Right? At least that was the decision I made when I came to the conclusion that pop tarts are, in fact, not healthy. I know. You’re shocked, just as I was. Pop tarts and I have a long history, which is why I was so easily fooled for years.
When I was just a wee girl, I had a great many thoughts about the absolute truths of the world. One of them was that my older teenage brother, James, was the COOLEST guy. He listened to heavy metal and rock music, he could pick me up with just one arm(!), he stayed out late with his friends, his favorite color was black, AND he ate whatever he wanted to eat. Mom couldn’t stop him! And one of those foods was pop tarts.
I made a vow to myself then that when I was old enough, I would stay up late and always have pop tarts in my kitchen. With no problems, I kept this vow to myself.
My first year of college, I EXISTED on quick vending machine food, most notably, brown sugar pop tarts. While I knew they were not very healthy, I realized it was more important to keep promises to yourself. I was just following through with well-laid plans. Plus, who could resist the perfect toasty crust with the warm, sweet brown sugary mixture inside? Not me.
It was somewhere around my third year of college that I started really paying attention to healthy eating trends. I happen to love fitness and health magazines. Unfortunately for my youthful dreams, pop tarts were never pictured as go-to snacks or meals. Pop tarts are just 300-plus calories of processed sugar and …sugar. They have no nutritional benefits, other than keeping you from starving while studying late in the library for hours on end.
Thus, my love affair with pop tarts ended. I quit them cold turkey, realizing their calories were never really worth it.
Until recently, I have not thought about pop tarts, until, that is, I found this cute little DIY pop tart recipe on smittenkitchen.com. Hurray!
The recipe took all my qualms away about all the mystery ingredients listed on the package of my old-favorite snacks. Surely, if you can make it yourself, anything can be made healthier. And I was right.
While visiting my parents and little sister last weekend, I decided to try out the newfound recipe. I only altered the flour, switching in whole wheat for the white.
Making pop tarts is much like making pie. Or pizza.
You MUST have a some counter space. You WILL make a mess. Those are givens. Also, while there are right and wrong ways to make both, there is a LITTLE room for error and LOTS of room for creativity.
I used a brown sugar filling inside the whole wheat crust.
Aren’t they cute in their imperfection? As a note, poke lots of holes because…
They can quickly become puff-tarts!
I have re-fallen in love with pop tarts. This time, however, it is purely for my own reasons, not because of the coolest older brother. So much satisfaction can be had by unveiling the mystery that surrounds processed foods. By deconstructing and reconstructing, you can make fun foods with ingredients that make sense.
While I was a teensy disappointed about the taste, I scientifically deduced with my little sister that the pop tarts were great, just the proportions were off. Next time, the crust should be a little thinner (I blame the rolling pin), and the filling should be more, well, filling.
Maybe it IS time to head back to college, now that my snack food has been perfected. I cannot WAIT to try making some mini strawberry-filled pop tarts with cute sprinkled frosting!