In Which I Recreate That Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich Thing

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

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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.

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33 responses to “In Which I Recreate That Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich Thing

  1. But how do you think it would taste with chocolate ice cream in that peanut butter Pop Tart??

  2. Now I’m friggin starving. This is hysterical. BTW, pop tarts are my kid’s crack cocaine.

  3. Man, all those goofy flavors of poptarts were like precious metal in Afghanistan. And…whatever happened to Gorton’s microwaveable honey buns. Those things were delicious.

  4. I am just so friggin’ hungry right now.

  5. Reblogged this on Sarah's Brand New Chapter and commented:
    Thoughtsy, I saw this post and thought of you. An ice cream and freaking Pop-Tart sandwich. My brain just exploded.

  6. You just blew my mind. How did I not think of those two things together?

  7. Glad you provided photo of how to make them. I could not have figured it out.

  8. Thank you for this important public service.

    Anyone else remember when there used to be un-frosted Pop Tarts? I think maybe there’s one flavor left now.

    • Yeah, I remember when the unfrosted was the only choice. I think only the strawberry exists. The Peanut Butter ones I bought are unfrosted though. (Although they also have a chocolate frosted version.)

  9. I would make this with the Hot Fudge Sundae Poptarts and the chocolate ice cream.

  10. I love how your first real photo, not the promo one, looks like you were working in a mad scientist’s lab with the toaster shining in the background and the countertop. True Frankenstein stuff.

  11. mmmmmmmmmmmmm pop tarts mmmmmmmmmmmm ice cream

  12. I need to track down the red velvet flavor. Our grocery store Pop-Tart display sadly pales in comparison to the way you have described yours. These look pretty awesome, but have you tried waffle ice cream sandwiches? Yum!

  13. I just did two posts on weird foods I grew up with and now this. Awesome.

    Hey, look up Jerry Seinfeld talking about pop tarts. Funny stuff.

  14. We recently bought the peanut butter chocolate pop tarts for the kids. In a moment of weakness, I toasted two and had them with a glass of cold milk and I don’t even regret it, it was that good. I think we still have some left and I am going to try this with the freezing process you described. I like that you cut the poptart in half…seems much less excessive than the deep fried poptarts they sell at county fairs and the like.

  15. I want to get behind this, but I cannot stand the pasty pastry part of Pop Tarts (also, I can’t eat them any more for allergy reasons). Might I suggest ice cream sammiched into a carefully sliced-open Little Debbie Honey Stick? Now there’s a dessert to feel shamed by.

    • I have to ask…what is a Little Debbie Honey Stick? I’m familiar with their Honey Buns and their Donut Sticks, but I’ve never heard of a Honey Stick.

      • Apparently I meant Donut Stick. It’s been at least a decade since I’ve seen one, and I live in Canada – they like to call things by different names here for some reason.

  16. We don’t have Carl’s Jr. around here, but we have Hardee’s, which is essentially the same thing. I hope they get these at Hardee’s…I must try one and I don’t want to go through the trouble to make my own!

  17. This is quite possibly, the greatest invention ever!!!!!

  18. This is the first I’ve heard of this idea and I think it’s BRILLIANT! I do have modifications. First, I hate the crusty edges of Pop Tarts, so I’m cutting those off after toasting. Second, I’m going all chocolate on this bad boy. Old school Chocolate-Chocolate Pop Tarts with some Edy’s Grand Chocolate in the middle. This will be the cheat-meal of the GODS! Thanks Pizza!

  19. This is brilliant! I’m going to try this with the S’Mores Pop Tarts and Cookie Dough ice cream because diabetes. It’s worth it.

  20. I had some pumpkin flavor poptarts the other day and they were A’mazing…. they would probably make an excellent thanksgiving treat with vanilla icecream.

  21. This is all that is good in the world. Thanks! It reminds me of the section of Amy Sedaris’s “I like you” when she lists snacks that are good to eat when stoned. The list includes popcorn cooked in bacon grease, but no pop tart ice cream sandwich.

  22. Seems like it would be more fun eating it warm and letting the ice cream cool the hot parts, and the hot parts melting the ice cream.

  23. i always hated eating warm pop tarts i wonder if the sandwich will taste just as good using a cold pop tart

  24. I am guilty of eating raw pop tarts at work in the morning behind my computer desk. Even worse a lot of times i ate them dry. Its like scarfing down a lobster roll while driving through city traffic; you cannot really enjoy it so you think afterwords, “what a waste!” I wished that my old floppy disk player was secretly a pop tart crisper or that i could somehow heat it by leaving it in direct sunlight. What it really came down to was lazy and not equiped for the job. I give you props for going the whole mile. Your article makes me realize that the chipwich wasn’t so much invented as it was refined by pioneers such as yourself.

  25. Next , of course , will be the double decker pop tart ice cream sandwich . Carls Junior execs are discussing it now .

  26. Your experience in the Pop-Tart aisle is eerily similar to mine yesterday — they were on sale and I hadn’t bought them in years because real food, but I just stepped in, and … it was more glorious and bewildering than the 80 different kinds of Oreo in the cookie section. I spent a minute or so just staring hungrily at the peanut butter flavor, glancing occasionally at the confetti ones. I ended up buying a box of PB and one of unfrosted strawberry (because PB&J, which was poor planning because I rarely eat two at a time), and was so starstruck over it all that I didn’t notice until I got home that the peanut butters are only 6 to a box, instead of 8. :(

  27. I have sped past the Pop Tart aisle ever since my son could recognize enticing colorful labels. And all this time they have had PEANUT BUTTER flavor? Can you imagine spreading Nutella on one of those? Well, there goes my diet.

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