Apple Cinnamon Toaster Strudels

It occurred to me the last time I was wandering the aisles of the grocery store that the only prepackaged foods I ever really crave are the breakfast ones. I walk down the cookie/cracker aisle all the time and am never tempted to pick anything up but the cereal aisle is a completely different story. I love the sugary cereals (Fruity Pebbles especially!), but also have a soft spot for Pop-Tarts and the little packages of flavored oatmeal (I adore the cinnamon & spice). And in the freezer section, it’s the toaster strudels that try to lure me. We rarely had them as kids, but I still remember how much I loved squeezing that little packet of icing onto the warm pastries, yum!

Apple Cinnamon Toaster Strudels

Aside from an occasional box of cereal, I almost never actually buy any of those things. Instead, I get in the kitchen and make a homemade version :) It still makes for a completely indulgent over-the-top breakfast, but at least I know exactly what went into it. And though I’m sure this comes as a surprise to no one, the homemade version puts the store-bought to shame 99.9% of the time!

Apple Cinnamon Toaster Strudels

While I’m on a major apple kick lately, it seemed like the perfect time to test out these apple cinnamon toaster strudels. Flaky puff pastry filled with a brown sugar and cinnamon apple mixture and topped with a cream cheese icing – in one word, heavenly! I am totally enamored with these little strudels. Trader Joe’s stopped selling the all butter puff pastry I would sometimes buy, and I’m not a huge fan of the other options, so I made my own for this recipe. If you’ve never done it, I promise it’s not terribly hard and both the texture and taste are so worth it. The mornings are starting to get cooler around here, and these warm apple pastries are the perfect fall treat!

Apple Cinnamon Toaster Strudels
from The Kitchn

{Note: if you decide to make homemade puff pastry, you’ll only need half of the recipe I link to below. I make a whole batch and freeze the second half.}

Crust
1.1 lb puff pastry (I used this recipe, store-bought would also work)
1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)

Filling
2 baking apples, peeled and cored (I used Gala)
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch kosher salt

Icing
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Diptic

To make the filling: Grate the apples on the large holes of a box grater. Set a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once it’s melted, add the apples and stir to coat. Mix in the brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture cooks down and is thick and syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the final tablespoon of butter until completely incorporated. Allow the filling to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To assemble:
Unfold one sheet of puff pastry (if you’re using the homemade, cut the dough into 2 equal portions – you’ll use each half as if it were one sheet of store-bought). Place on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a large, thin rectangle that measures slightly larger than 10×14 inches. Trim the edges to make the sides of the rectangle even, then cut the dough into 8 equal rectangles, each 3 1/2 x 5-inches.

Move 4 of the rectangles to the prepared baking sheet. Top each of them with about 2 tablespoons of the cooled apple filling – be sure to leave a small border (roughly 1/2-inch) around the outside edge so you’ll be able to seal them. Brush the remaining 4 rectangles on one side with the egg wash. With the egg washed side facing the filling, place one egg washed piece of dough over a filled piece of dough. Press along the edges to seal completely. Repeat to complete all 4 of the pastries. Use a fork to dock the strudels all over, including on the edges.

Repeat the process with the second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining filling (you may need a second baking sheet to fit all of the strudels).

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the strudels are golden brown and puffy. Remove the baking sheets to wire racks and allow to cool for at least minutes before topping with the icing.

To make the icing: Beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag or small resealable plastic bag. Cut off one of the corners then drizzle over the strudels. These are at their best served slightly warm, but still very good at room temperature.

Makes 8 strudels