A pop a day keeps boredom away!

Archive for January, 2012

Day 31 — Mango Lime Ice Pops

When I bought several limes at the grocery store this weekend, it was with the idea of making at least three lime-based pops this week. Yesterday’s debacle put an end to that idea, but I did still have one lime left. I also had a very ripe mango sitting around, and so a pop was born:

It started out so simple...

The original idea was to have a two-ingredient pop. Lime, mango and nothing else. But I think these were maybe atomic limes or something. The juice from every one I bought was sour to the point of effervescence. The lime juice easily overpowered the mango, so I tried to tweak the recipe to calm things down.

Sugar didn’t do it. Milk didn’t do it. Yogurt didn’t do it. I finally gave up and froze what I had:

These pops were…not good. They had no real flavor at all, just that fizzy tartness. Still, they looked nice and both kids ate them happily. Which leads me to believe that these children will eat anything I freeze into a popsicle. Don’t worry, I promise never to post a grilled chicken pop.

Day 30 — Coconut Lime Ice Pops

It seems like every time I go to the store, there’s a new “milk” product out on the shelves. First it was soy milk, of course, then almond milk. A few months ago, coconut milk started showing up. I guess it was inevitable that someday someone would combine a few of them. So when I saw almond-coconut milk, I decided it was worth a shot. And it seemed like a good base for a tropical-ish pop:

you put the lime in the coconut...

For my first attempt at this pop, I mixed the juice of one lime into about 6 ounces of the almond-coconut milk. This is what happened:

Oh. Huh. Ew.

As Alton Brown would say, definitely not good eats.

For attempt #2, I needed something to make the lime mix into the coconut milk without curdling it. I had 2 ounces of sweetened condensed milk left over from last week’s lemon pops, so I decided to see if that would work. I ended up using the whole two ounces, another lime’s worth of juice, and 6 ounces of the coconut-almond milk (and a few drops of green food coloring to accentuate the “lime” look of the pops). The sweetness of the condensed milk worked, and this time it didn’t curdle.

The finished pops were great. The lime was nice and tangy, but the coconut flavor managed to shine through. I couldn’t taste any of the almond flavor, but frankly I couldn’t taste it in the plain milk when I tried it, either.

Forgive the wonky light in the photo. It was a really sunny afternoon.

You can’t really see it in the photo, but I also tried to put a slice of lime on the side of one of the pops.  Not only didn’t it work (citrus slices are really hard to get into the molds without making a mess), but the plain lime tasted way too sour.  Do not try it at home.

Day 29 — Minted Lemonade Ice Pops

Here in my corner of the South, we have had a very mild winter. I think maybe the temperature has dropped below freezing once, possibly twice. But overall, the days have been mild and this past week has been downright springy.

It’s not a surprise, then, that the patch of mint in my backyard has been thriving all winter. My eldest child likes to go back there and play garden and yesterday she presented me with a big batch of mint she’d picked. I hated to see it go to waste, so:

You'd think I could at least make my own lemonade. You'd think wrong.

I guess I could have made the lemonade from scratch to make this more like a recipe, but I’ve made lemonade before. Believe me, the bottled stuff tastes just as good (and this brand has none of that dietary boogeyman, high fructose corn syrup). I figured there was no need to complicate things.

Anyway, I wanted to infuse the pops with mint flavor, but I didn’t want to be chewing on mint leaves while eating my ice pop. So I muddled the mint with a little of the lemonade, then put the resulting mush into a tea strainer ball and dropped it into my cup of lemonade.

Ideally, I would have let the mixture steep for a good while. However, I was in a hurry and poured my ice pops after only about 5 minutes of steeping.

The finished pops had a very mild mint flavor, barely a hint. But they were cool and icy and very springy.

This was one of those days where decorating the pops would have been interesting, but to the detriment of the pops’ taste. I think it would have looked lovely if I’d have stuck some of the mint leaves to the sides of the molds. But nothing about the idea of chewing on frozen leaves was appealing, so I chose function over form. Makes for a dull photo, I know.

I’m really excited about the pops I have planned for the coming week. I have a few different lime-based recipes on tap, plus an ice-cream inspired flavor and I think maybe one candy-based pop. So stay tuned!

Day 28 — Basic Vanilla Ice Pop Recipe

Today’s pop is not technically a finished product, but rather a first step in the process of developing a recipe (basic though it may be). Specifically, I set out today to develop a good vanilla “base” recipe, to be used as a jumping-off point for various decorations and mix-ins. I want it to be delicious, and I want it to contain the least amount of sugar and fat necessary for a creamy and delicious ice pop.

I started with the very basic ingredients:

Milk, cream, sugar, vanilla extract

I used the same 1:1 ratio of milk and half & half that I’d used with in my basic chocolate pop recipe; 3 ounces of each to make 3 pops. To this I added 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Since ice pops are now a daily treat in my house, I tried to start at the lower end of the scale for amounts of cream and sugar. figure that I can add more in small increments until I find the ideal ratios.

I think I got the amount of vanilla extract right, but I need either a higher ratio of cream or more sugar in this recipe. While the pops tasted good (and plenty sweet), I was not crazy about the texture. They were just icy enough to have an almost unpleasantly squeaky mouth feel. They’re not bad, they’re just not the home run that the chocolate recipe was.

Day 27 — Oreo Cheesecake Ice Pops

Cookies and cream is one of those classic flavors that’s a natural for ice pops. Frankly, the only reason I haven’t made them long before this is that I kept forgetting to buy Oreos.

I finally remembered to buy Oreos yesterday, so today was the day to give them a spin. I didn’t make plain cookies & cream, though — that will have to be another day. Instead, I used the leftover cheesecake pudding from the other day, thinned out with milk.

These pops were nice. I think a regular vanilla cream base would be better, and I’m looking forward to trying that out.

Day 26 — Iced Coffee & Cream Ice Pops

Today was one of those days when there’s simply not enough coffee in the world to wake me up (the baby thought midnight-2:30 was a perfectly reasonable time to be awake). Sadly, I didn’t have time to drink all that coffee, so I ended up with half a pot sitting around. I also had some sweetened condensed milk left over from the lemon bar pops, so I took a page from the Pioneer Woman’s handbook and made iced coffee pops.  I experimented with the ratios of coffee and milk to get a slightly layered look on one of the pops.

Just what the doctor ordered today.

These were simple, sweet, and exactly what I needed today. Tomorrow will (probably) be more interesting — Kerry’s Oreo suggestion is in the works.

 

Day 25 — Creamy Berry Ice Pops

For the first time in days, I made ice pops for the kids today. As is usually the case when I make pops for the kids, I wanted to go with something fruit based and reasonably healthy. I decided to do a yogurt-and-berry pop:

Yogurt, berries, honey. How did I not notice the mess on the counter while I was taking this photo?

This pop took a little bit more prep work than most — I needed to puree each of the three berries with a little yogurt and a squirt of honey (I didn’t take a photo, but I ended up also adding a generous splash of milk to each berry mixture to make them thinner). But I wanted the pops striped, rather than just mixing all of the berries together.

Anyway, the extra time was worth it.  The finished pops were gorgeous. Believe me when I tell you that the photos don’t even come close to doing them justice:

Objects in the photo may be more beautiful than they appear.

Foe once, the thickness of my pop base was an asset, rather than a liability, because this color combination lent itself well to uneven, slightly slanted stripes.  I didn’t do anything to get them that way; the base just didn’t flow into even layers when I poured.   The effect was reminiscent of a sunset or, as my husband put it, very Arizona.

Oooohhh. Aaaahhhh.

These were pure pleasure to eat. They were just so pretty that it made me smile every time I took a bite. They also tasted pretty good, with each berry having a distinct flavor but also working as part of a whole. They were a good reminder that healthy foods can feel decadent, too.

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