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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Healthy Unicorn Pop-Tarts (w/ 3 filling options!) (Vegan, GF, Fruit-Sweetened, All-Natural)

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Unicorn is everywhere. Frappuccinos, hair (which I have had, see my "About" page), desserts, you name it, it exists. Our culture is obsessed with unicorn-themed products, recipes, and aesthetics (and mermaid- and fairy-inspired things too). Jumping on that bandwagon, I've created this recipe for Unicorn Pop-Tarts! This isn't your typical unicorn recipe, though. These Pop-Tarts are vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened completely with fruit (even the 3 different fillings and the glazes!). A bonus? These Pop-Tarts are 100% naturally colored using nutrient-dense superfood ingredients and the flavors are all-natural. No artificial ingredients in sight here! These Pop-Tarts are wicked good, with a burst of mystical flavor and beautiful unicorn hues, that will make you feel like you're flying over a rainbow. For a grain-free and paleo option, see the "Substitutions" section of this post.



I mean just look at those colors! And these Pop-Tarts aren't just all looks, they're also addictively good. Arguably, these might be the tastiest ones I've made yet. Clean-eating, drool-worthy unicorn desserts? Sign me up!


So I know it may look like I used artificial food dyes to get the pink color of the Pop-Tarts, the blue glaze, and the green drizzle. But believe it or not, all three of these components are colored with real whole food superfoods! The pink Pop-Tart crust is naturally colored with a new staple in my pantry: pink pitaya (AKA dragon fruit) powder. I use Suncore Foods's Pink Pitaya Powder. You may have noticed that I used pink dragon fruit powder as a natural colorant in another recent recipe, specifically my Pink Lemonade Granola (another mouth-wateringly good recipe!). The pink pitaya powder just makes for such a good superfood colorant that adds an electric pop of color. Pitaya, AKA dragon fruit, is a superfruit (superfood + fruit) that is loaded with antioxidants and other nutritional goodies.


The blue glaze for these Pop-Tarts is naturally colored with blue spirulina (basically the blue antioxidant pigment extracted from green spirulina). And the green drizzle for these Pop-Tarts is naturally colored with green spirulina (whole spirulina). Spirulina is a type of blue green algae that has numerous health benefits and is among the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. Fortunately, no fishy flavor is present in the glaze or drizzle because if you mix spirulina with sweet or richly-flavored ingredients, the fishy flavor disappears.


As far as the fillings go the colors are all natural there too. The sugar-free peach preserves are a natural orange color, the cotton candy fillings are naturally colored with pink pitaya powder & blue spirulina, and the white chocolate for the filling can be colored naturally as well.



The healthier Pop-Tarts just keep coming on The Dimpled Date! I recently posted my Healthy Cookies & Cream Pop-Tarts, and of course there are my classic Cinnamon "Sugar" Pop-Tarts and Raspberry Pop-Tarts. But these Unicorn Pop-Tarts are definitely my most fun Pop-Tarts yet (and arguably my most fun recipe on The Dimpled Date overall).


When it comes to unicorn desserts or baked goods, there seems to be no one single agreement as to what the flavor of unicorn desserts is. Sometimes unicorn flavor is interpreted as cotton candy (what I think of I first), birthday cake, funfetti, vanilla, or a fruity flavor like strawberry or cherry. Whatever the flavor, it's typically highly artificial and sickeningly sweet. But I have finally found a natural, nutrient-dense, superfood-laced way to mimic this artificial "unicorn flavor."


The secret? Raspberry extract, vanilla, almond extract, and unsweetened passion fruit juice. This flavor combo yields a fruity, vanilla-y, birthday cake-esque, and tropical flavor all at the same time that makes for the perfect natural unicorn flavor dupe! And to add on to that unicorn flavor, the flavors of the three filling options are equally reminiscent of unicorn: peach, raspberry white chocolate, and cotton candy.


There are three filling options for these Unicorn Pop-Tarts: peach preserves, unicorn white chocolate, and cotton candy cream. All of these filling options are vegan, fruit-sweetened, and naturally colored. My personal favorite fillings are the peach preserves and the unicorn white chocolate.


By the way, I plan on updating this recipe with a new and improved unicorn white chocolate filling soon that's even more magical and fun, so stay tuned for the update (don't worry the current unicorn white chocolate filling for these Pop-Tarts is still amazing and I will be keeping it as a filling option along with the new one!).


And the store-bought peach preserves I use technically aren't fruit-sweetened (since they are sweetened with fruit juice concentrate), so I will also be updating this recipe with an option for strictly fruit-sweetened peach preserves (meaning, sweetened with just peaches and/or dates, with no pectin!) once I get that recipe down.



Nutritional Profile of Healthy Unicorn Pop-Tarts


Vegan butter- vegan butter (like Earth Balance or Miyoko's) is typically made of healthy vegetable oils and/or plant milks. Vegetable oils are chock-full of healthy fats that promote heart, brain, skin, and hair health. Plant milks are usually good sources of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and calcium (if fortified). Protein helps build muscle, fiber promotes gut health, and calcium helps build and maintain strong bones. Tip: when purchasing dairy-free butter, opt for a healthy vegan butter like Earth Balance or Miyoko's instead of margarine. Margarine is extremely detrimental to heart health due to its being made of hydrogenated oils which are high in unhealthy trans fat.


Medjool dates/date sugar- Medjool dates (or the "King of Dates") are one of the largest and sweetest varieties of dates in the U.S., and are incredibly soft with rich caramel notes. They are my absolute favorite type of date, and my preferred variety to use on the blog. Dates are antioxidant powerhouses that are also rich in fiber, protein, potassium, and iron. Fiber slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream and aids digestion. Protein builds and maintains muscle mass. Potassium regulates blood pressure and balances electrolytes. Iron builds red blood cells that transport oxygen through the body. Antioxidants in general help protect against numerous diseases because of their ability to fight disease-causing free radicals in the body. Dates also benefit bone health, can help regulate blood sugar levels in moderation (believe it or not!), can help protect against anemia, help promote healthy bowel movements, may help alleviate symptoms of PMS, and show potential as a way to naturally induce (or at least shorten) labor, according to emerging research. Opt for organic dates with no added sugar to reap the maximum benefits of the dates (I use Natural Delights' Whole Fresh Medjool Dates that are grown with zero pesticides and have no added sugar). The nutrition of date sugar is the same as dates since date sugar is just dried and ground dates.


Unsweetened passion fruit juice- passion fruit juice is exceptionally high in vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes immune health and stimulates collagen production in the body. Potassium regulates blood pressure and balances electrolytes. Antioxidants in general play a key role in helping protect against disease due to their ability to fight free radical damage. Above all, passion fruit juice is absolutely delicious and refreshing! Just make sure you purchase unsweetened passion fruit juice, which is naturally sweet in its own right. I use Ceres Passion Fruit Juice Blend which is a blend of pear juice and passionfruit juice with no added sugar (although it is from concentrate, so if you want unsweetened passion fruit juice not from concentrate, buy another brand that's not from concentrate or opt to make your own!).


Pitaya/dragon fruit- dragon fruit (AKA pitaya // and thus pitaya powder, which is just dried and ground pitaya) is packed with fiber (including prebiotics), protein, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants. Fiber stimulates digestion and helps prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and prebiotics feed the good bacteria in the intestines. Protein builds muscle and plays a role in nearly every bodily process. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that benefits the immune system and stimulates collagen production. Iron builds red blood cells, magnesium benefits bone health, and antioxidants in general play a key role in preventing disease by fighting free radical damage. Dragon fruit comes in many varieties and colors including red (pink exterior with red/pink edible flesh inside), white (pink exterior with white edible flesh inside), and yellow (yellow exterior with white edible flesh inside). Dragon fruit is truly a treat (and a splurge), so if you can treat yourself to this fresh fruit every once in a while, do it if your local supermarkets stock it. The fresh fruit has a magnificent flavor and sweetness that you won't get with dragon fruit powder like Suncore's Pitaya Powder.


Sea salt- sea salt is healthier than table salt because it is much less processed than table salt. Sea salt balances electrolytes, nourishes the body with numerous micronutrients, and may benefit adrenal health. As a result of being less processed, sea salts tend to be rich in minerals and other micronutrients that you won't find in table salt. Choose Himalayan pink sea salt, Hawaiian black lava sea salt, Hawaiian red alaea sea salt, or another healthy sea salt. My go-to sea salt is Himalayan pink sea salt. Be sure to choose a sea salt that goes with the recipe you're making, though, as certain kinds of sea salt like Hawaiian black lava sea salt or smoked sea salts can add an intense or pungent flavor to your recipes.


Almond flour- almond flour is a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, iron, and vitamin E. Healthy fats are good for your heart, brain, and complexion. Protein builds muscle and is responsible for nearly all bodily processes. Fiber is good for the GI tract, can lower cholesterol levels, and nourishes the good bacteria that reside in your intestines. Iron builds red blood cells. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that benefits skin and hair health externally and internally. Almond flour is gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, and keto due to its being a nut flour and having a high-fat, medium-protein, low-carb ratio. Superfine blanched almond flour is preferable for a light, delicate texture to your baked goods, as opposed to almond meal.


Oat flour- oat flour is an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and iron. Healthy carbs provide long-lasting, high-quality energy, while fiber stimulates digestion. Protein builds muscle and iron forms red blood cells. Make sure you buy certified gluten-free oat flour if you're strictly gluten-free because even though oats & oat flour are naturally gluten-free, they can be cross-contaminated with gluten-containing crops. Pro tip: don't have oat flour or ran out? Make your own! Simply place the amount of oats equal to the amount of oat flour you need in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend on high until ground to desired consistency (grind to a fine powdery consistency to make it more like store-bought oat flour).


Unsweetened peach preserves- peaches (and thus unsweetened peach preserves which are typically just pureed & cooked peaches + unsweetened fruit juice or with no sweetener at all) are loaded with fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants. Peaches may benefit digestion, heart health, and skin health. When choosing sugar-free peach preserves, purchase unsweetened ones, ones that are just sweetened with fruit juice, or opt to make your own preserves. My go-to peach preserves are Rigoni di Asiago's Fior di Frutta peach preserves (these peach preserves are unsweetened and are made with just peaches, apple juice concentrate, and pectin. I am aware, however, that preserves made with fruit juice concentrate aren't ideal, as fruit juice concentrate isn't exactly the best sweetener for you. But this brand is the closest thing to unsweetened fruit preserves that I've seen sold commercially. However, I will be updating this post once I create a recipe for strictly fruit-sweetened, pectin-free peach preserves for the peach preserves filling option for these Pop-Tarts. In other words, I will be updating this recipe with an option for date-sweetened peach preserves with no fruit juice concentrate, pectin, or other sweeteners).



My Date-Sweetened White Chocolate- see my the "Nutritional Profile" section of my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate recipe post for the nutritional breakdown of each ingredient in my homemade white chocolate.


Full-fat coconut milk/coconut cream- full-fat coconut milk is an excellent source of healthy plant-based saturated fats (which actually may have health benefits), protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and electrolytes. Coconut milk benefits heart health, is good for brain health, boosts skin & hair health, aids digestion, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps with hydration, and may have antimicrobial properties. Be aware that if a recipe calls for coconut cream, it most likely means you need to use the hardened white cream that floats to the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk or a can of coconut cream after it's been refrigerated for at least 24 hours. The coconut milk/coconut cream will separate into cream at the top of the can and water at the bottom of the can. You don't have to worry about discarding the coconut water at the bottom of the can though! The coconut water can be used in smoothies, juices, wellness shots, and even desserts! This recipe requires the hardened white coconut cream that floats to the top of the can.


Vanilla bean powder- vanilla beans (and thus vanilla bean powder, which is just the seeds scraped and separated from the pod) are rich in the natural plant compound vanillin (you may have heard of vanillin from the synthetic version that's used as imitation vanilla flavor). Natural vanillin has potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. My go-to ground vanilla bean powder is Native Vanilla's Vanilla Bean Powder (it's 100% pure ground vanilla beans and, thus, is sugar-free and vegan).


Unsweetened almond milk- unsweetened almond milk is chock-full of vitamin E, vitamin D, and calcium (if fortified). Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is good for your skin and hair. Vitamin D and calcium help build healthy bones, and vitamin D is good for the immune system. Choose unsweetened almond milk with minimal additives or opt to make your own!


Blue spirulina- blue spirulina is essentially the blue antioxidant pigment extracted from green spirulina (whole spirulina). Green spirulina is generally considered more nutrient-dense and healthier, but blue spirulina is still packed with nutrients and boasts great health benefits. Blue spirulina is loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, and, of course, antioxidants. Blue spirulina has many of the same health benefits as green spirulina, including having detoxifying properties, providing immune support, boosting heart health, possessing anti-inflammatory properties, and possibly reducing allergy symptoms. Opt for high-quality blue spirulina. Blue spirulina can add anywhere from a baby blue hue to a rich cobalt shade to your baked goods, without the fishy taste!


Coconut butter- coconut butter (AKA "coconut manna") is different from coconut oil. Coconut butter is essentially puréed coconut meat whereas coconut oil is the oil extracted from pressing coconut meat. Coconut butter boasts considerable amounts of healthy fats, fiber, protein, iron, and potassium. Healthy fats can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut, and protein plays a role in nearly every bodily process. Iron builds red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen through the body, and potassium can help regulate blood pressure. Pro tip: when using coconut butter, you may notice that this butter separates into two layers: one thin clear/translucent layer on the top and one large cream-colored/opaque layer below. The top thin clear layer is the coconut oil that naturally separates out of the coconut butter, whereas the cream opaque layer is the coconut butter. Simply submerge the sealed jar in a bowl of hot/boiling water, let sit for 5 to 15 minutes, then stir to re-incorporate the coconut oil into the coconut butter. Or, you can scrape the top layer of coconut oil off the top of the coconut butter and use the coconut oil in recipes that call for coconut oil. Then, the coconut butter can be used without having to worry about separation.


Coconut oil- coconut oil is rich in healthy fats (including MCTs). Healthy fats are good for heart health, brain health, skin, and hair. Medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs), specifically provide high-quality, quick energy for the body. Emerging research is suggesting that plant-based saturated fat (the kind found in coconut) may be better for you than animal-based saturated fat and may even benefit your health. Tip: choose cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil when purchasing. Also, coconut oil can be used as an all-natural hair mask to boost hydration and shine (search online to see how to properly use coconut oil as a hair mask).


Green spirulina- spirulina is a blue-green algae that is extremely nutrient-dense and is among the healthiest foods in the world. It is typically found either in capsule form (to take as a supplement) or a fine powder (that you can bake/cook with). There are two varieties of spirulina: green spirulina (whole spirulina, its natural form) and blue spirulina (the blue antioxidant pigment extracted from whole spirulina). Green spirulina is a whole food and contains a wide variety of nutrients, is a deep green color, and is known to have a fishy smell and taste on its own (due to its being made of a whole sea vegetable). Blue spirulina doesn't contain as many nutrients as green since it is just an extract of green spirulina, but nonetheless, contains some essential nutrients. Blue spirulina is a cobalt blue/sky blue color and doesn't have a fishy taste or smell. Green spirulina is packed with high-quality protein, omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin C, iron, potassium, B vitamins, copper, magnesium, and numerous antioxidants including phycocyanins, chlorophyll, and beta-carotene. Spirulina has a great protein profile, proving 2 grams of protein per teaspoon, including all nine essential amino acids (in other words, all nine of the building blocks of protein that your body can't produce itself and that you must get from your diet). Omega-3s and omega-6s are essential fatty acids that you need to get from your diet (as, again, your body can't produce these nutrients on its own). Both of these nutrients are necessary for your body, but too many omega- 6s + not enough omega-3s = a recipe for disaster. Most dietitians recommend a 1:1 ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, and some experts even recommend a ratio of 2:1. Omega-3s benefit everything from your brain to your heart to your eyes to your skin & hair. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is good for the immune system and that stimulates the body's production of collagen. Iron builds hemoglobin for red blood cells, potassium balances electrolytes & regulates blood pressure, and B vitamins generally benefit energy and overall health. Copper is necessary for proper body function, magnesium promotes bone health, and antioxidants in general fight free radical damage, thus playing a part in helping prevent disease. The phycocyanins (the blue antioxidant pigment that composes blue spirulina) in green spirulina specifically have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Chlorophyll is the green antioxidant pigment that we're all familiar with for being the compound that gives plants their green color. Well it's in green spirulina too! Chlorophyll is purported to benefit immune health and digestive health and is believed to have detoxifying and potential anti-cancer properties. Beta-carotene helps the body create vitamin A and promotes eye and skin health. Spirulina as a food is believed to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, combat allergy symptoms, detoxify the body, and improve the health and appearance of skin & hair. Spirulina is a great form of detox for Lyme disease in particular, especially when used in conjunction with chlorella (a type of single-celled green algae) on an alternating schedule (meaning taking only spirulina on a given day and every other day only taking chlorella). I can attest that spirulina is a great form of detox for me and my case of Lyme disease, as it makes me feel so relaxed and reduces herxing (AKA a Herxheimer reaction) for me. I typically like to enjoy my spirulina powder in smoothies or in desserts/other baked goods. One thing you do want to keep in mind though is that, because spirulina is a marine plant it can contain heavy metals and other contaminants, so make sure you purchase a high-quality spirulina powder that is third-party tested for purity, so there's no toxic substances in your spirulina. I highly recommend using Nutrex Hawaii's Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Powder, as it's the gold standard for spirulina.



Substitutions


For the Pop-Tart dough, the vegan butter cannot be substituted because it is key for the texture of the dough. Cold, cubed vegan butter is used in the dough, so coconut oil cannot be used. You may use 1/2 cup date sugar OR 1 cup whole dates of any variety (I prefer Medjool. Just be aware that using whole dates will add more moisture and make the dough more supple and at least slightly harder to work with. It yields a great result though!). Potentially, you could attempt to use another sweetener to sweeten the crust. Possibly, a sticky sweetener would work such as 1/2 cup maple syrup OR 1/2 cup coconut nectar OR 1/2 cup date syrup OR 1/2 cup agave OR 1/2 cup honey (if not strictly vegan), plus more to taste with varied results. OR perhaps an unrefined granular sweetener would work, such as 1/4 cup coconut sugar OR 1/4 cup maple sugar OR 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, plus more to taste with varied results. For 100% sugar-free, you could attempt to use 1/4 cup erythritol OR 1/4 cup Granular Swerve OR liquid/powdered monk fruit to taste OR liquid/powdered stevia to taste, plus more to taste with varied results (***PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE NOT tried any of the sweetener substitutions mentioned in this paragraph and therefore CANNOT guarantee the same results. I know the dates and date sugar will work and I am fairly confident these other sweetener suggestions would work, but I just haven't tried any of them***). If you try any of the sweetener substitutions mentioned in this paragraph, let me know how it turned out in the comments!!


The vanilla extract can be substituted with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, pure ground vanilla bean powder, OR sugar-free vanilla paste/syrup. I do not recommend substituting the vanilla, as it is key for the unicorn flavor of the crust. Likewise, I don't recommend substituting the raspberry extract, as it is key for the unicorn flavor of the crust. However, you may be able to use equal parts sugar-free vanilla syrup and sugar-free raspberry syrup (homemade or store-bought), but I'm not sure in what amounts as I haven't tried this substitution (opt to start with a small amount of the sugar-free vanilla and raspberry syrups in equal portions, and gradually increase the amount to taste). The almond extract is kinda key along with the vanilla extract to emulate a birthday cake flavor for the Pop-Tart crust, but if you must, you may omit it and the Pop-Tarts will still come out good. Or potentially, you could try using sugar-free coconut extract (like OliveNation's) in place of the almond extract to add an extra tropical flavor. The passion fruit juice is also key to impart a tropical flavor to the crust, but if you must, you can leave it out. The pink pitaya (dragon fruit) powder is essential to give that bright pop of neon pink color for these unicorn Pop-Tarts. However, you can sub natural/vegan/sugar-free pink and/or red food dye (such as Supernatural) to achieve a pink color. To get that gorgeous hot pink, I recommend using natural pink food dye with a little natural red food dye. Alternatively, you can use another natural pink superfood powder to color your Pop-Tart dough, such as Suncore's Cerise Prickly Pear powder or their Fuchsia Hibiscus powder. Potentially, a tiny bit of beet juice would work to color the dough pink, but there's no guarantees that it wouldn't turn the Pop-Tart dough red (for this option, start with a little beet juice [from a can works too] and add additional beet juice little bits at a time until desired color is reached. Be sure not to add too much beet juice though, as you don't want to impart too much of a beet flavor to your dough). Or, if you're not interested in a colored Pop-Tart dough whatsoever, you can omit the natural colorant altogether. The sea salt can be replaced with table salt or may be omitted.


For the flours, you may use 2 cups almond flour (along with the 1/2 cup arrowroot flour) instead of 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup oat flour per single batch (***PLEASE NOTE: using entirely almond flour will work [I've done it before], BUT it will make the dough extremely soft and supple and very difficult to work with. It is possible to make Pop-Tarts with it, but it's even more difficult than the already-difficult-to-work-with combo of almond flour and oat flour. If you're willing to put in the effort, however, it is worth it***). Using just almond flour and arrowroot starch will make these Pop-Tarts grain-free, but it won't make them paleo, since there's vegan butter in these Pop-Tarts. The only way you can make these Pop-Tarts paleo is if you make your own homemade vegan & paleo butter (make sure your recipe makes a firm vegan/paleo butter // see the "Substitutions" section of my Date-Sweetened Chocolate Chip Cookies post for suggested vegan/paleo butter recipes) and you use that in the crust, if you use entirely almond flour with the arrowroot flour, and if you go with filling option #2 (Unicorn White Chocolate) and/or filling option #3 (Cotton Candy Frosting Filling).


Alternatively, you could try using 2 cups oat flour and 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (and no almond flour) per single batch for the dough with varied results (***PLEASE NOTE: I have not tried this recipe with only oat flour and therefore CANNOT guarantee the same results. My guess is that using only the oat flour & arrowroot flour and NO almond flour would yield a more firm and easier-to-work-with dough***). The arrowroot starch may be replaced with tapioca starch OR possibly cornstarch OR potato starch with varied results (***PLEASE NOTE: I have not tried cornstarch OR potato starch in place of the arrowroot/tapioca flour and therefore CANNOT guarantee the same results***). If you try any of the flour substitutions mentioned in these paragraphs, let me know how it turned out in the comments! For Pop-Tarts made with other types of gluten-free/grain-free flour(s), stick around as I plan on making new Pop-Tart recipes with different flours.


For filling option #1 (the Peach Preserves), you may use your sugar-free peach preserves/jam/jelly of choice. My go-to brand is Rigoni di Asiago's Fior di Frutta in peach flavor (please be aware, however, that this brand uses apple juice concentrate to sweeten their fruit preserves). For entirely fruit-sweetened peach preserves for filling these Pop-Tarts, stick around as I plan on updating this post with a recipe for date-sweetened peach preserves (pectin-free too!). Or other flavors of sugar-free fruit preserves could go with these Pop-Tarts too, like strawberry, raspberry, mixed berry, or cherry.


For filling option #2 (the Unicorn White Chocolate), you can really use any kind of vegan white chocolate (sugar-free as need be). Although, I do recommend using my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate, as it is vegan, paleo, date-sweetened, super soft, and absolutely delicious! As far as flavoring the white chocolate goes, I highly recommend using raspberry extract to emulate that unicorn flavor. Obviously, if using store-bought vegan white chocolate, simply melt it first, stir in the raspberry extract and natural color(s) then let it re-solidify before chopping and using in these Pop-Tarts. However, in place of the raspberry extract for flavoring the white chocolate, you may use almond extract, sugar-free coconut extract, orange extract, strawberry extract, sugar-free cherry extract, etc., really whatever screams "unicorn" to you. Or, of course, you could leave the flavor for the white chocolate out entirely and just keep the white chocolate vanilla flavored. As far as coloring the Unicorn White Chocolate goes, you can use your natural/vegan/sugar-free food dye colors of choice OR natural whole food colorants of choice to color your white chocolate (i.e. beet powder for red, pitaya powder for pink, a pinch of turmeric for orange/yellow, matcha or green spirulina for green, blue spirulina for blue, purple sweet potato powder for purple, etc.). Or of course, you could leave out the natural food colorants and keep the white chocolate a plain white. Just keep in mind that coloring the white chocolate is just for the fun of assembling the Pop-Tarts using colorful white chocolate and having leftover brightly-colored raspberry-flavored white chocolates, and that you won't see the different colors of the white chocolate in the end product (if using my white chocolate, the white chocolate will end up melting into a beige-ish color and soaking into the Pop-Tart crust. But the flavor of the Unicorn White Chocolate comes through fully, and it's delectable!). But I plan on updating this recipe with an even better Unicorn White Chocolate filling that's more fun and colorful!


For filling option #3 (the Cotton Candy Frosting Filling), I highly recommend using the whole dates. However, you may be able to use date sugar in place of the whole dates (I would start with 2 Tbsp and add more to taste). Or potentially you could use maple syrup, date syrup, agave, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, maple sugar, liquid/powdered monk fruit, OR liquid/powdered stevia to taste with varied results (***PLEASE NOTE: I have not tried the Cotton Candy Frosting Filling with other sweeteners and therefore cannot guarantee good results***). The coconut cream really can't be substituted, as it's key for the texture of this filling. The vanilla bean powder can be replaced with 1 tsp vanilla extract per single batch. I don't recommend omitting the vanilla. The raspberry extract should not be omitted, as it contributes to the cotton candy flavor of this filling. Likewise, I wouldn't omit the almond extract because it is a a part of the cotton candy flavor. I highly recommend using the passion fruit juice, as it along with the other flavors in this filling really makes it taste like cotton candy. If you must, however, you may omit it. You may use your unsweetened or sweetened (if you can have sugar) plant milk of choice for this filling. As far as color goes, I recommend coloring half of this filling with a little pink pitaya (dragon fruit) powder for pink and a little blue spirulina for blue. However, you may use your natural/vegan pink and blue food dyes of choice. Or you can just leave the cotton candy filling a plain off-white color.


For the blue glaze, you may use your unsweetened or sweetened (if you can have sugar) plant milk of choice. The vanilla extract may be substituted with a good pinch of pure ground vanilla bean powder. I don't recommend omitting the vanilla. The almond extract is highly recommended, but may be replaced with another extract, like raspberry, coconut, or orange extract, or may be omitted. The date paste may be replaced with another sweetener, such as 1 tsp maple syrup OR 1 tsp agave OR 1 tsp powdered coconut sugar OR 1 tsp maple sugar OR monk fruit to taste OR stevia to taste, plus more to taste. The blue spirulina is preferred to achieve the blue color of this glaze, but you may use natural/vegan blue food dye instead or leave out the blue color for an off-white glaze.


For the green spirulina drizzle, you may use any mild nut/seed butter, such as creamy almond butter, creamy cashew butter, macadamia nut butter, mild sunflower seed butter, OR mild tahini in place of the coconut butter. The coconut oil in this green drizzle really just serves to make the softened coconut butter flow more, making it easier to drizzle, so it is optional. But, you can try using a tiny bit of filtered water in place of the coconut oil with mixed results (*PLEASE NOTE: I have not tried this green drizzle with water, so I can't guarantee the same results*). Another way to soften your nut/seed butter to a flowable/drizzle-able consistency is microwaving it in increments of several seconds in a microwave-safe bowl until flowable. The green spirulina powder is essential for a brilliant teal drizzle for these Pop-Tarts, but if you're fine with a minty green drizzle, use matcha powder instead. Or you could try using purple sweet potato powder (like Suncore's) instead for a purple drizzle. Alternately, you can use your natural/vegan food dye color of choice to color the drizzle. Or, you may leave out the natural color for a white drizzle atop your Pop-Tarts.


For garnishing, you can crumble freeze-dried strawberries and freeze-dried blueberries overtop the Pop-Tarts for DIY red and blue "sprinkles". Or you can use store-bought natural/vegan/sugar-free sprinkles of choice and/or a pinch of pitaya (dragon fruit) powder for garnish. There's countless artistic natural/healthy options for topping these Unicorn Pop-Tarts, so get creative with the garnishes!


For assembling the Pop-Tarts you may use melted vegan butter or melted coconut oil for brushing the edges of the Pop-Tarts. For rolling the dough, you may use either oat flour or arrowroot flour.



Stick Around for More Magical Recipes


Keep posted for the latest and greatest of more magical recipes like this one, coming to The Dimpled Date soon!


Hope you love this recipe as much as I do (feel free to give it a like if you do)!


As always,

Enjoy! <3

-K.


Healthy Unicorn Pop-Tarts (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened, All-Natural)


Prep Time*: 1 hour 20 minutes

Chill Time*: at least 1 hour

Cook Time: 18 to 22 minutes

Total Time*: at least 2 hours 38 minutes to 2 hours 42 minutes

Servings: 7 to 8 Pop-Tarts


Ingredients (for the Unicorn Crust):


-3/4 cup cold vegan butter (like Earth Balance or Miyoko's), straight from the fridge

-1/2 cup date sugar (date sugar, NOT date palm sugar) OR 1 cup dates

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 1/2 tsp unsweetened natural raspberry extract (like McCormick)

-1/2 tsp almond extract

-2 Tbsp unsweetened passion fruit juice (like Ceres // can be from concentrate)

-1/4 cup red/pink pitaya powder (AKA red/pink dragon fruit powder // like Suncore) OR enough vegan/natural pink food dye (like Supernatural) until desired color is reached (see "Substitutions" section of this post for additional natural pink colorant ideas)

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-1 cup superfine blanched almond flour, lightly packed (NOT almond meal)

-1 cup gluten-free oat flour

-1/2 cup arrowroot starch/flour (can sub tapioca starch)


Ingredients (for filling option #1: Peach Preserves):


-1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar-free peach preserves (like Rigoni di Asiago's Fior di Frutta in Peach flavor // depending on how much you use for the filling)


Ingredients (for filling option #2: Unicorn White Chocolate):


-1 batch of my plain Date-Sweetened White Chocolate

-3/4 tsp sugar-free natural raspberry extract (like McCormick)

-enough natural/vegan/sugar-free food dye (like Supernatural, Color Garden, or Color Kitchen) in colors of choice to color the white chocolate OR enough natural whole food colorants of choice to color the white chocolate (see "Substitutions" section of this post for ideas on which whole food colorants to use) (optional)


Ingredients (for filling option #3: Cotton Candy Frosting Filling):


-1/2 cup dates

-1/2 cup coconut cream (the hardened white cream that floats to the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk/coconut cream that's been refrigerated for at least 12 to 24 hours)

-1/2 tsp pure ground vanilla bean powder (I use Native Vanilla's Vanilla Bean Powder)

-1/4 tsp sugar-free natural raspberry extract (like McCormick)

-1/8 tsp almond extract

-1 Tbsp passion fruit juice

-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, to thin (can sub unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-enough pink and blue natural/vegan food coloring (like Supernatural) for color OR enough pink pitaya powder and blue spirulina for color (optional // for a cotton candy hue)


Ingredients (for the blue glaze):


-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (can sub unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-1/2 tsp almond extract

-1 Tbsp date paste (Detoxinista has a great recipe!)

-1/2 tsp blue spirulina


Ingredients (for the green spirulina drizzle):


-1/4 cup coconut butter

-1 tsp coconut oil

-1/2 tsp green spirulina powder (like Nutrex Hawaii)


For assembling:


-1 Tbsp melted vegan butter OR 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil


For rolling:


-Oat flour or arrowroot flour


For garnish (optional):


-unsweetened freeze-dried strawberries and/or unsweetened freeze-dried blueberries crumbled on top as "sprinkles"


Directions:


1. If using whole dates, soak the dates in hot water for 5 to 15 minutes.


2. Combine all dry ingredients for the Unicorn Crust (almond flour, oat flour, arrowroot starch, date sugar, pitaya/dragon fruit powder, and sea salt) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together.


3. If using whole dates, blend the soaked and drained dates in a food processor until a uniform paste forms, scraping down the sides and re-blending as necessary.


4. Cube the cold butter (it should be straight from the fridge) by slicing the butter into 1-Tablespoon sized pats, and from that, cubing the butter into 1-centimeter sized squares, with each pat forming 9 squares (Tip: stack up multiple pats and cut through them all simultaneously to save yourself cutting time).


5. Cut in the cold cubed butter and incorporate the vanilla, raspberry extract, almond extract, passion fruit juice, and date paste (if using) into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter, fork, and/or your hands. You'll know you're done when a dough/batter is formed.


6. The dough will be more like a batter consistency right now and that's OK. Place the dough in an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate or freeze (for quicker results) the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Keep in mind that the longer the dough is in the fridge/freezer, the more it will firm up. If it's in the fridge/freezer for a longer period of time, you may need to defrost the dough at room temperature until it's soft enough to get out of the bowl and work with.


7. While the dough is chilling make/prep the filling(s). Honestly, I like to make and use all three fillings because they're all so delicious! For filling option #1 (Peach Preserves): simply make sure you have the preserves on hand and make sure the jar is unsealed if using a brand new jar. If the jar is already open, store in the fridge until ready to use.


8. For filling option #2 (Unicorn White Chocolate): whip up a batch of my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate, except before putting it in the fridge to set, mix in the raspberry extract. If choosing to color the white chocolate, divide it into equal portions equal to however many different colors you want (i.e. if you want pink white chocolate and blue white chocolate, that's 2 colors so divide the white chocolate into 2 equal portions before coloring each). ALSO IMPORTANT TIP: when dividing the white chocolate into portions for coloring, make sure you give the white chocolate a good stir before pouring/scooping off a portion (this will ensure that you're getting the small date chunks that tend to settle at the bottom of the white chocolate and not just the oils at the top of the white chocolate). *NOTE: if you choose to color the white chocolate, you will not see the colors in the finished Pop-Tarts, it's really just for the fun of having the colors of the white chocolate while assembling the Pop-Tarts and having leftover brightly-colored white chocolates. The flavor of the unicorn white chocolate comes through fully though, and it's delicious! Place the white chocolate in the fridge and allow to set.


9. For filling option #3 (Cotton Candy Frosting Filling): Blend all filling ingredients except the almond milk and food coloring until a uniform cream forms, scraping down the sides and re-blending as necessary. Add in the almond milk, as needed, to thin out the cream. If coloring the filling, divide the cream into two equal portions and using the pink and blue natural/vegan food dye OR pink pitaya powder and blue spirulina, color one portion of the cream filling pink and the other portion blue. Store in the fridge until ready to use.


10. After the dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the dough from the freezer. Turn half of the Pop-Tart dough out onto a cutting board floured with arrowroot flour/starch OR turn half of the Pop-Tart dough out onto a piece of wax paper. Place another piece of wax paper on top of the dough. Place the other half of the dough back in the freezer to keep cold.


11. Flour a rolling pin and the top of the dough you're working with (don't worry about flouring the dough/pin if you're rolling between the pieces of wax paper). Roll the dough into approximately a 9 1/2" by 12 1/2" rectangle, about 1/8" thick.


12. From this large rectangle, use a pizza cutter to cut smaller rectangles, each 4" by 3". Place each small rectangle on a lined baking sheet or lined plate and place in the fridge in between rolling and cutting (this will ensure the dough doesn't get too soft).


13. . Re-roll the dough as needed, and if the dough gets too soft, put the dough you were working with in the freezer and take the dough that was in the freezer out and start rolling and cutting that. Alternate between the dough you're working with and the dough in the freezer, re-roll the dough as needed, and keep cutting the dough into small rectangles until there's no dough left.


14. Chop the Unicorn White Chocolate (if going with filling option #2). Melt 1 Tbsp vegan butter OR 1 Tbsp coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat OR in the microwave. Set aside.


15. To assemble the Pop-Tarts: for filling option #1 (Peach Preserves): use one of the small 4" by 3" rectangles as the base for one of your Pop-Tarts and place it on a lined baking sheet. Spoon approximately 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of the peach preserves into the center of the Pop-Tart, leaving 1/2" of plain dough on the outer edges of the Pop-Tart. Brush the outer edges of the bottom piece of the Pop-Tart with the melted vegan butter OR melted coconut oil and take another rectangle of dough (without filling) and brush the outer edges of it with melted vegan butter/coconut oil. Flip and place the rectangle without filling butter-side down on top of the rectangle with filling. Use a fork to press around the outer edges of the top piece of the Pop-Tart to seal and connect the pastry. Repeat this process with the rest of the rectangles. Make an "X" on the tops of each of the assembled Pop-Tarts by gently scoring the tops with a knife (this will allow steam to escape).


16. For filling option #2 (Unicorn White Chocolate): use one of the small 4" by 3" rectangles as the base for one of your Pop-Tarts and place it on a lined baking sheet. Use half of a piece's to one piece's worth of each color of the Unicorn White Chocolate (filling option #2), in other words, 1 1/2 to 3 pieces (or enough to make a single even layer of the white chocolate while maintaining the 1/2" border of plain dough around the white chocolate) into the center of the Pop-Tart, leaving 1/2" of plain dough on the outer edges of the Pop-Tart. Brush the outer edges of the bottom piece of the Pop-Tart with the melted vegan butter OR melted coconut oil and take another rectangle of dough (without filling) and brush the outer edges of it with melted vegan butter/coconut oil. Flip and place the rectangle without filling butter-side down on top of the rectangle with filling. Use a fork to press around the outer edges of the top piece of the Pop-Tart to seal and connect the pastry. Repeat this process with the rest of the rectangles. Make an "X" on the tops of each of the assembled Pop-Tarts by gently scoring the tops with a knife (this will allow steam to escape).


17. For filling option #3 (Cotton Candy Frosting Filling): spoon 1 1/2 tsp to 1 Tbsp of each color (pink and blue) of the Cotton Candy Frosting Filling (filling option #3) into the center of the Pop-Tart, leaving 1/2" of plain dough on the outer edges of the Pop-Tart. Swirl the two colors together with a toothpick for a fun swirled cotton candy effect. Brush the outer edges of the bottom piece of the Pop-Tart with the melted vegan butter OR melted coconut oil and take another rectangle of dough (without filling) and brush the outer edges of it with melted vegan butter/coconut oil. Flip and place the rectangle without filling butter-side down on top of the rectangle with filling. Use a fork to press around the outer edges of the top piece of the Pop-Tart to seal and connect the pastry. Repeat this process with the rest of the rectangles. Make an "X" on the tops of each of the assembled Pop-Tarts by gently scoring the tops with a knife (this will allow steam to escape).

18. Bake in the preheated oven (at 350 degrees F) for 18 to 22 minutes, until solidified and lightly golden brown around the edges (it's really just to have them solid and done to your liking. Less time means a more flavorful crust, brighter pink crust color, and not as golden brown. More time means slightly more crispy and well-done, with a more golden brown crust). Allow to cool fully.


19. While the Pop-Tarts are baking and cooling, make the glaze and drizzle: for the blue glaze, combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. For the green spirulina drizzle, melt the coconut butter and coconut oil together in a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat OR in the microwave until liquified. Once melted, add the green spirulina and stir to combine.


20. Glaze the Pop-Tarts: take one baked and cooled Pop-Tart and spoon the blue glaze over it to cover it. Allow the glaze to harden. Drizzle the green spirulina drizzle on top.


21. To garnish (optional): while the green spirulina drizzle is still liquid, crumble freeze-dried strawberries and/or freeze-dried blueberries between your fingertips overtop the Pop-Tarts to make natural "sprinkles".


22. Serve with a healthy vegan unicorn frappuccino, as a garnish on a freakshake or overtop ice cream, with a unicorn smoothie, with açaí lemonade, or serve on its own and make all your unicorn dreams come true! Enjoy!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for at least one week.


*PLEASE NOTE: the Prep Time, Chill Time, and Total Time doesn't include how long it takes to make my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate for filling option #2.


Nutrition Facts*^:

Per serving (1 Pop-Tart):

[w/ Peach Preserves Filling]

Calories: 400 Total Fat: 29.1 grams Saturated Fat: 9.6 grams

Sodium: 190 mg (8% DV) Total carbohydrates: 33 grams Dietary fiber: 3.9 grams

Total Sugars: 20 grams Protein: 4.4 grams Calcium: 5% (DV) Iron: 7% (DV)

Potassium: 1% (DV)


Nutrition Facts*^:

Per serving (1 Pop-Tart):

[w/ Cotton Candy Frosting Filling]

Calories: 434 Total Fat: 28.6 grams Saturated Fat: 12.6 grams

Sodium: 252 mg (11% DV) Total carbohydrates: 39.2 grams Dietary fiber: 5.7 grams

Total Sugars: 24 grams Protein: 4.5 grams Calcium: 4% (DV) Iron: 8% (DV)

Potassium: 4% (DV) Vitamin D: 1% (DV)


*Please note: my Pop-Tarts are not a low-calorie food. They are very indulgent (yet still clean-eating and nutrient-dense).


^ALSO NOTE: the nutrition for these Pop-Tarts is calculated based on 1 glazed Pop-Tart (w/ drizzle). I can't calculate the nutrition for the Pop-Tarts with the Unicorn White Chocolate Filling, as I use my own homemade white chocolate for that filling option.


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