The Homemade Pantry, Cinnamon and Sugar Toaster Pastries, & a Giveaway

A few months ago, on a dark slick Sunday night, I pulled into the Quality Inn parking lot in Lee. The address matched that of the Bombay Indian Restaurant where I planned to meet Alana (from Eating From the Ground Up) for dinner. The place reminded me of the roadside motel in Hitchcock’s film Psycho, not exactly a place you want to check out next to an unfamiliar stretch of towering trees and a lake within pebble skipping distance.


I parked the car, quieted my fears, and stepped outside the car. Warm spices puffed through brightly lit lobby doors. The only surprise thriller I could encounter there was a plate of crisp papadums, spicy Indian curry with rice and a glass of good Indian beer.

I walked into the lobby and through the doors of the restaurant, bright and bustling with talk of this or that dish to order. A few minutes later, Alana walked in and joined me at the table where we quickly got caught up in our latest news. I couldn’t tell you the exact moment we met, since it simultaneously happened online and through our friend Kari who knew we would be fast friends. If I had to guess the date, it was a year or so ago when she was still in the early stages of writing her first book, The Homemade Pantry, which by the way, is a must have!


“I wasn’t sure if I should bring a copy to dinner,” Alana said as she pulled one her bag, “but Joey (her husband) reassured me that it would be okay.”

“I had secretly hoped you would,” I said.

As I flipped through the pages, I couldn’t wait to have a copy of my own. Those pin-up style pop-tarts (or toaster pastries as they’re officially known) on the book jacket haunted me. Broken pastry seems made by strawberry jam mixed with errant powdered sugar sprinkles proved to be difficult to wait for.

As someone who regularly makes bread, cheese, granola, pasta, yogurt and more from scratch, The Homemade Pantry already had a space waiting on my kitchen shelf. The book was an inspiration and not simply because of it’s hearty collection of 101 pantry staple recipes (pizza, snack cake, tortillas) or because it’s a real looker of a cookbook (with stunning photographs by Jennifer, food styling by Jessica, and prop styling by Kari) but also because Alana’s stories read as if I’m sitting down at the table with my closest childhood friend. Her honest portrayal of food, family, and everyday life reminded me to embrace each and every messy and not-so-messy moment spent in the kitchen.


A month or so later, book arrived. I tore open the over sized yellow packing envelope and read it cover to cover. Then I did what you might expect of me. I made pop-tarts: cinnamon and sugar, peanut butter and raspberry jam, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and decided right away that I needed to make these tarts from scratch, often. My guess is you’ll want to do the same.

I’m also giving away a copy of The Homemade Pantry, so you too can make pantry staples like amaretto, vanilla extract, graham crackers, marshmallows at home.
To enter: Leave a comment at the end of this post by midnight EST, Wednesday, April 18. One winner will be chosen at random.
Plus for 6 extra chances to win: Follow/Like me on any of my social hangouts: twitter, facebook, pinterest, and/or google +, or sign up for my newsletter or RSS feed and tell me that you did so.
Good luck!


The contest is now closed. Thanks so much for all your comments and enthusiasm for The Homemade Pantry. I’m happy to announce that I’m giving away 2 copies instead of 1. Congrats to the two winners: #11. Amy Marantino and #57. Gin. Hope you like the book!



Cinnamon and Sugar Toaster Pastries
adapted from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila

Makes 6 pastries

One recipe for Butter Spelt Piecrust
Extra flour for dusting the counter
1/4 cup milk (dairy or almond) for brushing the pastry
6 tablespoons cinnamon and sugar filling (with a fork in a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar until blended—store the extra cinnamon and sugar mix to use on buttered toast)
1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

1. Prepare the piecrust in two discs according to the recipe and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (2 to 4 hours is even better or you can wait up to 3 days).

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

3. Roll the first disc of pie pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle, cutting away loose edges with a sharp knife.

4. Cut the rectangle into six smaller rectangles. Gently separate the rectangles from the counter and lay then on the prepared baking sheet with about 2 inches between them.

5. With a pastry brush, paint each rectangle with milk. You will have some milk left—set it aside.

6. Scoop 1 tablespoon of filling onto each rectangle in a thin line down the center. Roll out the second disc of pie pastry, repeating the steps to create six rectangles.

7. Lay the new batch of rectangles over the rectangles with the filling and seal by pressing a fork around the perimeter of each rectangle. Using the pastry brush, paint the tops of each pastry with milk and poke several times with a fork.

8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before dusting with powdered sugar.



  1. A lovely sounding book and wonderful pastries!



  2. That sounds right up my alley and those pastries look incredible!

  3. Ooo what a fun book! I would love it for sure!

  4. My head is spinning with ideas for toaster pastry fillings– can’t wait til I have the time to try this. I’ve also been thinking about making my own yogurt… I could really use this book!

  5. Yum – this looks wonderful! Love to make pastry -my family loves it, too.

  6. I keep saying I’m going to make homemade toaster pastries. Maybe now I’ll get around to it. That books looks wonderful!

  7. Sounds so yummy! And you are on Pinterest? I must find you there!

  8. I couldn’t wait to have a peek at this book after you told me about it! It looks absolutely fantastic. Not sure whether your giveaway is open to Canadian friends, but I still wanted to tell you – the book is on my wish list, in case I don’t win it!

  9. amy marantino says:

    i am going to try this recipe next weekend. it looks awesome

  10. amy marantino says:

    i follow you on twitter

  11. amy marantino says:

    I signed up for the newsletter

  12. amy marantino says:

    I subscribe to your RSS feed

  13. Thanks for this giveaway

  14. Christine Wainwright says:

    Soooo yummy. My family loves home made anything. Thank you.

  15. These tarts look scrumptious! Just like the book… It’s so pink and stylish! I love it!
    ps. I never ever win something but you can’t blame me for trying…

  16. Oh, and I just became a fan on facebook and pinterest. Not {only} because I desperately want the pretty book; but also because you’re a true inspiration and cooking hero.

  17. My daughter made turnovers last weekend….these look really yummy! Can’t wait to try ‘em.

  18. Can’t wait to read this book!

  19. Michelle says:

    This book sounds wonderful! And those pastries look delicious!

  20. Michelle says:

    I “liked” you on FB

  21. Ooh these look lovely! And the book sounds fabulous…gorgeous pics :-)

  22. So excited about this book an so glad to have found you!! Finding you on pinterest and fb!!

  23. I need to try to make these!

  24. This book looks amazing! I cant wait to try all of these recipes!!!

  25. Wow, what an amazing premise for a book!

  26. What a gorgeous (and useful) book! My sister is getting into cooking and called last week to get tips on what to make at home so she could get away from processed foods and save money on her grocery bill. If I win I’m sending this book to her!

  27. Oh, homemade amaretto? This book is right up my alley (and not just for that reason…)

  28. OK, and I just subscribed to your newsletter. I’m already cyber-stalking you in all the other usual places I think ;-)

  29. Great post and The Homemade Pantry sounds so amazing! I also joined your FB page for another chance to win!

  30. oh good lord. yummy. i’ll join your fb page right now. does this count as a notification of such? hm.

  31. Bethany Kocher says:

    I have been looking for a graham cracker recipe… this book sounds excellent.

  32. I think this is a cookbook I would really enjoy.

    I follow you in google reader!


  33. Clearly a must-have book. We already make a lot of our own things here, but are always interested in adding more to the repertoire…..especially if it includes poptarts!

  34. Michael Schneider says:

    Thanks for talking up Alana and ‘The Homemade Pantry’!

  35. What a lovely book! It would be nice in my collection, too. :)
    Thanks for such a nice giveaway.

  36. Sue Blando says:

    This book sounds fabulous! I love to read cookbooks, marking the recipes that I will make, feelings overjoyed with what I can make for my family and friends. Homemade is always better than what my grandmother used to call “store-boughten”.
    Thank you for the opportunity to win. (Pick me!!)
    Sue Blando

  37. ikkinlala says:

    Considering the number of times I’ve made pie crust, I’m surprised that it’s never occurred to me to make toaster pastries – I may have to try that. This looks like a great book!

  38. Would love this book.

  39. I live out of town and not only do I love making things from scratch sometime there is a desperate need to (like taco seasoning or dijon mustard) for a specific recipe. Breads pastries, yogurt and cheese all things I want to say i made not bought. I would love love love this cookbook!

  40. Anne Marie says:

    Looks & sounds amazing! As someone who reads cookbooks like some people read novels, I’d love this one!

  41. So exciting! I am definitely checking this cookbook out. Fingers crossed that I win it, too! :)

  42. Love how the book looks and can’t wait to get my hands on it! I’m also following you on Pinterest and Twitter!

  43. The pastries sound amazing!

  44. Amanda Thompson says:

    This cookbook looks wonderful ~ can’t wait to check it out!

  45. Amanda Thompson says:

    I subscribe to your newsletter and emails!

  46. Those pastries are totally stunning–what a refined pop tart! I’ve also signed up to follow you.

  47. Oh wow, this looks fantastic! I’d love to make more staples, it’s always healthier and more flavorful to do it at home :)

  48. The cinnamon / sugar toaster pastries sound wonderful. I always keep a shaker of the mix in the cupboard.

  49. Your pastries are so flavoursome and fragrant – I would love a couple for breakfast :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  50. Wow–they sound delish!

  51. I’m following you on Facebook!

  52. I’m following you on Pinterest!

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