Homemade Pop-Tarts: A Childhood Classic Revived

Image courtesy of Kansas City Baking Company (Scratch Bakery)
 
There are simple pleasures we recall from our childhood, like our favorite climbing tree or the homemade walkie-talkies we’d make out of cans and string. Nostalgia has a way of making us long for a time in our lives when all that mattered was the basics.

For many, that could be something as simple and satisfying as a food we’d enjoyed in our youth. One of the most cherished childhood snacks (that many of us still enjoy as adults) is Pop-Tarts. The simple and sugary toaster pastries quickly became an iconic breakfast food after the Kellogg Company introduced them in the mid 1960’s.

Originally coming in four flavors (strawberry, blueberry, brown sugar cinnamon, and apple currant), the massively popular snack food is now produced in dozens of varieties. There are so many flavors to keep track of that it can make people desire the time when it came in only a few options.

Retail bakeries are looking to bring back that feeling with their own homemade Pop-Tarts. This rising trend in the bakery world takes the grab-and-go simplicity of the classic treats and adds a personal (and tasty) touch to them.

One of the bakeries that realized this trend early on was Kansas City Baking Company, formerly Scratch Bakery. Owner and baking enthusiast Brad Killen has grown his bakery from a 2,000 square foot retail facility to an additional 20,000 square feet of wholesale space to provide bakery products such as bread and muffins to parts of the city, state, and country. A portion of that growth is thanks to the success of its homemade Pop-Tarts, which are supplied to 45 businesses in the Kansas City area. Clients include mostly coffee shops, although the bakery also sells to hospitals looking to bolster their baked goods options. They are also featured at the bakery’s downtown café.

“We’d always talked about the value of having products that would create nostalgia. There was a company on the East Coast that we had seen doing homemade Pop-Tarts and we realized that we needed to be doing something like that. Up until that point, there really hadn’t been anyone in the Kansas City area doing them,” says Killen about his bakery’s original motivation for producing homemade Pop-Tarts starting in 2015.

He sees it as a growing trend in the area, something that won’t go away anytime in the near future, because of its nostalgic factor. “Kids will always be kids, and adults will always want something that reminds us of our childhoods,” he says. They are also visually appealing in a way that other bakery products may not be, so they can really stand out in a bakery case.

Kansas City Baking Company uses a pie crust, which is opposed to what you may normally think of when thinking of a Pop-Tart. This allows for better flavor and consistency, holding up well while still providing buttery, flaky taste. The edges are crimped by hand with a fork, even though it takes much longer, because it helps to hold in the compote in the best way possible.

When it comes to homemade Pop-Tarts, the treat may seem simple but it’s the attention to detail that truly makes the pastry. We know that our inner kids appreciate it.