Southern food blogger Cara Greenstein shares summer hand pies inspired by a favorite childhood treat.
Caramelized Blog Hand Pies
Credit: Caramelized

We can all agree that food around a table is the greatest conversation starter, whether at first bite or over a full bottle! And when your meal's centerpiece dish is one from every guest's childhood dreams, a wave of nostalgia carries the tide of dining dialogue. In this case, my Pop-Tarts inspired hand pies are the perfect dish to bring guests back to their early years of extra-sweet mornings.

I learned recently that Kellogg's has been recreating and reimagining Pop-Tarts since the 1960s; and yet here we are today, over half-a-century later, pining over and preparing our own versions. Personally, the brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts held my top spot of favorite breakfasts as a kid (Eggo cinnamon waffles weren't far behind!). I was not allowed to indulge in one every morning for understandable reasons, but Friday mornings became a ritual for the toasted treat.

Today, my summery strawberry jam hand pies prove to be an excellent choice for coffee-accompanied breakfast, a brunch spread, or even an afternoon snack. This recipe is a great summer afternoon baking project to involve your kids or your girlfriends, delivering flaky, buttery layers and prompting little pieces to flutter off when you take the first bite. The center, which you can swap for nutella chocolate or another fruit jam if preferred, is ooey-gooey yet light enough to contrast the traditional, less sweet shortbread taste.

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You'll soon find yourself doing what I always practiced as a kid on my Pop-Tarts—savoring every little bite, first from the outer rim and eventually into the most coveted jam-filled center bite. Perhaps I took so long as a kid to eat my breakfast to avoid arriving early to elementary school!

Cara Greenstein is author of the award-winning, Memphis-based food and lifestyle brand Caramelized. A bonafide foodie and entertaining expert, Cara shares a wealth of inspiration for the kitchen and home, as well as guides for outings in Memphis and across the South. Her latest venture, the Caramelized Supper Club, offers a "dinner party in a box" subscription service for convenient and creative at-home entertaining.