Homemade Pop-Tarts w/ Date and Walnut Filling

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My break off from school has been filled with homework, a few shifts at the cafe, good conversation, good food and plenty of Gilmore Girls.

Our tradition this week has been that when my sister returns from school, my mother and I join her on the couch in front of the TV with mugs of tea and turn on an episode of Gilmore Girls. Recently, there was quite the monologue between Rory and Lorelai about pop-tarts. That night both my mother and sister inquired about me making pop-tarts. So naturally, I couldn’t turn them down.

The pastry is crisp and not too buttery, and the filling is naturally sweet thanks to dates. Add cinnamon and walnuts and you’ve got perfection!

My Dad, not the biggest Gilmore Girls fan in the world but a big pop-tart fan, gave them a big thumbs up.

They are quite a lot of work to put together, but just the smell is almost enough to entice me to whip up a batch.

I experimented with a few different fillings: cinnamon and sugar, chocolate chips, and store-bought jam. The general consensus was that the date and walnut filled ones were #1, Jam took 2nd place, chocolate 3rd and cinnamon/sugar 4th. The cinnamon/sugar ones would have been much better if I loaded them with more filling, as they puffed up more than anticipated. C’est la vie, now I know for next time! Even with the lack of sugar/cinnamon, the pastry is worth keeping those pop-tarts around.

These are best served fresh from the oven with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a hot cup of tea. Plus another episode of Gilmore Girls never hurt anyone.

HOMEMADE POP-TARTS W/ DATE AND WALNUT FILLING ~makes 20, pastry and method based on The Homemade Pantry

Pastry:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour and cubed butter, and carefully mix together with your hands just until the butter is coated with the flour.

Place bowl in freezer.

In a glass measuring cup, stir together salt, water and vinegar until salt is dissolved.

Place in freezer with the stand mixer bowl for 10 minutes.

After mixture has chilled, using a paddle attachment with the mixer on low speed, stir butter and flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

With the mixer still running, slowly add the chilled water mixture. Continue stirring for an additional 30 seconds, or until the dough forms into a ball.

Half the dough, press into 2 discs and wrap in cling wrap. Place in the fridge for at least an hour. *The dough may feel strange and rubbery here, but stick with it! It will all work out!

While dough is chilling, make the filling.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped (I used dried dates)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces

In a saucepan, stir together dates, cinnamon and water over medium heat, and cook for 5 minutes, until dates have dissolved to form a wet paste like mixture. Stir in walnuts.

Assembling Pop-Tarts:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together 1 egg and 1 TB of water. Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out dough till it is 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut out equally sized rectangles and separate into pairs.

Using a pastry brush, take one rectangle from each pair, brush it with your egg mixture and place 1 TB of your Date and Walnut Filling in the center. Take your other rectangle of pastry and place on top. Using a fork, press together edges to seal your pop-tart. Brush top with egg mixture, and poke a few holes in the top using your fork so the pastry can let out hot air during baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cool, and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Lentil Sweet Potato Bowls w/ Lime Rice (vegan)

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I love a good versatile recipe. You may or may not look at this and think to yourself, “Hmmm…have I seen this recipe before?”. Well, you would be right! Partly…

Last month I posted my Vegan Lentil + Sweet Potato Tacos, which were a great success. This recipe utilizes the same filling, but instead we are serving it on top of a good helping of lime rice. I know, it’s barely a recipe at all. But hey! When something is this delicious, I couldn’t help but post it!

It’s been a string of sunny sunny weather here in Vancouver, with daily high temperatures of 14 degrees C. Spring has come early! Or I am being teased and taunted and it’s gonna be -20 next week. Who even knows anymore.

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The taco version of this recipe I see as a spring recipe, it being light, fresh and delicious.

The bowl version I’m posting today is for those chilly days, where you crave something hearty and filling. I love everything in bowl form. Burrito bowls, noodle bowls, bowls of soup, desserts in bowls. Not only does it make your dish look adorable, it’s super portable, so you can dance around with it wherever you please! Dancing is key in every part of your life you know.

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Anywho, I’m almost finished with midterm week, then I’m headed back home to my parent’s house for my reading break. (For those of you who don’t live in Canada, reading break is where we get a week off from school in the middle of the term. I think it’s meant for ‘studying’ or something.)

I can’t wait to lie on the couch. Seriously though, at uni with no couch means I’m seriously deprived.

Have a wonderful week! 🙂

LENTIL SWEET POTATO BOWLS W/ LIME RICE~serves 4

For the Rice:

Thoroughly rinse 1 cup rice, and add to a small pot with 2 cups water and 1/4 of a fresh lime (sliced). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer according to your rice’s instructions.

For the Lentil-Sweet Potato Mix:

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 can cooked lentils, drained and rinsed

Put sweet-potato cubes in a small pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender. (8-10 minutes)

While sweet potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add in onion and garlic and sauté until soft, translucent and golden.

Stir in cumin, paprika, pepper and salt and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

When potatoes are cooked, drain and add them to the onion mixture. Using a spoon or potato masher, mash sweet potatoes lightly. You don’t want them completely mashed, just so they blend with the onions a bit.

Stir in lentils, and cook until heated through.

Taste, and add more spices if needed.

Top with anything you like, and devour! Here are a few topping suggestions:

  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Bell Peppers