I see a million and a half articles pop up on Facebook every year about the foods we feed our kids. "Artificial Dyes Cause ADHD" "BPA is Eating Children’s Brains" "Your Kid Is Gross and It’s All Your Fault" I nod in agreement every time because our culture of fast food and video games is ruining America. Then I got to Dollar General and buy a whole bunch of Toaster Strudel because they’re delicious and I have a coupon for 25 cents off. I can’t resist a bargain, nor can I resist warm, flaky layers of palm-oil-soaked pastry filled with artificial blueberry jam.
Recently I’ve started making my own toaster strudels, not because they are better for me (they're not really), but they're just plain better. I like a toaster strudel with layers and layers of crispy, buttery, paper thin dough. I also enjoy folding things, and this requires a lot of folding.
A recipe with weights and measurements is not really necessary for toaster strudels, in the same way that you don’t take out the measuring cups when you’re filling a burrito. If yours don’t look perfect on the first try, don’t fret. The homemade toaster strudels still taste good, and you’ll get better as you keep making them.
Cheater Toaster Strudels
Beat the egg really well with about 2 tablespoons of water to make a very runny egg wash.
Lay out a single sheet of phyllo dough and lightly brush with melted butter. Fold in half, gently pressing the two long sides together. Again, brush lightly with butter.
Using your brain, mentally divide the dough into 4 quadrants. In the second quadrant, lay out some thin slices of cream cheese, leaving 1 inch on both the top and bottom un-cheesed.
Top with whatever else you want: a schmear of jam, a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, a squiggle of jam, a drizzle of honey. Live your best life here.
Brush all the exposed phyllo with egg wash. Fold the first quadrant over the cream cheese quadrant, and press the top and bottom edges around it. Now brush it again with a little bit more egg wash.
Gently fold the filled section over onto quadrant three. Repeat with the egg wash. Fold the top and bottom edges onto the toaster strudel, like a burrito. Brush the folded parts with egg wash. Bring the fourth and final quadrant over the filled part and gently smooth it all out. Repeat with more sheets of phyllo dough until you’re sick of making these.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Brush a baking sheet with butter, then lay out the strudels. Brush the tops with more melted butter. Bake for about 15 minutes until nice and golden brown. Cool completely.
Once cool, package them in a way they won’t get destroyed in your freezer. To reheat, microwave for 1 minute, then cook in a toaster oven until you’ve reached your desired level of toastiness.