Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why didn't I think of that!? Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich

Check out this recipe on my new and improved website:

Ladies and gents, we have a guest blogger!
I like to say that my older brother took the majority of the creative genes in my family. A hilarious writer, he sends me scripts and screenplays that leave me in tears and with no feedback to give but, "That was fantastic! Just take out the comma on page 4, paragraph 2," or, "Fix how you spelled garage." While reading his contribution to The Walking Cookbook, I found myself laughing out loud (riotously, I might add) multiple times. This week he writes about a perfect dessert for Memorial Day weekend and beyond: Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwiches. Thanks, bro, for sharing your talents with The Walking Cookbook!

When learning of the existence of the Carls Jr. Hand Scooped Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich, there are really only two types of people:
• Those who concede that American food culture has hit such a low that anyone with an iota of taste and class needs hold fast to any last scrap of self-dignity and flee to Canada.
And those who want to know why there isnt one in their mouths right now.

Im one of the latter.

When I first heard that the culinary geniuses over at Carls Jr. had created this gastronomic marvel, I immediately hit up Google to find out where I could get one.  Lo and behold, it turned out to be a trial item, only available at a few unadvertised Carls Jr. locations.

So the choice was simple:
Drive to every Carls Jr. restaurant in Southern California to see if they carry it.
Or drive to seven Carls Jr. restaurants in Southern California, give up, and walk to the grocery store across the street from my apartment to buy Pop-Tarts, ice cream, and shampoo (I was out of shampoo).

I chose the latter.

About the Carls Jr. Hand Scooped Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich
I know what youre thinking... This isn't a recipe; any IDIOT could make that!  Well the IDIOTS over at NPR’s Sandwich Mondays sure found a way to screw it up!

So unless your idea of an ice cream sandwich is a cream-soaked pile of strawberry mush, consider yourself lucky you found THIS blog first!  (And if a cream-soaked pile of strawberry mush happens to be your thing, keep reading next week because, come to think of it, that actually sounds pretty good...)

For those of you who haven't heard of Carl's Jr., maybe you live on the East Coast where the chain goes by the name Hardees.  But if you havent heard of Carls Jr. OR Hardees, then maybe you live in hell because youve been denied one of the best fast food restaurants ever (itll be THE best once the Pop-Tart sandwich becomes a regular item).

The chain is famous for stirring up controversy every couple years with their commercials, often of a bikini-clad celebrity eating one of their burgers and dripping all over themselvesI can't say Im necessarily in the target demographic for said commercials (nor is my boyfriend), but if one of those bikini clad woman was dripping ice cream from a Pop-Tart sandwich all over the place, Id start paying attention!

I was planning to include a little history of the Ice Cream Sandwich here, but after copying and pasting 90% of another website on the topic, I decided to delete it and just share the link instead.

You didnt click it, did you?  Lazy...  but thats OK.  I cherry picked a couple of my favorite facts:
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches are an American invention (duh!  Who else would come up with a dessert wrapped in another dessert?)
  • People on the eastern seaboard eat almost 50% of all ice cream sandwiches (Which makes the west-coast-based Carls Jr. pretty dumb for not selling these at their east-coast counterpart Hardees!  Dont they have a whole department of highly paid market researchers?  I figured this out after 10 seconds on Google!)

Choosing the Recipe

For the recipe and I use that term very loosely I had nothing more to go on than this advertisement:

The ingredients were pretty obvious by the name alone, but the trick was in the method of how to merge Pop-Tart and ice cream without pulling an NPR.

Problem: A scoop of ice cream is ROUND, but the surface of a Pop-Tart is FLAT, so the sandwich turns to crumbly goop after one bite.

Solution: SLICE the ice cream, dont scoop it.  I found that buying a brand of ice cream that comes in a rectangular tub and slicing it like a loaf of bread made nice thick layers of ice cream that easily bonded to the flat surface of the Pop-Tart.

Another trick to ensure a sturdy sandwich is to make sure the sandwich is COLD before you eat it!  Youll see that a couple of steps in the recipe involve putting stuff in the refrigerator or freezer -- I know the delight of sugary goodness is hard to postpone, but skip these steps at your own risk.

And although Carls Jr. only offers strawberry Pop-Tarts with vanilla ice cream, the beauty of making your own is that you can do any combination of Pop-Tart and ice cream flavor!  (I personally liked the Confetti Cupcake Pop-Tarts for this recipe.)

The 8 vitamins and minerals are what make it a breakfast food
Memorizing the Recipe 
To memorize the recipe, I used this simple mnemonic device: SPTOTOICITM

That way Ill never forget: Strawberry Pop-Tart On The Outside, Ice Cream In The Middle

The Verdict
Unlike my sister, the inimitable Walking Cookbook herself, I dont have the awesome tradition of a weekly family dinner to test out my recipes, but I have shared a Pop-Tart sandwich or two with a few people, and the feedback was pretty universal: GIVE ME ANOTHER ONE!

Theres a reason Pop-Tarts come in 2-packs: because they have so little nutritional benefit that your body requires more food after eating just one.  Also because they are so yummy, youre gonna want more.

These ice cream sandwiches are no different on both counts!

 The Recipe

Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwiches
Yield: 10 sandwiches

  • 1 box Strawberry* Pop-Tarts
  • 1 container Vanilla* Ice Cream in a rectangular tub

*or pick any flavor you want!

Kitchen Tools:
  • Cutting Board
  • Butcher Knife
  • Large Bowl
  • Toaster
  • Toast the Pop-Tarts in a toaster until the edges are light brown (5-8 mins)
  • Cut the Pop-Tarts in half hamburger way (see photo if you have no idea what that means)
  • Place toasted Pop-Tarts in the freezer until they are cool to the touch, then remove from freezer and proceed
  • Fill a large bowl with warm water
  • Dip the ice cream tub in the warm water for just a couple seconds to slightly melt the contents loose from the carton
  • Take the lid off the ice cream and flip the carton upside-down on a cutting board
  • Remove the carton from the ice cream, and cut 1 thick slices (like a loaf of bread)
  • Cut the ice cream slice in half hamburger way so its the same size as the Pop-Tart half
  • Sandwich the ice cream between two halves of Pop-Tart
  • Put the assembled sandwiches back in the freezer for 30-60 mins to let them harden again
  • Enjoy!

Note: The frozen sandwiches can be wrapped in foil and stored in the freezer for future use, but you know youre just gonna eat all of 'em in the next 24 hours anyway, so dont bother wasting the foil...
The scientific name for this kind of a cut is a "hamburger" cut.
A cut perpendicular to this is a "hot dog" cut. --PHYSICS!
The key to not pulling an NPR is all in the slicing


  1. I will be serving them on Monday -- along with the recipe as a narrative. Thanks!

  2. Sorry, I cannot resist another comment. I clicked on the comment near the beginning of the detailed discription of this epicurian delight and realized that the reason I don't like Carl's Jr. is that their TV ads are disgusting -- I would ground my kids for a month if they ate as drippy and messy as that -- I would probably also ban them from the dinner table! I appreciate that the above Walking Cookbook's discription is clean-cut (except for the plate with the melted goop on it).

    Just think --- if I didn't have the Walking Cookbook I would totally miss out on this wonder of wonders scrumpcidillicious dessert and our Memorial Day guests would too!

  3. Oh my, I totally misspelled description TWICE!! -- so here is an apology since I don't want to have to re-write the whole comment.

  4. I can't wait to hear how the sandwiches turned out-- be sure to give a detailed discription :)