ready to go in the oven
  7. After the Pop-Tarts have baked, transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Prepare the frosting by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl (powdered sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 3 1/3 tsp. almond milk, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla). If the frosting is too thick to spread, add almond milk one splash at a time until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Use a spoon to spread the frosting on top of the cooled Pop-Tarts. You can allow the frosting to set for about an hour before eating, or enjoy them right away!

Notes & Hints

Check that your coconut cream is unsweetened. Latin brands of coconut cream such as Goya and Iberia have a lot of added sugar and won't work. Trader Joe's, Native Forest, Thai Kitchen, and 365 all make unsweetened coconut cream.

Be careful not to over-fill the Pop Tarts. If you put too much filling in, it will ooze out of the holes on the top and create a mess!

Make sure your edges are crimped well and you have a lot of holes on top; not doing this can cause the filling to ooze out!

Storage: I keep these in an air-tight container at room temperature for about 5 days. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for longer storage.

Reheat in a conventional or toaster oven (but not a toaster) for about 2-3 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius).

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe; Calories: 440Fat: 21 g.; Saturated Fat: 10 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 309 mg.; Carbohydrates: 58 g.; Fiber: 0 g.; Sugar: 34 g.; Protein: 3 g.; Vitamin A: 4 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 0 mcg.; Vitamin C: 0 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 3 mg.; Iron: 0 mg.; Potassium: 2 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

Pop-tarts on a cooling rack, with one on the left cut in half.
StephSunshine

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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.