As many of you might know, I have a veryyyyyy sweet tooth. I love all desserts from cakes, to donuts, chocolate croissants, cookies, bars, candied nuts, cupcakes, pies and of course ice cream. I have always been like this... I guess it comes from my childhood. When my mom and her friends used to get together after church on Sunday, every lady would bring a different dish and the cakes were always the highlight of these gatherings! One of my mom’s friends, called Ira, was the queen of desserts. She would make the most unique and decadent cakes, always created with love. You could feel her passion for baking in every bite. I believe that it is partly why I fell in love with cooking and especially with making sweet dishes; to my 8-year-old self, desserts were a symbol of warmth, comfort and love.
As time went by and I immigrated to Canada, my love for sugary foods continued to grow and the traditional homemade treats were slowly replaced by a myriad of processed sweets. Some of my childhood favorites included:
Last but not least: Pop Tarts.
My Pop Tart favourite flavour used to be Frosted Strawberry. I could eat an entire 8 Pop Tart box in one sitting! I would start by gently taking them out of their foil-like packaging, making sure not to break them – back then, it was literally heart breaking when you would open a Pop Tart package and you would find them all crushed into pieces... Then, I would eat the border that had no filling, leaving the fruity pièce de résistance to savour last.
Since those early Pop Tart days, my diet has done a full 360. The Pop Tarts, Ring Pops and Toaster Strudel Pastries have not found their way back into my pantry for years.
I admit, I can sometimes crave the intense sweetness of these delights, but I have come to realize that I much prefer creating my own sweet treats. This way I know exactly what goes into my creations, ensuring the sugar and fat levels are not through the roof, while still satisfying my sweet tooth.
So what made me want to write an entire blog post on childhood desserts? Well, I stumbled upon this blogpost on Le Petit Eats, where Denisse shared her recipe of Vegan Maple Pumpkin Pop Tarts. This post really made me want to recreate one of my favorite sweet snacks. That is why I created these Tropical Peanut Butter and Banana Pop Tarts. They are stuffed with D&D Mamba Spicy Haitian Peanut Butter, caramelized rum bananas and garnished with a traditional sweet glaze and some toasted coconut flakes.
Made with love, a touch of exoticism and some of the most decadent flavours, I think these vegan pop tarts are far above the Frosted Strawberry Pop Tarts I use to snack on as a kid. They are flaky, perfectly sweet and delightfully rich, without being made with highly processed sugars, oils and other additives.
Vegan Banana and Peanut Butter Pop Tarts
prep time (excluding chilling time of 30 minutes): 15 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
total time: 30 minutes
yield: 4-6 poptarts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
3 tbsp soy milk
1/2 tsp coconut oil
1 small banana, sliced
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp rum
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp soy milk
1/2 tsp rum
Toasted coconut flakes
In a small bowl, combine flours and salt. In a small mug, combine maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil and soy milk. Add to the flour and form a sphere using your hands.
Transfer to a counter top and roll out until very thin (1 mm). Cut into 8-12 equal rectangles - the number of rectangles will depend on how big you want your Pop Tarts to be.
Transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes.
After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare the filling. Melt coconut oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add banana slices and maple syrup. Cook until caramelized, flip, add rum and cook until caramelized on the second side. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Take the dough out of the fridge. Spread one teaspoon of peanut butter on half of the rectangles, leaving about 1/4 inch of space all around the rectangle. Top with the caramelized banana slices. Using your finger tip, gently brush water along the edges of each rectangle.
Cover each filling-topped rectangle with their matching half. Seal lightly with a fork. Poke a few holes in the top of each.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden around the edges. Let cool.
While the Pop Tarts are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a small bowl or mug, add powdered sugar, soy milk and rum. Whisk until homogeneous. Gently brush each Pop Tart with the frosting and top with toasted coconut flakes.