Frozen Treats, Upgraded

When I was a kid, popsicles were pretty much just sugar and food coloring in a plastic sleeve. You know, the kind where you cut off the top of the wrapper and suck the ice out of the wrapper, turning your tongue a crazy shade of purple or green? My mom would make us eat them outside because, inevitably, someone (my brother, I’m sure) would drop part of the popsicle all over the ground. Ahh, memories…

While our ice cream maker gets a workout regardless of the weather, I seem to forget about popsicles until summer rolls around. Which is a shame, especially when you consider how easy they are to make and how fast they’re ready to eat. Let’s be honest, patience has never been my greatest asset.

I’ve also discovered that popsicles can be so much more than frozen juice. You can use them as a vehicle for frozen versions of other desserts. I mean, key lime pie popsicles that mix up in minutes and are ready in just a few hours? That’s the perfect summer food, if you ask me.

I almost never have key limes on hand, so I used regular limes for the juice and zest, and things turned out just fine. I also didn’t measure the graham crackers, as three cups of crumbs sounded like a lot for 10 popsicles. Instead, I simply crushed a few crackers at a time, rolled the popsicles in the crumbs and crushed more as needed.

The final result was cool and refreshing, with the perfect combination of tart and sweet. Of course, they didn’t last long at our house, which probably means we’re due for another batch. 🙂

keylimepopsicles

Key Lime Pie Popsicles

3/4 cup of fresh lime juice, plus two teaspoons lime zest (I find that one lime yields enough zest, but it usually takes 4-5 limes for the juice, depending on how juicy they are.)
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of half-and-half
pinch of salt
crushed graham crackers for rolling (I used about 4 large crackers.)

In a large bowl (or a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup for easy pouring later), combine the lime juice and zest. Pour in the half-and-half and sweetened condensed milk. Add a pinch of salt and then whisk together until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Evenly divide the mixture among your popsicle molds.* Insert sticks into the mixture and freeze until frozen solid. Place the graham cracker crumbs in a shallow dish.

To remove the popsicles, dip the mold in lukewarm water for a few seconds and then gently pull from the mold.

After removing from the popsicles from the mold, lay each one in the graham cracker crumbs, pressing each side down into the crumbs to make sure they stick to the popsicle. Place popsicles on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and return them to the freezer. When the popsicles are completely solid again, place them in a zip-top bag for storage.

As seen on Smitten Kitchen,  originally from Paletas by Fanny Gerson

*I own this popsicle mold, and this particular recipe fills the entire thing, yielding 10 popsicles.

Click here for a printable version.

Worth the Splurge

For the most part, I’m a very practical person. I rarely succumb to impulse buys. (Unless I find a stellar deal on fruit or cheese. I make no promises then.) I opt for Keens over slip-ons when I’m sprinting through an airport. My purses always have a cross-body strap for easy schlepping. I’m opposed to uni-tasker items. (Except for my doughnut pan. Thanks, Emily!)

And then I caught the popsicle bug. I blame recipes like this, and this. Oh, and did I mention these? Let’s not even get started on things like this and this. And yet, I still didn’t buy a popsicle mold. I kept reading blogs, seeing recipe after delicious recipe, thinking to myself, “if only I had a popsicle mold…” So I did what any rational woman would do. I started dropping hints.

“Look at these popsicles! Don’t they look good?”

Crickets. I tried less subtle hints.

“If I had a popsicle mold, I could make things like PEANUT BUTTER PUDDING POPS.”

More silence. Have I mentioned that Andy is even more practical (and more opposed to single-use items cluttering our cupboards) than me? I moved on to the direct approach.

“I think I want a popsicle mold.”

“Well, if you think you’d actually use it, and you really want one…”

Sold! (Actually, it took me a little while to order one – I looked in various stores, including IKEA, and wasn’t happy with what I found. I ended up going with this one from Amazon, and I love it.) 

When the package arrived two days later (love that Prime shipping!), I asked Andy what recipe we should try first, and he said, “Fudgesicles.”

OK then. This chocolate girl can get on board with that, especially when the recipe comes from one of my favorite sources.

I doubled the recipe, since I knew that four popsicles would last about 10 minutes in our house. It’s ridiculously easy to put together, which is something that I’ve noticed about most popsicle recipes. They take about half the prep time that ice cream does, and they freeze A LOT faster. Win-win,if you ask me.

They’re also loaded with chocolate flavor, and somehow, are thick and fudgy enough where they don’t melt off the stick while you’re eating them. And while we’ve made several other popsicle flavors this summer, this is the one that’s on repeat most often in our kitchen. Let’s hear it for more impractical, uni-tasker items! 😉

Fudgesicles

Fudgesicles

4 tablespoons or 1 1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups whole milk
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly until they are smooth. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and milk to the melted chips. Increase the heat to medium and continue to the stir the mixture. Cook until the mixture has thickened, between 5 and 10 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter, stirring until the butter is melted. Let the mixture cool slightly before pouring it into the popsicle molds.

Insert the sticks into the popsicle molds and freeze until solid. Unmold the frozen popsicles and place in a freezer-safe container. (I fill the sink with several inches of warm water and then dip the popsicle mold into the water before unmolding each popsicle. Then, I place the popsicles in a single layer on a cookie sheet and refreeze them before putting them in a Ziploc bag.) 

From Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from On a Stick

Click here for a printable version.