As I gaze upon these Green Apple Jolly Rancher Pop-Tarts, I must ask: has science gone too far?
A) Yes. Candy and pastries mixing? Next you’ll tell me there are Oil & Water Pop-Tarts.
B) No. Not far enough, actually. I want to see Pop-Tarts flavored Jolly Ranchers.
C) I really don’t care please just stuff neon-dyed dough rectangles into my mouth so I can make my tongue look like a cosmic bowling alley.
I would circle option C, but my hands are too covered in slippery green apple filling to get a grip on a pencil, mouse, or my life.
That’s right: there has been much buzz about Kellogg’s brand new Jolly Ranchers line of Pop-Tarts, which also includes Cherry and Watermelon. Some camps find the idea more nostalgic than spilled Crystal Pepsi in a used record shop, while some would rather drink a Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino through an intra-nasal straw than eat something so potently technicolored.
Me? I’m just happy to be here. I’ll slip past the hype and let the Tarts’ flavors decide their fates. Let’s see if Green Apple is as suckable as its namesake candy, or if it just, well, sucks.
Looking like a cross between a zucchini and a pair of Zubaz, my Jolly Rancher Green Apple Pop-Tart has bold zig-zags worthy of M.C. Escher. It also has the most unique flavor concept of the Jolly Rancher trio: while Cherry and Watermelon are currently well-represented in Pop-Tart form, apple hasn’t been given the green treatment since the discontinued Apple Blast and Apple Strudel varieties. Even more interestingly, these things were also called “Sour Green Apple” when news first leaked, but that first adjective has been dropped—probably because “sour pastry” sounds more like a phone’s accidental autocorrection of “sourpuss” than an appetizing breakfast idea.
And let me tell you: if the flavor of Green Apple Pop-Tarts is one thing, it’s accurate. When eaten straight out of the foil, the pasty, vibrantly green filling—which has roughly the hue of a liquefied Mystery Machine Scooby-Doo fruit snack—completely overwhelms both crust and icing alike with its totally artificial and totally sweet Green Apple Jolly Rancher taste. Seriously: you’d have to stuff some green Skittles into a green Laffy Taffy, wrap it in a green Airhead (burrito-style) and simmer it in your Granny Smith’s borrowed crockpot full of Apple Attack Juicy Drop Pop liquid at 250°F for an afternoon to reach this level of atomic green apple.
Am I over-exaggerating? Maybe a little, but this stuff is juicy, syrupy sweet, fruitily puckering, and would never be confused for artificial red or yellow apple flavoring. It’s not quite mouth-twistingly sour, but it might make your lips twitch with a palpable tartness that’s comparable to Blue Raspberry Pop-Tarts. This is a novel exhibition of food science, but I quietly hoped my Green Apple Pop-Tart’s filling would have the famous oily touch of most Pop-Tart stuffing, and I vocally wished it would give the pastry’s signature golden crust a chance to shine.
Thankfully, a little toaster incubation does just that. Seemingly more fragile than the average Tart (all those Jolly Rancher Pop-Tart haters must have ruined its self-confidence 😞), my Green Apple pastry crumbled like an apple crumble forced to compete in WWE’s Royal Rumble. Lovingly browned, the crust takes a more active role in the Pop-Tart dynamic, subduing the nuclear sweetness of the bubbling filling—which now, appropriately, resembles a certain, heroic Inanimate Carbon Rod—with its buttery crunch. The stuffing still has a NASA-worthy tanginess, but its sweetness pairs more pleasantly with the crust and lightly granulated icing.
It feels both artificial and quasi-realistic at the same time, like an uncanny apple pie made by some sort of android grandmother.
Eating this flavor of Pop-Tart frozen—if you’ve never had a frozen Pop-Tart, by the way, run, do not walk to your nearest refrigeration unit, dry ice salesperson, or remote planet of Hoth—is kind of a double-iced sword. On one hand, taking a chill pill mutes the filling and crust flavors alike, making the whole thing taste a bit hollowly sweet, but on the other, pastry-clutching hand, this makes Green Apple Pop-Tarts more universally palatable and slightly refreshing: it reminded me of a green Fla-Vor-Ice.
Overall, Green Apple Jolly Rancher Pop-Tarts aren’t bad in any way; they’re a much more fun (and spot-on) flavor novelty than last summer’s Soda–Tarts. But the problem is, I can’t really see a situation where I’d eat them regularly. I’m too old and they’re too cloyingly candied to make for a breakfast treat—4th grade Dan would have easily integrated these into his ritualistic Garfield & Friends morning viewings—and the flavor is a little too unorthodox for a post-dinner dessert.
The best place I can envision enjoying Green Apple Pop-Tarts is poolside, straight out of the cooler and paired with a tall glass of Sharkleberry Fin Kool-Aid. And until I make friends with enough people who own pools (I could’ve stopped at “until I make friends”), that context may be a little too niche to make these Jolly Ranchers a jolly re-purchase.
Sorry, Green Apple: you don’t suck. I do.
The “Bowl:” Green Apple Jolly Rancher Pop-Tarts
The Breakdown: So accurate to its candy ancestor that it hurts (primarily my teeth), these Jolly Rancher Pop-Tarts are enjoyably odd and more likely to be enjoyed socially this summer than regularly with a cup of coffee.
The Bottom Line: 7 concentrated fruit snack essences out of 10
***Big thanks to Kellogg’s for sending me these and the other Jolly Rancher Pop-Tart flavors. If you’re looking for your own, they’ve been seen at Meijer, Walmart, and probably everywhere else by the time you read this.***
(Quick Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, less than 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein per 1 pastry serving)