Popsicles!

Back in the day, when I was a kid, we used to wait for the ice cream truck to come driving slowly down our street, its jingling bell calling to one and all. I used to stand, my allowance clutched in my hand, until it reached a stopping point close enough to home that I was allowed to run to it. My favorite frozen treat in those days was (and still is) popsicles. I like the fruit flavors, the orange Dreamsicles and the Fudgsicles. I still do.

But what happened when the ice cream truck didn’t show or I had spent all my allowance? I mixed up a batch of Kool-Aid and froze it in Dixie cups. When it froze solid, I would start at the rim and carefully peel off the paper: ta-da! a popsicle without a stick, in its own holder.

All that was before I became a chef, learned about nutrition, became a mom and before today’s handy plastic molds for homemade popsicles had been invented.

Today my kids love these frozen snacks in mid summer, but I make sure that they get the most nutritional, preservative- and chemical-free version I could create.

But make no mistake: My frozen Popslickles are absolutely delicious. You can make them, as I do, in Dixie cups, 7-ounce cold drink or the smaller 3.3-ounce cup size. Set the filled cups on a 9 x 12-inch pan in the freezer and freeze until solid, 6 hours or overnight. Or, of course, if you have molds, then use them.

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The tiny pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon or less) helps accentuate flavors.  Then when ready to eat, simply cut then peel off the excess cup to expose the pop.

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There’s 5 different popslickles that my family loves.  The first is Strawberry Popslickle. A variation of this is a granita. Peel off paper entirely and place Strawberry Popslickle in a bowl. Let soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes (depending on how hot the room is), and then smash down vertically with the tines of a fork. Eat granita with a spoon.

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Strawberry Popslickles

Yield: 5 (3-plus-ounce) frozen pops

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (about 1 quart) ripe strawberries, hulled, chopped
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in the work bowl of a large-capacity blender or food processor. Process until sugar is dissolved and fruit is completely pureed, scraping down sides as necessary.
  2. Divide strawberry mixture equally among 5 Dixie cups. Set cups on 9 x 12-inch metal tray in freezer and freeze solid, 6 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to eat, make a short vertical snip with scissors on opposite sides of cup top. Carefully peel off. Then continue to carefully peel paper to expose the frozen pop. Eat from the top down.
  4. Variation: For granita, peel off paper entirely and place Mango Popslickle in a bowl. Let soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes (depending on how hot the room is), and then smash down vertically with the tines of a fork. Eat granita with a spoon.
http://gffamilyfood.com/recipes/popsicles/

Next comes Mango Popslickles. My daughter Sarah is absolutely mad for mangoes. So I buy them by the carton and use them, peeled and sliced, for eating out of hand, for salads, salsas, drinks, desserts and, of course, popslickles.

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One tip I’ve learned about slicing mangoes is to slice away from seed, place mango, narrow side down, on cutting board and slice down close to seed on each side. The remaining center will contain the seed and the flesh can be cut away using a paring knife.

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Mango Popslickles

Yield: About 7 (3-plus-ounce) frozen pops

Mango Popslickles

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ripe mangoes (about 2 to 3 large), peeled, seeded, chopped (about 1 quart chopped)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in the work bowl of a large-capacity blender or food processor. Process until sugar is dissolved and fruit is completely pureed, scraping down sides as necessary.
  2. Divide mango mixture equally among 7 Dixie cups. Set cups on 9 x 12-inch metal tray in freezer and freeze solid, 6 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to eat, make a short vertical snip with scissors on opposite sides of cup top. Carefully peel off. Then continue to carefully peel paper to expose the frozen pop. Eat from the top down.
  4. Variation: For granita, peel off paper entirely and place Mango Popslickle in a bowl. Let soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes (depending on how hot the room is), and then smash down vertically with the tines of a fork. Eat granita with a spoon.
http://gffamilyfood.com/recipes/popsicles/

The Creamy Orangeslickles call for heavy cream, but in our house we use any non-dairy beverage.

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Creamy Orangeslickles

Yield: 7 (3-plus-ounce) frozen pops

Ingredients

  • 1 (6-ounce) can frozen unsweetened orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 cups heavy cream, or non-dairy creamer (such as Silk), or non-dairy beverage such as coconut Dream or almond milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in the work bowl of a large-capacity blender or food processor. Process until sugar is dissolved and mixture is completely pureed, scraping down sides as necessary.
  2. Divide orange mixture equally among 7 Dixie cups. Set cups on 9 x 12-inch metal tray in freezer and freeze solid, 6 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to eat, make a short vertical snip with scissors on opposite sides of cup top. Carefully peel off. Then continue to carefully peel paper to expose the frozen pop. Eat from the top down.
  4. Variation: For granita, peel off paper entirely and place Orangeslickle in a bowl. Let soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes (depending on how hot the room is), and then smash down vertically with the tines of a fork. Eat granita with a spoon.
http://gffamilyfood.com/recipes/popsicles/

Some of my family members, adults as well as kids (no names, you know who you are!) are chocoholics. Anything chocolate makes them happy. So I created this very chocolaty frozen pop in their honor.

The fudgeslickles also call for whole milk, but again we use any non-dairy milk that’s in the house.

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The key to this recipe is cool the mixture after it’s brought to a boil.  This is done by placing the mixture in a larger bowl and surrounding with ice cubes.

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Fudgeslickles

Yield: 5 (3-plus-ounce) frozen pops

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1½ cup whole milk, or non-dairy beverage such as coconut dream, almond milk or rice milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a 1-quart saucepan whisk cocoa, sugar and salt to mix well.
  2. Add ¼ cup of the milk and whisk to make a very smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk.
  3. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Be careful not to burn.
  4. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir to mix.
  5. Place pan in a larger bowl and surround with ice cubes. Stir until mixture is cool, below room temperature.
  6. Divide chocolate mixture equally among 5 Dixie cups. Set cups on 9 x 12-inch metal tray in freezer and freeze solid, 6 hours or overnight.
  7. When ready to eat, make a short vertical snip with scissors on opposite sides of cup top. Carefully peel off. Then continue to carefully peel paper to expose the frozen pop. Eat from the top down.
  8. Variation: For granita, peel off paper entirely and place Fudgeslickle in a bowl. Let soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes (depending on how hot the room is), and then smash down vertically with the tines of a fork. Eat granita with a spoon.
http://gffamilyfood.com/recipes/popsicles/

Last, but not least are Frozen Pudding Pops. These are something I never enjoyed growing up, but I created the recipe for my kids. It’s the most complex recipe of all the popslickles but a very special treat!

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Frozen Pudding Pops

Yield: 6 (3-plus-ounce) frozen pops

Frozen Pudding Pops

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided, or non-dairy beverage such as coconut dream, almond milk or rice milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 whole ripe strawberries, hulled, sliced into 1/8-inch thick round slices, optional garnish

Instructions

  1. In a 1-quart pan, combine tapioca starch, sugar and salt. Whisk well to mix. Add ¼ cup of the milk and whisk to make a very smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk and the beaten egg.
  2. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes very thick. (For food safety the temperature measured on an instant read thermometer must be at least 160°F to ensure the egg is cooked.) Be careful not to burn.
  3. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir to mix.
  4. Place pan in a larger bowl and surround with ice cubes. Stir until mixture is cool, below room temperature.
  5. Divide mixture equally among 6 Dixie cups, smoothing tops and gently tapping cup bottoms against countertop to remove air bubbles. If desired, place one strawberry slice on top of each. Set cups on 9 x 12-inch metal tray in freezer and freeze solid, 6 hours or overnight.
  6. Variation: For vanilla pudding, divide cooled pudding mixture equally among 4 bowls. Place plastic wrap directly on top of pudding. Refrigerate until chilled.
http://gffamilyfood.com/recipes/popsicles/

There’s nothing more refreshing this time of the year.  So get in that kitchen and start cooking!  You and your kids will thank you.  Then tell me, what’s your favorite popslickle?

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