Sorry, y’all, for skipping yesterday. I have no real excuse except that we’re in the final days of a really fun, really busy vacation and I spent yesterday hanging out with my family rather than making an ice pop.
Plus also, I really wanted to make another stab at red, white and blue ice pops, but I kept forgetting to borrow or buy food coloring. It wasn’t until today that I managed to pick some up.
Generally, I object to using food coloring unless it’s absolutely necessary. I figure there’s enough fake stuff in the rest of the foods we eat that I don’t need to make more. But I tried these pops with fruit juice and the colors just weren’t right. They needed a little artificiality.
I used all lemonade for these popsicles. For each of the layers I used two ounces (distributed among three ice pop molds). I used one drop of blue food coloring in the blue layer, and two drops of red in the red layer.
They came out beautiful; almost nice enough to overcome my objection to using artificial colors in an ice pop:
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.
Before I got my Zoku, I used to buy my kids Popsicles. I like the brand because they sell the most brilliant ice pops for kids — tiny little guys that melt more slowly than regular popsicles. The “secret ingredient” that apparently makes them slow-melt is gelatin.
Today, I decided to try to make Jello pops, to see if they’d work the same way:
Don't be intimidated by the incredibly complex ingredient list.
To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Jello. I have fond memories of making (and liking) it as a kid, but as an adult, it just reminds me of being in the hospital. But most of that has to do with the peculiar texture, so I hoped an ice pop would have fewer hospital associations.
I made the Jello according to the package directions, then poured it directly into the molds. It took a long time to freeze; I assume because the Jello was still warm when I poured it. Then, once it was frozen, it felt so soft that I was worried the pops wouldn’t unmold, but they did come out ok:
These turned out to be really fun pops. They tasted almost exactly like Popsicles to me. Even the texture resembled commercially-made pops (no surprise, I guess, because Jello is basically sugar and gelatin mixed with a bunch of artificial flavors and colors). They’re not a healthy choice, but I can see them as an occasional treat for me and the kids, especially in the summer.
I ate my pop pretty quickly, so I don’t know yet if they are slow-melt pops. I plan to give the others to the kids tomorrow, so we’ll see then.
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.
As I was flipping through the Zoku Ice Pops book the other day, one thing that caught my eye was a recipe for peanut butter quick shell — a peanut butter coating that hardens upon contact with the ice pops. The secret ingredient is coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature and is therefore responsible for the hardening. I had to try it.
Basic chocolate recipe components, plus peanut butter and the magic ingredient.
The book says to use a double boiler to melt together equal parts peanut butter and coconut oil. Since I’m lazy and I already knew I wanted to drizzle the topping onto my pops (rather than dip them), I chose to melt the peanut butter and the coconut oil directly in the sandwich bag that I meant to use as my drizzling tool. For roughly a tablespoon of each ingredient, I microwaved for 20 seconds on high, then I squished it around in the bag until it was well mixed.
Once my pops were frozen, I snipped a tiny corner off of the sandwich bag (and I do mean tiny — the shell mixture is very liquid and flows quickly, so a small opening is key). Then I just drizzled to my heart’s content:
Guess which pop I ate?
I’m really happy with these pops. The coconut oil didn’t seem to alter the taste of the peanut butter much (if at all), so it offered a slightly salty counterpoint to the sweet chocolate pops. Plus, they felt quite delicious and decadent. I can’t wait to try more flavor combinations.
But first, one more view:
For a few years in there, my eldest daughter’s favorite flavor of ice cream (aside from “pink”) was mint chocolate chip, and so I made today’s pops with her in mind:
I used a modified version of my vanilla base recipe — 3 ounces each milk and half & half and a scant tablespoon of sugar. To this I added approximately 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract and two drops of green food coloring. The coloring is not, of course, strictly necessary. But white pops are boring to look at, so I decided to tint them green.
If truth be told, I hadn’t meant to put as much mint extract in these pops as I did. I really only wanted to put in a drop or two, but somehow I managed to get distracted just as I was pouring the extract and much more ended up in the base than I’d intended. And a good thing, too, because these pops were perfectly minty. The chocolate chips served as a great counterbalance to the mint flavor and hep it from being overpowering. As a result, these pops tasted great.
If I have one issue with these pops, it’s that I should have used a better ratio of cream to milk. While the pops tasted creamy enough, they had a very icy, squeaky consistency. It wasn’t a huge problem, but it wasn’t very pleasant, either.
Overall, these were fun, refreshing pops. I think my daughter will love hers.
Today was a better day then yesterday, so I had the time and energy to make a more ambitious pop. Specifically, Orange Cream pops, a childhood favorite.
OJ, cream, sugar, vanilla. Triscuts are not among the ingredients. I just forgot to put them away.
I used all cream instead of a cream/milk mixture because honestly? We’d just finished our last bit of milk and I was too lazy to open the next carton. I think a mixture would be fine, though I’d use more cream than milk. This pop needs the texture.
Since I was only making one pop (we have a backlog here), I used 1.5 ounces of cream, a healthy splash of vanilla (probably a little less than a teaspoon) and a heaping teaspoon of sugar, though not all of it dissolved and made it into the pop.
The technique was the same as yesterday: pour, pause, suck, pour, wait. It all went smoothly.
When I was a kid, I liked to eat my creamcicles by carefully biting off the orange layer and eating the cream part last. I was delighted to see I could kind of do the same thing with this pop, though not as neatly or completely.
Once again, I had difficulty getting a good shot of the pop’s inside. I really need to figure out the macro function on my camera. In the meantime, here are the best shots I could muster:
These pops tasted great, and they evoked pleasant childhood memories. I was glad I used a lot of vanilla, because it was necessary to allow the cream center stand apart from the outside of the pop.