A pop a day keeps boredom away!

Posts tagged ‘cautionary tales’

Day 195 — Gazpacho Ice Pops

Today’s pop is one I’ve been plotting since about 10 minutes after I got my Zoku. Gazpacho is one of my favorite summer treats, and I thought it’d be really great to have it extra-icy. So when I finally made my first batch of gazpacho for the season, I knew I had to make the pop.

I don’t have an ingredients shot, but gazpacho contains cucumbers, onions, garlic, green pepper, parsley, red wine vinegar, tomato juice, olive oil and salt. We use the recipe in the Joy of Cooking, with some minor tweaks.

I like my gazpacho pretty smooth, so I didn’t process it any further for these ice pops. That was probably a mistake, since pouring it into the Zoku was a little tough. It all worked out, though, and no problems with sticking:

The first half of this ice pop was delightful. Cold, intense, interesting. About halfway through, though, the garlic started catching up with me and the pop went from delicious to somewhat tedious. I didn’t finish it. Much as I love gazpacho, I guess it’s better off eaten from a spoon instead of a stick.

Day 158 — Funny Face Ice Pops

Back in April, while we were visiting California for spring break, I found the cutest little set of food cutters at an Asian market. They are meant, I think, for cutting nori to decorate bentos, but I thought they’d be great for decorating ice pops. Since then, I’ve just been waiting for the right time to try them out. Today was the right time.

I used plain old lemonade for the base, since I know how it freezes and because it’s a very neutral color. I thought peaches and/or strawberries would be fun to use for the faces. So I started to cut out tiny little eyes and mouths, and immediately learned two things:

1. Peaches are not the best “tool” for this job, and
2. Strawberries are even worse.

Both fruits were a little too soft and a little to delicate to cut well with these tiny cutters. Just look at the carnage:

Do you see many useable pieces in this mess? It’s almost as if there’s a reason the Zoku people always say to use apples to decorate ice pops.

Still, I was able to get enough good pieces of peach to make one little face (the strawberries were a completely lost cause). I arranged the face on my pie server and used that to stick it to the sides of the Zoku mold.

Then, forgetting that I had already removed its top, I picked up my bottle of lemonade and gave it a good shake.

10 minutes later, I had cleaned the sticky mess off the floor and was ready to proceed. The pop turned out cute, if a little hard to photograph:

In person, you can see that my little face is winking.

This pop was fun, if frustrating to make. The end result was cute enough that I am looking forward to trying more “funny face” ice pops in the future, but next time I’ll stick with apples or another very firm fruit.

Day 148 — Crystal Light Appletini Ice Pops

One of the things that the Zoku Pop Maker instruction manual warns against is using artificially sweetened liquids to make ice pops. Now, that’s not really a problem for me, as we generally avoid artificial sweeteners. But I received this in the mail a few days ago:

Now, if I’m drinking anything billed as a “‘tini,”, it had better have alcohol in it. There was little question of me actually drinking this stuff (at least, not without a shot or two of vodka). So I decided to risk making it into a popsicle.

I figured from my last experiment in breaking the Zoku rules that probably one of three things would happen with this pop. It could stick in the ice pop maker; it could come out but be too hard to eat, or it could be just fine.

Turns out it was door # 2:

I had a little trouble getting this pop out — the remover tool definitely had to work at it, and the first two tries I gave up for fear of forcing it and breaking the Zoku stick. But the third time I tried it, the pop slid right out of the mold.

Eating it, however, did not prove so easy. The ice pop came out extremely hard — eating it was more like gnawing on an ice cube. Tiny bits would snap off, but I couldn’t really bite it. Turns out sugar is kind of essential to making ice pops with a good texture.

Day 138 — Orange Strawberry Ice Pops

Strawberry season is rapidly drawing to a close around here, so I’m still trying to enjoy as many of them as I can before they’re gone. And more strawberries for me means more strawberry ice pops for you:

Strawberry and orange isn’t a flavor combination that you see often, but I thought it was interesting enough to give it a try. I sliced the strawberry into circles in order to be able to fit more into the mold (It made sense in my head), and because I thought they’d be prettier that way. Seeing how it came out, I kind of wish I’d thought to to cut notches into the strawberry slices, to make little hearts. That would have been really cute. But still, the pop came out really pretty:

Though the pop was pretty, it wasn’t very good. It was just…too much. Too sweet, too tart, too everything. The strawberry and the orange flavors did each other no favors, obliterating the unique flavors of each and replacing it with a generic but overwhelming tartness. This is one combination I probably won’t try again.

Day 133 – Orange “Mousse” Ice Pops

When I was a kid, I thought Cool Whip was the end-all, be-all of dessert ingredients.  I wished we could have that on our ice cream rather than the boring homemade whipped cream my dad always insisted on making (I also adored iced tea made from powdered mix and far preferred potato buds to the real thing.  I was a strange kid).  And I was completely fascinated by desserts that combined Cool Whip and Jello.  I don’t recall ever having tasted a magic jello parfait (where plain Jello is layered with a Cool Whip/Jello mixture), but they looked pretty in the ads, and I was sure they’d be fabulous.
I still have never had one of those parfaits, but I thought it’d be fun to make an ice pop in that spirit:

Orange Jello was always my favorite.

I mixed the Jello mix with the hot water it called for, then poured 2-3 tablespoons of it over about 1/4 cup of thawed cool whip.  I added cold water to the remaining Jello and poured that as my first ice pop layer. Once that froze, I poured in the creamy mixture.  I was a little concerned that it would not freeze hard enough with the Cool Whip, but I hoped that the plain layer would anchor the ice pop sticks and allow me to unmold the pops.  I also made one plain Jello ice pop, as insurance.

The layered pops came out just fine, but to my shock, this is what happened when I tried to unmold the plain pop:

I don’t know what happened here, I think maybe there was some ice gathered in the bottom of my Zoku.  I have never had a “normal” pop stick before.  But at least the layered pops are pretty:

The mousse layer was really soft — I definitely would not make an entire pop out of it, because there’s no way they’d come out of the molds intact.  But as a layer, they’re really nice.  And they tasted just as good as my childhood cravings had imagined.

Day 120 — Beer Ice Pops

Today’s pop seemed like such a good idea at the time. I mean, if a cold beer is a good thing, then a really, really cold beer should be great, right? So:

My husband was in charge of making this pop, and he said it didn’t go well. The first one he poured foamed a ton. The second one foamed less, but the expanded well above the edge of the mold. Either way, it was messy:

Interestingly, these pops were the first ones we’ve ever been able to remove from the Zoku without using the remover tool. They just pulled right out of the molds.

I didn’t try these pops, because I really don’t like beer. Husband tried them, though, and said they were quite bad. The finished ice pops were bitter, apparently because they were made with a very hoppy beer. Apparently, a less hoppy beer (such as a lager, or Guiness) might be a better choice.

Still, beer ice pops just didn’t live up to the idea.  I think husband will stick to drinking his beer from a glass.

Day 111 — Arnold Palmer Ice Pops

The Arnold Palmer is my favorite beverage for a summer afternoon. Not too sweet (at least, not the way I drink it), nice and cold, and just the right amount of caffeine. So there was no doubt I’d be making it into an ice pop.

Some people also add mint and/or simple syrup. I'm too lazy for that (though I totally wouldn't put it past me to make one of these with mint at some point and pass it off as a "new" pop).

Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and so I decided to make this a core pop, rather than just mixing the lemonade and tea and freezing the mixture.

Because my tea was unsweetened, I made it the inner layer of the pop. I let them lemonade freeze rather longer than I would have if I were making a regular core pop, because I wanted the two flavors to be in rough balance.

The inside view.

Turns out, by making this a core pop, I was too clever by half. The lemonade layer was nice, with the soft, bitable texture I’ve come to expect from my Zoku pops. The tea layer was hard. Really, really hard. Like ice, actually.

I know, right? Who’d have thought? Turns out the injunction against freezing unsweetened liquids in the Zoku isn’t just about the possibility of the pops sticking (more on that tomorrow). It’s about the totally inedible texture of the resulting pops.

Next time, I’ll keep it simple.

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