Now that the turkey and stuffing are digested and the weather has turned from cool to ice cold, it’s safe to say that the holiday season is finally upon us! It’s time to string up the lights and settle into a Christmas movie with a nice cup of hot chocolate. Not quite sure which one to watch? You can’t go wrong with a classic, such as Home Alone or Miracle on 34th Street, however, if you’re looking for something new to bring you Christmas Cheer, Disney+ and Marvel Studios has something special for you! The Guardians of the Galaxy are back in their very own Christmas special and boy does this group of A-holes know how to ring in the holiday season!
This holiday special provides a lot of laughs and tears of joy. So in honor of it, The Cosmic Circus is incredibly excited to bring to you a Christmas treat that is perfect for this latest Marvel Studio project. In this edition of Cosmic Cuisine, we present this fun and delicious recipe for Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Pop-Tarts pastries!
One of the exciting parts of this recipe is that you can put whatever filling you want inside the pastry. We chose raspberry and strawberry jelly for two, along with a brown sugar and bacon version, celebrating the greatest hero in the entire universe’s arrival in the MCU – Kevin Bacon. Perhaps if Mantis has this recipe handy, she could have given Star-Lord this bacon as a gift instead!
You may be asking yourself, why Pop-Tarts? What does a delicious breakfast pastry have to do with the oddest group of heroes throughout the galaxy? Well, it just so happens that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special was filmed under the working title “Pop-Tarts” so we couldn’t resist the sweet connection!
Without further ado, we are excited to share this recipe with you, along with a few tips and tricks to help perfect the holiday treats.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter (cold)
- 8 to 10 Tbsp ice water
- Raspberry Jam
- Strawberry Jam
- 6 to 8 Slices of cooked bacon (rough chopped)
- 1//4 cup brown sugar
Toppings for jam-filled pop-tarts
- 1 Cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp milk
- assorted sprinkles
Topping for bacon pop-tarts
- 2-3 slices of cooked bacon (rough chopped)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- First make the pastry dough. Either cut the butter into small cubes or grate it into pieces. Mix the butter with the flour by either pulsing it in a food processor, using a pastry cutter, or hand-rubbing it in.
- Sprinkle half the ice water over the flour/butter mixture and mix gently. Add the rest of the water slowly, mixing in between until a dough forms.
- Once dough can hold a ball shape, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and press into a flat disk. Cover with plastic-wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to overnight.
- After the dough has chilled, cut the disk in half, keep the dough you're not working with in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Roll out the working dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8" thick.
- Cut the dough into approximately 5"x3" rectangles (think pop-tart sized). Place half the rectangles onto a parchment lined baking tray.
- Work quickly for these next few steps. Brush the pastry rectangles on the tray with water or egg-wash.
- Time to add the filling. For jams, just add 1-2 Tbsps (MAX) to the pastry, keeping a 1/2 border around the filling. If making the bacon pop-tarts, mix the bacon with the brown sugar, then spoon the filling onto the pastry.
- Cover the rectangles with the other half of the cut rectangles. Press the two layers together with your fingers, then go back over the seals, crimping them closed with a fork.
- Poke the tops of the pop-tarts with a fork to let steam escape as they bake.
- Before baking, refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm back up. While they are chilling, repeat steps 5-11 with the second half of the pastry dough.
- Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Place on a cooling rack and cool completely before topping.
- While they are cooling make a simple powdered sugar frosting to top the jam-filled tarts. Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1-2 Tbsp milk. You want a thicker, but not too thick frosting to get that nice, shiny, smooth look on top. It should be closer to pourable than spreadable. Let it sit while the pop-tarts are cooling to thicken slightly.
- Make the frosting for the bacon pop-tarts by melting 1/4 cup butter over low heat on the stove. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and stir over heat until smooth. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Stir and slowly add 1 to 2 Tbsp milk until a not quite pourable but not yet spreadable consistency is reached. This frosting will continue to thicken as it cools so place it in the fridge to cool faster as the pop-tarts cool.
- Frost the completely cooled pop-tarts. Top the jam pop-tarts with sprinkles. We used different sprinkles for the different types of jam so we could easily tell them apart. Sprinkle the chopped bacon over the bacon pop-tarts.
- Enjoy! These will keep for two weeks easily in a covered container. No refrigeration needed.
Chilling and rolling your Pop-Tarts pastry dough
One of the toughest parts of this recipe is handling the dough. The recipe to make the dough is relatively simple, however, the stages between mixing it up and the finished product proved to be a bit more difficult.
Temperature, as it so often is, is key. The butter must be kept as cold as possible while making up the dough. I actually froze the butter and used a cheese grater to shred it into manageable pieces that would mix with the flour. After mixing the pastry dough up, it’s important to chill the dough for quite a while to help keep the butter in the dough cold. If the dough is not relatively cold, the butter can become too soft and the integrity of the dough in the final steps can suffer.
The dough should chill for no less than 30 minutes to help firm it up, although leaving it to sit overnight in the refrigerator is perfectly alright as well. It’s important to remember to take it out a few minutes prior to the next step because dough straight from the refrigerator is difficult to roll out.
Once you are ready to assemble your Pop-Tarts and have taken out the dough, it’s time to roll the dough out to the right thickness. Ideally, you don’t want dough that is too thick or too thin, so like Goldilocks, you’re looking for a thickness that is just right. Too thick and the dough won’t cook properly, causing a gooey mess in the middle and possibly uncooked pastry.
On the flip side, if the dough is too thin, the dough can become overcooked and burnt, or even have the insides burst out much too easily. I rolled out my dough to about 1/8 inch, which I achieved with thickness guides I slid onto my rolling pin. These thickness guides are a neat little kitchen tool for anyone not confident in their thickness guestimations (looking at me). My set has four color-coded sets (1″, 1/2″, 1/4″, and 1/8″). I just slip the bands onto the ends of my rolling pin and roll the dough until the pin passes over without touching. Easy-peasy.
Filling the pastries and creating a good seal
When the dough is rolled out and cut into squares (mine are fancy because I have a wavy dough-cutting tool, don’t knock yourself out trying to get the same pattern by hand), comes the fun part of putting the delicious filling into the middle. As I said, we used strawberry and raspberry jam, and brown sugar with bacon, but you can put in any flavor of jelly or jam you’d like.
The trick with the filling though is that you don’t want to put too much into the pastry. You want enough so the Pop-Tart isn’t dry but too much filling makes it difficult to seal them properly, resulting in difficulty sealing them and leaks. I may or may not have had this problem with some of them.
It’s incredibly important to make sure the pastry is properly sealed. Using water and a brush (you can also use an egg wash) we brushed the edges of the bottom pastry to help create a better bond between the two outer sides of the pastry. Make sure to leave a good half-inch border around the filling when adding it, that will give you plenty of space for a good seal. After gently pressing the two pieces together, I crimped the sides with a fork, further sealing the pastry and protecting the goodness inside!
Our old friend parchment paper
Please, please, please remember our old friend, parchment paper. I know I have gone on and on about it before so I will keep it short. Parchment paper will keep the pastries from sticking to the pan, always a plus. More importantly, if there is any leakage it will keep the filling from sticking to the pan and make clean-up a breeze. So don’t forget that liner!
If the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special brought you as much joy as it did us, we hope you enjoy this festive way to celebrate the holiday season. Who needs Christmas cookies when you can make Christmas Pop-Tarts?! So pick your favorite jelly and create your own version and have the happiest of holidays from The Cosmic Circus!
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is currently streaming on Disney+. Have you watched it yet? Let us know your thoughts on the special and if you decide to make some holiday Pop-Tarts to celebrate! And if you haven’t already, check out our other latest Cosmic Cuisine, Namor’s Shrimp Bowl, in honor of the arrival of Marvel Studios’ latest film; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever!