Salty Sweet Valentine’s Day Pop-Tarts

This past week I went to a “Drunk TED Talk” in Brooklyn… and the topic was “crushes.”  Perfect for Valentine’s Day, am I right?  Comedian Ana Fabrega was one of the featured speakers, and she gave an achingly funny presentation on how to let your crush know that you like them.  I could relate a little too well.

Valentine’s Day brings about thoughts of past crushes for everyone.  I remember how on-top-of-the-world I felt after asking a guy for his e-mail address (not his phone number!) after a final theater performance in sixth grade…  nope, I never emailed him!  I know, so awkward.  That scrap of well-earned paper is probably still in my childhood bedroom somewhere.

This year, I challenge you to ask out your crush in a much sweeter (and classier) way; with these Salted Caramel Banana Pop-Tarts!  Maybe “Pop-Hearts” or “Heart-Tarts” would be a more accurate name for these cute little banana custard treats.  Nothing says “I LIKE-like you” like these DIY delicacies.  Scroll down for the recipe!

 

Salted Caramel Banana Pop-Tarts

Part 1:  Banana Custard

This banana custard is to DIE for.  You’ll be lucky if you actually get to the final Pop-Tart stage.  All I wanted to do was eat a bowl of the custard with a spoon!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Combine sliced bananas, milk, and vanilla in a medium sauce pan over low heat.  Bring to a simmer.
  2. Strain the banana milk through a mesh sieve.  Discard the solids.  Put back over the heat and bring to a simmer.
  3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch.
  4. When the banana milk is hot, temper it in the egg mixture.  By adding a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture, you avoid creating little bits of scrambled the eggs.  Transfer everything back into the saucepan.
  5. Cook the custard on low heat until it thickens and starts to bubble.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, until the mixture has a smooth consistency.
  6. Refrigerate until cool and thick.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap up against the custard to prevent a skin from forming.

Part 2:  Pop-Tart Dough

This pie dough is light and flakey.  I suggest rolling out the dough as thin as you can so that the banana filling flavor isn’t overpowered.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into around 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 – 5 Tablespoons ice water
  • one egg

Directions:

  1. Mix together the salt, flour, and sugar.
  2. Add butter and mix until the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.  Add water.
  3. Form dough into a ball and chill for about an hour.
  4. Roll dough out onto a floured surface.  The thinner you roll out the dough, the stronger the banana filling taste will be.
  5.  Cut dough into desired Pop-Tart shapes, and make sure that each piece has a match.
  6. Arrange the bottom halves of your Pop-Tarts on a baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.
  7. Mix the egg and paint a thin layer onto one side of the bottom Pop-Tart halves.  This will help to glue the bottom half of the Pop-Tart to the top half.
  8. Place a spoonful of banana custard in the middle of each piece.
  9. Place the matching half on top of each piece.  Using a fork, press the edge of the top into the bottom.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.  Rotate half way through baking.  Let cool before adding the icing and the caramel.

Part 3: Vanilla Glaze

This is a basic vanilla glaze that I often use on sugar cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons half and half, with more as needed to reach desired consistency
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Gradually incorporate the half and half into the powdered sugar.  Once desired consistency has been reached, add vanilla.
  2. Pour on top of baked Pop-Tarts.

Part 4: Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Bring brown sugar, butter, and milk to a gentle boil and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  2. While still very hot, drizzle on top of glazed Pop-Tarts.

I topped the Pop-Tarts off with a pinch of sea salt on top of each heart.  I also added a few pieces of edible gold leaf.

 

Galentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

“Oh it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”  -Leslie Knope

I’m jotting down this short little blog post in celebration of February 13th, AKA Galentine’s Day!  It’s become a pretty mainstream holiday since waffle-lovin’ character Leslie Knope announced its existence during the second season of Parks & Rec.  For those of you who don’t know about it, it’s the day to celebrate the best gal pals in your life.  They’re the girls who truly love you for being you, before, during, and after any significant other is on the scene.

In honor of girl power, these sugar cookies are made to look like the ugly tears of the guys who blew their chances at spending Valentine’s Day with you.  I made them a little too pretty, to be honest.  You all get the idea though; go forth and celebrate your girl gang!

Have a great week filled with the people that you love. <3