So word has been travelling around the Internet that fast-food chain Carl’s Jr has created an ice cream sandwich out of Pop-Tarts. It’s so simple. So childlike. And so brilliant. After testing positively in a few small markets and going viral online, Carl’s Jr has announced the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich is going to happen nationwide. It will be available for just $1.49, or for free with the purchase of a Super Bacon Cheeseburger.
At first glance, the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest and greatest in fast food monstrosities, right up there with the Kentucky Fried Chicken Double Down or the Taco Bell Doritos Taco. And yet upon closer examination, you realize something much more insidious is at play. You could make this thing yourself. You could totally make it. How are they selling this as a real thing? Why is everyone so excited about it? It’s just vanilla ice cream and a strawberry Pop Tart.
Wait. Is this like that time you went to the art museum and muttered about how you could have fingerpainted that twineball sculpture yourself? And how you thought that was a pretty clever observation until that pretentious art person rolled their eyes at you? Maybe the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich has a deeper intent and meaning. Perhaps it’s a sacred construction best left to the fast food Gods. Or an artform that can only be crafted by the nimble hands of seventeen-year-old fast food workers.
What about that guy on your Facebook feed who scoffs at everything and has proclaimed it yet another symbol of decline in America? You know that dude who came to a party once wearing those barefoot running shoes as his actual shoes? What the hell is with that guy?
Isn’t this something stoners and drunks have already come up with countless times at three in the morning, that glorious and mythical part of the morning where all great ideas are given birth? Wasn’t this in a sitcom once where the kids tied up the babysitter and raided the pantry?
And while I’m thinking about it, didn’t I actually invent this idea when I was eight? I’m pretty sure I thought of this when I was eight, but my mother wouldn’t let me combine Pop Tarts and ice cream. See, Mom, I could have a millionaire if you had let me be in charge of the menu planning around the house.
What I want to know is this: is the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich really an evil obesity-inducing sugarbomb for the Honey Boo Boo sheeple? Or is it a rare flash of culinary ingenuity that rivals only the Deep Fried Twinkie in enterprise?
I set out to answer all of these questions and more. So I set out to make my own Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich.
I haven’t visited the Pop Tart section of the grocery store in a long time. It’s not I’m a food snob. In fact, I have the complete opposite problem. It’s that if I visit that hallowed section, I will buy Pop Tarts. I will buy lots of them. I will not only revert to the eating habits of a toddler, I will revert to the food ideations of a toddler. A sprinkled frosted pastry filled with neon-colored goo is food. It is food. YES. EVERYDAY. FOOD.
How did we collectively convince ourselves that Pop Tarts are a breakfast food anyway? I mean, we universally understand it as such without question. You could ask the same of donuts, but donuts at least have a stigma. If you ate a donut for breakfast, you have already mentally justified it to yourself on some level. But Pop Tarts? They’re as innocuous as cereal. Throw in a multi-vitamin and they’re a part of your complete breakfast.
So this happened when I visited the Pop Tarts section: I was positively ENRAPTURED by the variety and breadth of all the Pop Tarts that there are. I’ve seen waterfalls and sunsets and coastlines that go on for days, and now I have seen the breathtaking Pop Tart display at Food Lion. There was Confetti Cupcake flavor. Red Velvet. Cinnamon Roll. Raspberry. Hot Fudge Sundae. Wildlicious Wild Berry. Wildlicious Strawberry. What is Wildlicious? I don’t care. I love it. And Peanut Butter. HOLY SHIT PEANUT BUTTER POP TARTS EXIST.
So because I obviously hate myself, I came home with multiple boxes of Pop Tarts. Don’t judge me and let’s never talk about this again.
Now, making the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich at home requires some forethought. You can’t just hastily slap a scoop of ice cream on a cut-in-half Pop Tart and call it a day. For starters, Pop Tarts are crumbly messes. I think the first key here is to toast the Pop Tart and then let it cool completely.
Then there’s an issue where the Pop Tart first pops out of the toaster and it’s center-of-the-Earth-Magma-level hot. And you try to gingerly pick it out but you either A) burn your fingertips off, or B) break off a massive chunk of the Pop Tart. Both of these events will make you want to die.
If you’re like me, that’s already way too much work, and you’re already halfway out the door to Carl’s Jr with the $1.49 in your hand. But I trudged forward through the cooling process. I even used our fancy cooling rack we got for our wedding. Being an adult is really fun sometimes.
And finally I got to the ice cream part:
The next thing is, the Pop Tart and ice cream need some alone time in the freezer to congeal together. So after cooling the Pop Tart, carefully slicing it in half, and putting a hearty scoop of ice cream in the middle, I allowed it to sit in the freezer for thirty minutes.
See? This is all way too much work. Carl’s Jr has made it that much easier to help us accomplish our goals of gaining that extra fifty pounds just in time to fit into our football sweatpants.
The final tally is:
- a trip to the grocery store
- two or three extra boxes of Pop Tarts dripping in self-loathing
- one messed up Pop Tart after it was scorched in the toaster
- a small first-degree burn
- the wife requesting “not that weird thing you’re making” but instead “a scoop of ice cream over a warm pop tart”
- okay, sure, like I’m taking custom sundae orders here and not doing IMPORTANT BLOG STUFF
- thirty minutes of cooling and re-freezing
Was it worth it?
Surprisingly, yes. The Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich works. The ice cream cuts the cloying sweetness of the Pop Tart filling in a good way. When toasted and frozen, the Pop Tart works well as a sandwich to hold the ice cream. In other words, it’s great, but you already knew that. It’s freaking vanilla ice cream and Pop Tarts. It’s summertime and the living is easy. And that barefoot running guy has no idea what he’s talking about.