I am well aware that commercial Pop-Tarts contain about the same amount of nutrition as a piece of cloth. When peering over a box of Pop-Tarts, I don't even bother looking over the ingredients or calories, and instead focus directly on the promised flavor. There are a TON of varieties lately; Pop-Tarts offers flavors that span a spectrum rivaling Ben and Jerry's. Most people tend to stick with the classic Strawberry or the ever-popular Brown Sugar Cinnamon, which are both amazing choices, by the way. After a Pop-Tart tasting done with my brother back in March, I discovered that the S'mores and Wildberry Pop-Tarts should not be ignored, rather celebrated with choirs of angel-voiced children.  The gooey, artificial marshmallow dances with sticky chocolate, all captured within a graham crust and faux cocoa paint job. The thing is a work of art. 

Beyond that, I like Pop-Tarts for what they symbolize. Eating a Pop-Tart feels a little like sharing a secret. They are naughty, naughty Pop-Tarts, full of empty calories and enough soybean oil to keep Monsanto grinning ear-to-ear. They are what some might call "bad food." Eating a Pop-Tart feels like reading a book under the covers via flashlight well past your bedtime; you know you will feel crappy in the morning, but the thrill and the flavor are oh-so-worth it.  

I ate Pop-Tarts as a child, not for breakfast, but as an occasional after school snack while hunkering down to get some homework down or check on the progress of my Sims on their medical career track.  They were un-toasted, served at room temperature and yielding and fat crumb. 

Pop-tarts and I continued to blossom. My brother and I tried eight flavors at once, which ended in our stomachs churning and our teeth whitened by a thick layer of bleached sugar. My most recent Pop-Tart occurred in a hotel room with Ketel One, where we split one as a pre-cursor to a much healthier trip to Denny's. (We ate egg-white omelets, I swear!) It was romantic and cute, and I didn't regret it for a second. 

My relationship with the Pop-Tart will never end, but it can undergo a makeover. Especially if said makeover includes A) salty pistachios and B) authentic strawberry jam. The recipe was inspired from these bad boys over on Molly's blog and these strawberry goodies over at the Minimalist Baker. I also made them gluten-free, but you can easily use regular pastry dough, depending on preference. 

gluten-free strawberry poptarts with a lemon glaze

1 cup gf all-purpose flour

1 cup tapioca flour

2 tablespoons organic cane sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup cold butter

3 tablespoons ice water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup strawberry preserves (homemade also good!)

1 egg white, whisked

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 cup crushed pistachios

For the pastry, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to incorporate.  Using a pastry-cutter or fork, work in the cold butter until the mixture reaches a sand-like consistency.  Stir in the water and vanilla extract. Roll the dough out in between two pieces of parchment paper and chill for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the chilled down into equal-sized rectangles. (Mine were a little big. I'd likely go smaller next time.) Place half of the rectangles down onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and add about a tablespoon or two of jam onto the center of each piece.  Lay the second half of pastry pieces on top of the jam-covered pieces. Use a fork to gently press the side of all rectangles, so that the pieces close in a "pie-like" fashion. Poke tiny holes across the center of each tart to allow steam to escape. Brush lightly with whisked egg white. Cook for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the pop-tarts cool, whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and butter until combined. After the pop-tarts have cooled, top with a light layer of glaze and crumbled pistachios. Eat, eat, eat!!

Maybe I'm taking it too far, but are Pop-Tarts about love? Is that why I'm so ga-ga/nuts/crazy/coo-coo-banana-pants over them? Quite possibly.

To leave you, readers, I encourage you with loving words and encouragement, including to speak from the heart and to love rebelliously. Life is too short not to say your truest thoughts, and to love in your craziest fashion.