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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Concept > Execution + Delivery

It sounds like a math equation but actually it's all about the food. The fact that I have even mixed the two is an achievement for me.
Anyway,  I thought I'd recount my experience trying to make my own pop tarts yesterday. Why make your own pop tarts? Honestly, I can't say! Do they taste better than store bought? Meh... Do they look better? Oh hell no. Are they at least organic? Well yes, you could say that. Not a lot of words you can't pronounce when you make your own food that normally comes in a box with the shelf-life of plutonium. However, chances are good the marshmallows I used probably have more than sugar in them. So maybe they're not organic either. I suppose they would be had I just used fruit filling.
This is my first attempt at making a dough that wasn't meant to be cookies. And probably my last.
This is the recipe I used. Brand new straight out of Alton Brown's head:
A remake from "I'm Just Here For the Food" apparently, and not from the episode "A Pie in Every Pocket". So, there's apparently like, 4 recipes I could have used, depending on if the book version of "a pie in every pocket" was different than the episode. (This is what happens when your show has been on the air for 12 years!)
Okay, let me try and digress. And I'll see how short I can keep this.
Making the dough was easy enough, especially with a stand mixer. But, as everyone knows, it's shaping and using the dough that's the hard part. And takes some skill. My friend Mary was with me, and we were determined to make s'mores pop tarts. Now for me, following Alton's directions were difficult. Even though I'd seen him do that sheet pan technique on dough before, it was much more difficult in practice. I'd given up trying to figure it out, and Mary suggested that we just roll out the dough, cut them into rectangles and make the pop tarts that way. Like how AB did it in "A Pie in Every Pocket". Which, btw, was a completely different dough. We were working with a sugar cookie dough now. But, I tried anyway. And I couldn't roll it out without it sticking to the pin. And falling apart, and everything else that can go wrong. So, I gave up. For a few minutes anyway.
I came back, determined to follow AB's recipe and not listen to Mary. The dough had to chill for a hour to help make it easier to work with, whether Mary wanted it to or not! I finally figured out how to roll it out using the sheet pan, but I only got 14 rounds instead of 16. That was okay. I cut them into pieces and let them chill. Mary had to go home then so she never got to try them.
After they chilled, I rolled each one out into rectangles. But, it was taking so long that by the end they were getting warm and squishy again. [I should mention here that yes, putting a cold sheet pan on top of the dough at this point to re-solidify the shortening would have been nice, but since I only have one sheet pan, and it was currently being used to hold pop tart dough, I couldn't really do that.] I had made my own ganache previously, and had a bag of marshmallows at the ready. Here's where the concept does not equal execution. I spread the ganache on one side and put like 6-7 mini marshmallows in each rectangle. Then, I attempted to put the tops on the tarts, which of course, were falling apart in my hands. And then promptly began to tear the dough when I put them on top of the marshmallows. It was okay, they would be fine, I thought. And so I put them in the oven to bake, thinking that the marshmallows would melt into the chocolate and make a yummy s'mores tart.

These aren't mine. I didn't take a picture because they totally
looked stupid and then I ate them all. Credit goes to
the blog

The dough set before the marshmallows melted, so I ended up with really tall and bumpy tarts.
Now, they still taste good, sure. But the marshmallow resets and you don't get guey marshmallow with every bite. And instead of making an icing to go on top, I just use leftover ganache and spread it on after toasting. Or before eating cold. Either way lol
In the end, AB's recipe worked flawlessly, so it's not his fault, it was mine. I should have had the forethought to freeze one of my crappy cookie sheets (since I would never bake on those.). And now I know that dough will harden before marshmallows melt. Next time I will buy the marshmallow fluff. (Wait, next time??)
So, yeah, they're tasty. But was it worth the effort? Not for me, really. Maybe if I had more practice at dough-handling. But at the moment, I never want to make dough ever again!!

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