A Healthier Pop-Tart – Apple Cinnamon with Oat Bran Crust

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Pop-Tarts with Oat Bran Crust

I was recently thinking about all of the abhorrent things I used to eat as a kid, and of course, my memory of Pop Tarts swam to the surface.  Ah yes, those beloved little squares of cardboard with an ingredient list full of words I can’t even pronounce.   I shudder to think of the number of boxes of those things I went through as a youngin.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
I snapped this in the grocery store the other day – the back of a box of apple streusel pop-tarts.  Sure, there’s lots of grandiose promises being made on those colorful banners, but look down there at the bottom in teeny letters.. only 10% fruit!

Hm.  So, that got me to thinking.   Making pop-tarts at home has to be easy.  My first thought was to use pre-made rolled pie crust and 100% fruit preserves for the filling.

Ok, not bad, but I bet we can do even better than that.

I was aiming for a breakfast tart that was tasty and healthier than the store bought variety.  I’ve been wanting to experiment with different types of flour, and this was a perfect opportunity.  I picked up a bag of oat bran flour from my usual grocery store, did some detective work and pieced together my own recipe for the crust:

Oat Bran Pop Tart Crust

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of oat bran flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten  (one is for brushing the tarts before baking)
  • 1.5 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 cap pure vanilla extract
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of raw cane sugar – optional.  Leave this out for a sugar-free tart.

What you’ll Do:

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.  All ingredients should be refrigerated before using – including the flour.  Cut the butter into the oat flour using a fork and knife or your fingers.  Toss in the salt, raw sugar, and cinnamon and mix with fork.  Add the vanilla, 1 beaten egg, and oil and mix together until a rigid ball can be formed.  Cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
The crust has a rich brown color even before baking!

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.

While the dough is chilling, it’s time to make the filling!

Naturally Sweetened Apple Cinnamon Filling

What you’ll Need:

  • 3 cups of chopped sweet apples (I used Fuji)
  • 1.5 TBS of cornstarch
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6oz of frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed

What You’ll Do:

Mix together 2/3 of the juice concentrate with the chopped apples and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.   In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 juice concentrate with the cornstarch and cinnamon.  Add to the apples and continue to cook until they are tender.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
I chose to peel the apples before chopping them.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
While your apples are cooking and filling your kitchen with wonderful smells, roll out your dough on a board dusted with oat flour (dust the roller too.. this is a sticky dough).  Cut out a long rectangle and place on a well-greased cookie sheet.   One recipe’s worth of dough should make about four pop-tarts, approximately 2×4 inches in length.  I recommend doubling the crust recipe, as I had quite a bit of apple filling leftover.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
Meanwhile, on your stove, delicious magic should be happening.  You know it’s done when you take a test bite and get sent straight to heaven, or when your husband floats into the kitchen with his sniffer held high into the air, trying to determine the source of the wonderful smell.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
Place a spoonful of filling on one side of each rectangle, being sure to leave room around the edges.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
Fold in half and use a fork to seal the edges.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.
Use a pastry brush to coat the tarts with the other beaten egg.  Use a toothpick to poke some steam vents.  Make sure to poke your holes AFTER you brush with egg, otherwise you’ll seal them right back up and increase your chances of the filling exploding out of the tart while they bake.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.

If you want to sweeten things up, coat the top with a sprinkling of raw sugar before baking.  If you want to keep them free of processed sugar, you can serve the finished tarts with some organic honey instead.  Pop those puppies into your pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 12-14 minutes.  It’s a little difficult to tell when the crust is done, because it’s already golden brown to begin with.  I pushed on them gently a couple of times until they were the desired crispiness.  When they are done, drizzle with a bit of melted butter or honey and serve while warm.

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.

All done!  We thought these were very tasty.  It was my first time baking with oat flour, and I really enjoyed the bold “oaty” flavor of the crust.  The filling is perfection, and reminds me a lot of the cinnamon apples side dish at Chili’s.  Not adding any extra sweetener preserves the natural flavors of the apples (which are actually pretty sweet to begin with) and cinnamon.  I would eat it just by itself!

I almost hesitated to call these pop tarts after I made them, since they are dancing dangerously close to turnover territory.. but then I thought that the texture of the crust much more closely resembles a pop tart than the typical flaky puff-pastry crust of turnovers.  So the name stayed.  :-)

A healthier pop-tart. Apple cinnamon filling with an oat bran flour crust.

So it’s not exactly as convenient as pulling out a shiny silver package of pop-tarts and shoving one into the toaster.. but it’s a heck of a lot fresher and a bit better for you, too!

About Erin

Erin Browne and her husband Matt are the people behind the curtain here at Brownie Bites. Together, they blog about recipes they love, places they go, and things that they do. There are also cute dog pictures. Lots and lots of them. You can follow Erin on twitter @erinbrowne.
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Comments

  1. Confession: I am excited about this.
    Will try in near future.

  2. Oh wow, these sound awesome. I used to love Pop Tarts as a kid and absolutely refuse to let my kids eat them now. They’re so awful and full of all kinds of chemicals and weird ingredients I’ve never even heard of. I can’t wait to give these a shot. Who knows, I may end up loving them for breakfast again too! Thanks for the great recipe. Any thoughts on how to recreate the cherry-filled ones? Those were my absolute favorite :)

    • Thanks for stopping by! I bet you could use any kind of recipe for naturally sweetened preserves or pie filling to make cherry ones!

  3. Wow, your photos are beautiful! Great recipe too, can’t wait to try it!

  4. I’ve been looking for this recipe for forever!! I’ve been wanting to make healthier pumpkin pie pop tarts, but couldn’t find any good crusts. I’m definitely going to try yours!

  5. I have some apples that need using up and these would be fabulous! Do you think I could use homemade oat flour ground from raw rolled oats? Also, what’s the best way to reheat these for breakfast? Thank you!

    • Hi Andrea! I haven’t tried making my own oat flour, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. That sounds wonderful! I reheated mine in the microwave. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Wow these look delicious! Although they aren’t the lowest calorie or most diet-friendly, they’re DEFINITELY better than the boxed pastries. You know, they actually remind me of the McDonald’s Apple Pies. What a beautiful dessert! :) Yum.

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