½tspcoarse Kosher salt(if using table salt, use half the amount)
1cupcold unsalted butter,cut into 16 pieces
1large egg,yolk and white separated
2tbspvery soft unsalted butter
½cuplight brown sugar,lightly packed
½tspvanilla bean paste
In your food processor, pulse the flour, powdered sugar and salt until combined.With the processor running, drop in the pieces of butter, one at at time, pulsing a few times until the butter is evenly distributed, and the dough is moistened and crumbly.Add the vanilla, milk and egg yolk (save the egg white for later), then process until the dough starts to stick together.
Dump the dough out onto a clean counter and use your hands to finish bringing the dough together, kneading in any stray bits of flour. The dough should be soft, smooth and supple.
Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.Prepare two large baking sheets by lining them with sheets of parchment paper.
Working with half the dough at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to an even thickness of 1/8 inch thick, using enough flour so that it doesn't stick to the counter or the rolling pin. Using a ruler for guidance, cut the dough into rectangles measuring 3x5 inches. Handling the dough carefully (it's delicate when rolled thin), place the cut dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. TIP: I find it easiest to transfer the cut rectangles of dough by sliding a spatula or a bench scraper under them to move them to the baking sheet. This way, there's less chance of tearing the dough than if you use your hands to pick them up.Gather up the scraps of dough, roll them out again, and continue cutting as many rectangles as you can. You should be able to cut 18 rectangles to make 9 pop tarts. Chill the cut dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, stir together the soft butter with the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.
Your butter should be very soft, almost to the point of melted, so that you can easily mix everything together.
Spoon the brown sugar cinnamon filling onto half of the rectangles of dough, using about 1 tablespoon (or slightly less) of filling per pop tart. Use a small offset spatula to spread the filling out, leaving a 1/2 inch border all around.
Brush the edges of the dough with the reserved egg white.
On the other half of the dough, use a knife to cut an "x" or several slits in the dough. This will help to vent the steam from the filling, so the sides don't burst open in the oven.
Place the top pieces of dough on the bottoms, and press the edges to seal. Use a fork to press the edges together all around each pop tart.
Place the baking sheet back in the refrigerator to chill while the oven is preheating.
Preheat the oven to 375 F, and position a rack in the center of the oven.
Bake the pop tarts for about 25 minutes, until the bottoms and edges are golden brown, and the tops are baked through and starting to puff.
Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before icing.
In a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, meringue powder and cinnamon. Add the milk and vanilla, and stir until smooth. The icing will be thick, but should slowly run off a spoon.
Immediately spread the icing onto the warm pop tarts with a small icing spatula or the back of a spoon. After the icing crusts over, you can sprinkle the pop tarts with a little more cinnamon. You can eat the pop tarts warm, or let them cool and enjoy them at room temperature. The icing will crust over quickly, but will not fully set for an hour or two.
Let the pop tarts cool completely so the icing fully sets, before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Making the Dough without a Food Processor: If you don't have a food processor, you'll need a large bowl and a pastry cutter. In the bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Scatter with the cold butter pieces and use the pastry cutter to cut the butter in until very finely cut and evenly distributed. Drizzle with the vanilla and milk, then use your hands to work the liquid into the dry ingredients until it forms into a soft dough.
Freezing the Dough: To make the dough in advance, wrap the disk of dough in plastic wrap, labeled, and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for 3-6 months. Frozen dough should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator. Then take the dough out of the fridge about 1 hour before you're ready to roll out the dough. It should still be cool to the touch when you roll it out, but pliable enough to roll without too much difficulty.
Keyword Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Pop Tart, Sugar Cookies