Posts tagged popsicles
Posts tagged popsicles
The popsicles I make have literally not ever once looked this good, but aren’t they lovely? Wouldn’t it be nice if my popsicles were so pretty?
Ice Coffee Pops
It’s finally actually hot here in Maine, so I made iced coffee pops. They are everything I have ever wanted in a popsicle.
I made them basically the same way I make Vietnamese Iced Coffee: I make a coffee concentrate by combining 1/2 a pound of ground coffee with 4 1/2 or 5 cups water, let it sit for about a day, and then strain it. I keep the coffee concentrate in the fridge, and to serve, I mix the concentrate with sweetened condensed milk and regular milk over ice.
For the popsicles, I made a larger batch of the condensed milk/coffee concentrate/regular milk mixture, adding a little bit more sweetened condensed milk than usual.
The resulting popsicle is pretty icy, but I kind of like icy popsicles, and they are delicious.
Here’s a picture:
The People’s Pops cookbook recommends not fully combining the cream and fruit in order to create attractive swirls in the pops. I tried that with the pumpkin pie pops and quickly discovered I was en route to 3 cream-no-pumpkin popsicles and 3 pumpkin-no-cream popsicles because the pumpkin and cream were separated, with the cream sitting on top. I had better luck filling all the molds half way, then going back and filling them the rest of the way.
O-Rama Cookbook Review: People’s Pops
Sometimes you don’t know your own limits in terms of bullshit until you are standing in the spice aisle of Whole Foods, contemplating buying whole allspice so you can use 1 1/2 allspice berries in your pumpkin popsicles because “you get better flavor.” That, for me, represented a line I was not willing to cross.
I think my come-to-Jesus moment in the grocery store illustrates some of the ways in which what appears to be a lovely and successful popsicle business fails to translate well into a cookbook.
People’s Pops is a Brooklyn-based popsicle maker that started four or five years ago “as a one-day experiment on a hunch that the world deserves a better ice pop.” Their new cookbook (“55 recipes for ice pops, shave ice, and boozy pops from brooklyn’s coolest pop shop”*) was released June 5th.
There’s a fair argument to be made that popsicles don’t require a cookbook so much as a popsicle mold, a working freezer, and a low-to-moderate spirit of experimentation. It also has to be said that I am much less likely to give a cookbook the benefit of the doubt when they have the phrase “brooklyn’s coolest pop shop” on the cover. But I do love popsicles, and summer is approaching.
The challenge is that the most basic recipes make me think that buying a cookbook for a popsicle recipe is stupid (you mix raspberries with simple syrup to get a raspberry pop) while the more involved recipes make me wonder if the effort is worth it for a popsicle (if and when I come into possession of a bunch of perfectly ripe summer peaches, I’m unlikely to decide to whip them into frozen popsicles— maybe the definition of culinary downcycling). On the other hand, I’m pretty sure if I were standing outside on a hot day and someone was selling a $3.50 apricot and salted caramel popsicle, I would happily purchase it. Again, I’m sure on a bulk scale, when you’re building a brand, simmering whole spices instead of ground is totally worth it for a slightly better pumpkin pie popsicle.
But the proof is in the pudding, right? So I made the Strawberry & Balsamic Vinegar pops and the Pumpkin Pie With Whipped Cream Pops.
Making strawberry & balsamic vinegar pops
The strawberry & balsamic pops were fine, but a bit too sweet and too vinegar-y for my taste. I should have been more careful in adding the simple syrup and vinegar, but I also figured it would be worth making the pops as the recipe described (again, I probably don’t need a cookbook if I’m just slowly adding simple syrup and vinegar to pureed strawberries until it “tastes right”). In a few weeks when Maine strawberries are in season it would probably be worth trying again.
The Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream** pops are a bit of an anomaly in that the texture is more like a fudgesicle than an ice pop, and almost all the other pops in the book are fruit-based. I probably would not have thought of making them on my own, and it was helpful to have a recipe to get the balance of spices, pumpkin, and cream right. I was worried that the resulting pops would be too sweet again, but they were actually really good— creamy with a perfect amount of spice.
There are other intriguing pops in the book: fig jam and yogurt, apple and salted caramel, cantaloupe and campari, blueberry and buttermilk. The peach and bourbon pop sounds like it would make a wonderful barbecue dessert. But I don’t know that the book is a required ingredient in making any of those popsicles.
The Strawberry & Balsamic pops.
Edited: two important points I forgot to make in the first version of this post!
* In all lower case. Praise be, they use appropriate capitalization in the actual text of the book.
** The book tells you that whipping the cream “creates an airier, almost foamy pop whereas leaving the cream unwhipped results in a more gelatolike vibe.” I opted for the “more gelatolike vibe” and quietly hoped that I would never have to say that phrase aloud.
Guess what I’m going to make to help me cope emotionally with the frozen yogurt disappointment? Root beer float pops.
I am so excited.
(Also, oldpinetree and I have the same popsicle molds!)
Root Beer Float Pops
I’ve taken a break from frozen grapes. Not surprisingly after running 15 miles this past Saturday frozen grapes just don’t really do it. So this week they have been replaced with root beer float pops. The pictures are terrible, they don’t do it justice. Believe me, they are epic. I saw a bunch of different recipes, but this is what I did.
First I poured some root beer into the mold, about 1/3 of the way. Then I mixed 2 parts vanilla ice cream with 1 part milk so it was creamy and spooned it into the mold. Then I topped it off (leaving a little room for it to rise) with more root beer. Then I stuck the spoon in each mold a few times so that it would mix up a little, but not completely. Then they went into the freezer over night.
The next day it was 85 degrees and humid, and I was in popsicle heaven.
I made these a week or two ago and thought that I didn’t really like them. I had this idea that they would be like a lemon-buttermilk baked good (I don’t know why I thought that) and they were more lemonade-y. A confession: I don’t really like lemonade. It’s too sweet. And sour. All at once. I like lemons a lot. And I like cool beverages. It doesn’t make sense, but there it is. So I thought these were too lemonadey, but I kept one or two around because even I could tell that it was just a crazy personal thing with lemonade that made me dislike them.
So anyway, I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with the contents of the fridge since Dave’s been away.* Which means I haven’t been grocery shopping. Which means I’m getting close to the dregs. So I open the freezer hoping that ice cream or fudgesicles have appeared there, and decide I’m going to give the lemon-buttermilk pops another shot. And guess what? They were really good.
Also, the NY Times Week in Review section this Sunday had a thing about “the Great Men of Junk Food” that included this:
One unusually frigid night in San Francisco in 1905, 11-year-old Frank W. Epperson accidentally left a powdered-soda drink he had made for himself on the porch with the stirring stick still in the cup. The next morning, he awoke to find a frozen concoction, on a stick.
He tasted it. He showed it to his friends at school. And then he went on with his life, eventually going into real estate. It was not until 1923 that Mr. Epperson finally applied for a patent for his discovery. These days, Unilever sells two billion of them in the United States each year. Mr. Epperson initially called his product Epsicles. His children had another name: Pop’s ’sicles.
* I keep opening the fridge and thinking, why aren’t the pasta leftovers GONE yet? It occurs to me that Dave has a crazy metabolism and also that I probably eat less than half the food in the house.
Strawberry-Mint Ice Pops; Homemade Vanilla Extract; Kulfi Pops
This week’s episode is all about refreshment. And treating yourself. And stirring a pot of milk for 4 hours, which is the long way to go about making kulfi, but hard work yields better rewards.
We filmed the first part of this episode (the strawberry-mint pops) a couple of months ago, when strawberries were peaking at the Greenmarkets here in New York. The summer fruit has really started to explode the past week or so, and while strawberry season has pretty much already closed (;_;), peaches, apricots, sugar plums, all kinds of berries, red currants, and melons are now hitting the stands.
I can’t stop thinking about how pretty cantaloupe-champagne pops would be: big chunks of pastel orange melon suspended in a light syrup of water, honey, and champagne. You want one, right? Don’t lie.
Or what about pureeing up some watermelon with just a touch of sugar and some fresh basil leaves for neon-pink watermelon pops?
But my favorite summer fruit is, easily, donut peaches. I’m going to have to buy a couple pounds at the market tomorrow, because I’ve already thought of 3 distinct recipes for them:
Vanilla Peach Creamsicles: I’m thinking about gently simmering a pound or so of halved donut peaches in milk (whole, 2%, 1%, skim, soy, rice should all work) with some homemade vanilla extract.
Donut Peach Mimosa Pops: Simmer your halved donut peaches in a 3:1 mix of water and honey. Fill ice pop molds halfway. Top with champagne and fresh donut peach slivers.
Donut Peach Kulfi: Make a basic vanilla kulfi. Slice donut peaches and macerate with a tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 a teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 a teaspoon vanilla. Layer your ice pop molds thusly: 1/3 kulfi, 1/3 peaches, 1/3 kulfi.
With all that summer fruit out there, the possibilities are endless.
Apparently I am not the only one on a pop kick!
Also, donut peaches are God’s food. If you live anywhere south of say, New York, you need to find yourself a farmer’s market and buy as many of those suckers as you can. They were my favorite thing in the whole world when we lived in DC and now I see them at the grocery store and I’m afraid to buy them because I think they’ll disappoint me in the way grocery peaches sometimes do and I will be CRUSHED.
For me, the fudgesicle is sort of the holy grail of popsicle. They are delicious, but also hard to get just right. And I have some strong feelings regarding homemade fudgesicles (shocking, I know).
1. They should be at least a little creamy and not totally icy.
2. They should be strongly chocolately and also sweet. Like milk chocolate.
3. They should not require heavy cream or making a custard. If I were going to do that, I would just make ice cream. Also, half the fun of a popsicle is that it’s healthy enough that you can justify eating it as a snack or for breakfast (not like I haven’t ever justified having pie or cake for breakfast, but chocolate ice cream in stick form is a reach even for me).
4. I should not have to buy special ingredients.
5. I should especially not have to buy packaged chocolate pudding. If I were going to do that, I’d just buy the big box of fudgesicles at the grocery store.
A day or two ago, I decided I’d try freezing hot chocolate and see how that goes. It meets my restrictions: it’s reasonably healthy, it’s easy to make, it involves ingredients that I have on hand. I also decided to dump in some ginger, because I like ginger in my hot chocolate and it seemed like it would work nicely in a frozen treat.
I’m pretty pleased with the results. The pops aren’t super creamy, but they’re pretty creamy, and the chocolate flavor is good.
Here’s the recipe:
Hot Chocsicles (aka Ginger Fudgesicles)
Heat the milk, cocoa, sugar, and ginger in a small saucepan. Don’t let it boil. I used a whisk to incorporate the cocoa and sugar. Once it’s warm/hot, add the chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted. Taste. You want it to be a very strong hot chocolate; I like hot chocolate to be not super sweet but in this case I made it a little sweeter, since the flavor will be milder once it’s frozen.
Set aside to cool for a bit (it doesn’t have to be cold, just not hot). Pour into popsicle molds.
I initially thought I would strain out the ginger pieces, but that seemed like an unnecessary hassle. This meant the last popsicle had lots of ginger bits at the bottom (see in photo). This was fine for me, because I like ginger bits.
These were really good, although maybe less creamy than I would ideally want. For more creaminess while still meeting the above criteria, I might try blending the hot chocolate with half a banana once it’s cooled.
I’m so glad I dug out my popsicle molds, because they are fantastic. And it has also been really fucking stuffy in our apartment as of late. Ocean breezes only do so much for you when you live on the top floor.
Strawberry Yogurt popsicles
Mix the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste and adjust sugar. If you want the popsicles to have chunks of fruit, reserve some of the strawberries and blend them quickly at the end once everything else is mixed together.
Freeze for 1/2 a day or overnight.
I’ve been thinking of attempting fudgesicles, which I consider Varsity Popsicle Making. I tried them once and they weren’t quite right, but I have ideas…
p.s. Molly Wizenberg at Orangette even posted about popsicles recently. Her recipe describes how to make popsicles in a large shot glass with popsicle sticks. I still think you should just buy some molds. But whatever, I’m not the boss of you.
It’s been really really hot here (and bonus! I’m currently en route to an EVEN HOTTER PLACE. I might die). The best thing to do when it is hot and sticky and you don’t have central AC and you don’t want to go to the movies, or actually, drive anywhere because the AC in your car gushes buckets of water into the passenger side floormat, especially when you try to do crazy things like turn left, is sit very still wearing as little as possible eating popsicles with a fan blowing on you.*
It’s incredibly effective.
Popsicles are easy to buy, but they’re also easy to make. Obviously, you can just pour juice into a popsicle mold. Or if you don’t have popsicle molds, you could pour the juice into a dixie cup, top with some tinfoil, and stick a popsicle stick in the whole shebang. But seeing as I would need to specially purchase dixie cups and popsicle sticks, I figured it’d be easier to specially purchase popsicle molds.**
If you want to go fancier than juice, which I highly recommend, there are lots of options. For instance: mango yogurt popsicles, which can double as breakfast, particularly if you have two.
Mango Yogurt Pops
Blend everything in a blender until smooth. If you want chunks of fruit, only blend half or 3/4 of the mango until smooth, and then add in the rest of the mango and blitz once or twice. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid (a while, maybe overnight).
My popsicles have a tendency to stick in the mold. To unmold I run the popsicle under warm water for a minute.
* I was at my dad’s for most of the day yesterday, and they have practically NO FANS. I had to dig around in the basement for ONE fan. How did I never realize this before? Who lives like that? A little bit of air circulation really makes things so much better.