This image courtesy of Brian Kennedy IN THEORY, WE COULD PROBABLY DEVOTE an entire recipe book to Halloween (many people already have). True, it has been co-opted and marketed and overdone–whole swaths of the country blanketed in orange and black faux-fright doodads–but it is still high on our list of favorite holidays. If you block…
This image courtesy of Brian Kennedy
IN THEORY, WE COULD PROBABLY DEVOTE an entire recipe book to Halloween (many people already have). True, it has been co-opted and marketed and overdone–whole swaths of the country blanketed in orange and black faux-fright doodads–but it is still high on our list of favorite holidays. If you block out the noise, Halloween is nearly perfect. It is the bliss of pumpkin desserts, dark chocolate treats, fall sweaters, and horror-movie marathons. That the Halloween-themed It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is also the best Charlie Brown TV special (by a landslide) is simply the cherry on top of a great holiday.
If you aren’t gorging yourself on Halloween-themed candy–we have a weakness for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the shape of a pumpkin–we encourage you to make these tasty Chocolate Pop Tarts with Peanut Butter and Jam Filling. We think they are an amazing and surprising Halloween dinner-party dessert (guaranteed to get at least one squeal of delight), but they also work well as high-end after-school snacks. They riff on the original nostalgic treat, but they are better–and not just because they are homemade. The chocolate dough is sweet, almost the texture of soft sugar cookies, and thoroughly toothsome, and they are filled with a burst of peanut butter tempered with a bit of jam. It’s just the sort of thing you need while watching Jamie Lee Curtis outrun Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s 1978 classic, Halloween.
NotesBAKED NOTE: As we are well-known peanut butter fanatics, we wouldn’t dream of making these without the peanut-butter portion of the filling; however, if you or any loved ones have peanut allergies, you should know that we also love these with just the jam filling (double it up if you are cutting the peanut butter). And other nut-butter and jam combos work well here too; almond butter and blueberry jam are kind of insanely good together in this chocolate pop tart.
Serves10 Pop Tarts
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Recipe CourseDessert, Snack
Dietary ConsiderationHalal, Kosher, Vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and TextureChocolatey, Rich, Sweet
Type of DishDessert
- 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (130 g) cake flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) frozen unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
- 3/4 cup (195 g) creamy peanut butter (see Notes)
- 4 ounces (115 g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups (480 to 640 g) strawberry jam or preserves
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups (225 to 280 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (25 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) whole milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick/55 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- White, yellow, and orange sprinkles (optional)
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE POP TART DOUGH
1 In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.
2 In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the egg, milk, cream, and vanilla until combined. Set aside.
3 Remove the mixing bowl from the standing mixer and scatter the frozen butter over the dry mixture. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry mix until the mixture is pebbly and the butter chunks are lentil size.
4 Place the mixing bowl back on the mixer, add the wet ingredients, and beat on the lowest or “second-lowest speed until the mixture comes together and a dough starts to form. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and bring it fully together with your hands, kneading ever so gently. Do not overwork this dough. Form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
MAKE THE PEANUT BUTTER AND JAM FILLING
1 Place the peanut butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
2 In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it just begins to bubble around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and immediately pour it over the peanut butter and chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute. Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the mixture by hand until it is completely smooth. Whisk in the vanilla until just combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature. The mixture will thicken as it sets.
ASSEMBLE THE POP TARTS
1 Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2 Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Rewrap half of the dough and return that portion to the refrigerator. Place the other half on a flour-dusted work surface and dust a rolling pin with flour as well. Roll out the dough (it will be sticky) into a rectangle approximately 10 by 13 inches (25 by 33 cm), about ? to 1/4 inch (3 to 6 mm) thick. (If the dough becomes too sticky, return it to the refrigerator to chill.) Cut the dough into 3-by-4-inch (7.5-by-10-cm) rectangles. If you have scraps, you should be able to reroll them at least once and cut more rectangles. Place the rectangles on one of the prepared pans and refrigerate them. Roll out and cut up the second half of the dough, place the rectangles on the second prepared pan, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. You “should end up with approximately 20 rectangles in total, the same amount on each sheet and an even number altogether.
3 Place the peanut butter filling in a large zip-tight plastic bag. If it does not feel thick enough to pipe just yet, pop the filling in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to help it set quickly. Snip a small corner off the bag to create a do-it-yourself pastry bag and set aside. Do the same with another plastic bag and the jam.
4 Remove the first pan of chilled dough. Pipe the peanut butter filling in a Z shape over the top of the rectangles, making sure to leave a 1/2-inch (12-mm) space along the perimeter. Pipe the jam in an inverse Z shape over the peanut butter filling, again making sure to leave a 1/2-inch (12-mm) space along the perimeter. Using a pastry brush, brush water along the exposed 1/2-inch (12-mm) perimeter of the dough.
5 Remove the second pan of dough from the refrigerator. Carefully place each of these chilled rectangles directly on top of the filling on the first pan of rectangles, lining up the edges of the rectangles. Seal the pop tarts by pressing the dough together along all four edges. Dip the tines of a fork in flour and use the tines to crimp the sealed border of the dough. Using the same fork, prick the surface of each pop tart three or four times to create vents. Place the pan back in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
6 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
7 Bake the pop tarts, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the tops of the tarts appear dry to the touch, 12 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
MAKE THE COCOA FROSTING
1 In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa powder until uniform in color. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and the vanilla “and keep mixing until the frosting starts to come together; the texture should be thick and almost sandy. Add the cubed butter all at once and beat on medium-high speed until the frosting looks spreadable. If the frosting is too thin, add a little more sugar; if it is too thick, add a little more milk.
2 Use an offset spatula to frost each cooled pop tart. Top with a pinch of white, yellow, and orange sprinkles, if you like. Allow to set for 15 minutes, then serve immediately.
HOW TO STORE
The pop tarts taste best when eaten within 24 hours.
2014 Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
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