A pop a day keeps boredom away!

Archive for March, 2012

Day 90 — Strawberries & Cream Ice Pops

For today’s pop, I decided to have my cake and eat it too — healthy fruit, with a touch of decadence:

I have always liked the look of ombre fabric, so I decided to try to evoke that with this pop. I layered it, starting with pure strawberry puree and adding more sweetened cream with each layer, until I ended up with a final layer of just the cream. I made the layers 2 teaspoons each, but I probably could have made them larger to good effect.

As you can see, I ran into some technical difficulties with the early layers. The strawberry puree was really thick and didn’t want to pour smoothly. Next time, I will thin it out with some water.

These pops tasted great — just like strawberry ice cream.

And with that, I’m on spring break! See y’all on Easter.

Day 89 — Creme De Menthe Ice Pops

One final decorated pop for y’all today:

For this one, I used a basic chocolate pop. Then I melted about two tablespoons of mint chocolate chips in the microwave with about a teaspoon of coconut oil, and dipped. The resulting pop was surprisingly good. The shell was quite thick, with a nice, satisfying snap. And the color is so pretty! It just begs for more decorating experiments.

Day 88 — More fun with decorated ice pops

I’ve been playing with decorated ice pops again today. This time, I wanted to see if I could put a design around the outside of the pop:

These are some mint chocolate chips I found at Target. I decided to see if I could stick them on with water (I know I could use melted chocolate as “glue,” but right now I’m trying to test the boundaries of what water can do with ice pops).

I dipped each chip into a shallow bowl of water, then placed it on the ice pop (it’s the basic chocolate recipe). They stuck, but not instantly and not securely. I’d hoped to cover the pop completely with chips, for a spiky look, but water was definitely not the tool for that. As I started to take my photos of this pop, the chips started sliding off. I put it in the freezer to firm up for a few minutes and it helped a little. Still, as soon as I started eating the pop the chips began falling off. Guess the chocolate is really necessary.

And now, I need a little help from you. Next week is spring break, and I know I’m going to be very busy. I probably will still make a pop every day, but I am not at all confident that I will be able to post every day. I can pre-make some pops and set them to post daily, I can switch to an every-other-day schedule for the week, or I can take the week off. Those of you who are reading (and I know there are a few of you out there), leave me a comment and let me know your preference. Thanks!

Day 87 — Ice Pop Decorating Experiment

Today, I decided to have a little fun with making a decorated pop. I’d picked up a set of decorations a little while ago, and wanted to see if I could use them on an ice pop:

I decided to use the little nonpareils on the basic chocolate ice pop recipe. The challenge, of course, is getting them to stick to the ice pops. The logical way to do it would be to dip the pops into a magic shell mixture first, to provide the “glue,” but I wanted to see if it could be done without adding a chocolate layer.

As soon as I pulled the pop, I dipped it quickly into warm water, then immediately into a plate of the nonpareils. As you can see, it worked a little bit:

My plate was a little concave, so between that and the part of the Zoku stick that jutted out, even coverage was difficult. Still, anywhere that the pop could actually touch down on the nonpareils got a nice, thick coating.

I don’t think I’d recommend decorating pops this way for just plain eating, as the round sprinkles are too crunchy to really work on the pop. But for a look, they’re very nice.

Day 86 — Yogurt-Mango Ice Pops

Today, for the first time in a while, I made ice pops for the kids. They wanted something fruity and I felt like making something creamy, so:

Not pictured -- about a teaspoon of sugar

I thinned the yogurt (3 ounces worth) with about two tablespoons of the cream, and added a teaspoon of sugar just to take the edge off the yogurt’s tang. Then I poured the pops in two-tablespoon stripes. I wanted the pops to have three wide stripes, but for that two tablespoons turned out to be a little much, and the last stripe was narrower than the first two.

I really love these little bags of fruit purees. They’re really all fruit, but they taste great and make pop making ridiculously easy. They’re not even that much more expensive than buying bags of fruit. I usually pay between $3-5 for a 12-16 ounce bag of frozen fruit, and I can get these 3-ounce bags of puree for $1 each on sale or $1.25 normally. It’s well worth it to be able to use real fruit with no effort at all.

Day 85 — Clementine Ice Pops

I just can’t give up on the idea of an ice pop full of fruit. In my head, it looks like a mosaic — gorgeous, colorful chunks of fruit, frozen together by the barest minimum of juice. I know the practicalities of the Zoku make this nearly impossible, but I can’t stop myself from trying:

We’re in the midst of (what I hope will be) our last box of clementines before fresh seasonal fruit becomes available, so I decided to see how they’d do in an ice pop. I used orange juice for the base because I feel like I”ve been using way too much lemonade lately.

To make the pop, I cut each clementine segment into thirds, then used a chopstick to push them down into the mold. One is was fairly full, I poured in the orange juice.

As you can see, these pops don’t look like a mosaic. I still couldn’t get as much fruit into the mold as I’d hoped. In this case, that turned out to be a good thing, since while clementines taste really great frozen, they get too stringy and tough to make an enjoyable pop.

I know there must be a way to make beautiful fruit pops, and I will find it. I have over 250 more days to try, after all…

Day 84 — Strawberry Peach Ice Pops

Today’s pop is all about fruit. A while back, I’d mentioned the little bags of fruit purees I had found at the grocery store, and I decided to use a few today:

I chose peach and strawberry, and I wanted to get a nice, nearly-vertical dividing line. So I tilted my Zoku to as extreme an angle as I thought I safely could, and propped it up with a package of baby wipes (who need to buy special accessories when you can use any old junk you have on hand?)

Oh, that’s why:

Thick puree + poor technique + improvised tools = ugly pop. Still, it is a nice, tasty treat. And 100% fruit (no sugar), so quite healthy. So not a total failure.

Day 83 — Mango Lemonade Ice Pops

Just a simple pop today — I was in the grocery store when I spotted this:

As I am a sucker for new things, I had to try it.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while may have notice I use lemonade fairly frequently in my ice pops. That’s because we always have lemonade in the fridge. It started out as a pregnancy craving last summer, but unlike most pregnancy things, this one hasn’t gone away. (for those who may be concerned for the state of my blood sugar, I should note that I prefer my lemonade very diluted. I generally use a splash of lemonade in a 20-ounce cup of water. It’s not like I’m guzzling it straight).  Anyway, the Simply brand is my favorite because it uses real sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.

Anyway, as I said, I had to try the mango lemonade. And it is quite good, though it makes the already sweet lemonade almost throat-searingly sweet. Still, as an ice pop, it’s pretty terrific.  The cold tones down the sweetness considerably, and the flavor is something similar to lemonade and yet completely different.

Day 82 — Strawberry “Eye” Ice Pops

Today’s pop was made by my husband, since I zonked out on the sofa about 2.3 minutes after the kids fell asleep. This cold, or allergies, or whatever the heck is going on, took another turn for the worse today and I was just done. Faced with the prospect of a pop-less day, hubby stepped in and made one for me.

Hubby was very proud at his placement of the strawberries in the pop, and I must say I was impressed. He says he used a toothpick to nudge them into place, but I’m not sure how he managed to keep the berries from sticking to the tops of the molds and getting stuck.

Regardless, the pops looked cool:

Once again, Hubby has shown himself to be a great pinch hitter here. I’m so grateful to have the backup for days like today.

Day 81 — Creamy Mandarin-Pineapple Ice pops

Today’s pop was loosely inspired by ambrosia salad, one the my favorite childhood treats. It’s a concoction of pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, marshmallows and sour cream. Sounds disgusting, but if I recall correctly, the flavor more than lives up to its name.

Anyway, I’d bought a package of pineapple puree recently, and had been casting about for ideas on how to use it. Tonight, I happened to notice we had mandarin oranges in the pantry and decided to make a simplified version of an ambrosia ice pop (of course, this means that someday I will make a full-on ambrosia pop. Consider yourself warned.)

I used about half of the pineapple puree, about half of the 4-oz cup of mandarin oranges (drained) and a rough tablespoon of sour cream. I pureed everything together and poured. This recipe only made enough for two pops, so if you try this at home, adjust your amounts accordingly.

After I poured my pops, I tasted the leftover puree, and got worried. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was not good. The sour cream was too prominent, the oranges almost entirely missing. But what was done was done, so I decided to wait and see how the finished product turned out.

I”m glad I did. I don’t know why, but this pop tasted completely different frozen. The sour cream made this pop very similar to ice cream in texture, and added a dose of richness. The fruit was nicely balanced and not too sweet. Overall, a much more successful pop than I’d anticipated.

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