I've had a lot of fun making homemade popsicles and ice pops this summer. From summertime favorites like homemade red, white, and blue Bomb Pops to crazy concoctions like Watermelon Cayenne Margarita, these sweet, frosty treats are fresh and delicious fun. You can go hi-tech, low tech, and no tech when it comes to popsicle making... and I've got ideas for all three.
FEW POPSICLE MAKING TIPS BEFORE YOU START
Make sure you read the directions on your popsicle molds or maker. I made the mistake of NOT reading them and ruined my first batch because I could not get the sticks in!
Use chilled ingredients. That helps the pops set up faster.
Leave a little room at the top of the mold because the liquids will expand when they begin to freeze and spill over unless you allow some room.
Anything with a high fat content like heavy cream or Half and Half tastes great- but won't set up as hard as whole milk will so use it in moderation or you will have a difficult time getting the pops to release from the mold.
I've found that it is difficult to use yogurt in the popsicle makers or popsicle molds because it is hard to get the pops to release in one piece. Either dilute the yogurt with a little milk until it becomes easy to pour or simply use a plastic cup for your mold when you want to use yogurt.
Fruit juice and tea will freeze very hard unless you dilute with a bit of water or add more sugar before freezing.
Fresh fruits freeze well and taste great. Puree the fruit and add a little agave nectar, simple syrup, or honey to sweeten. Artificial sweeteners don't freeze well for some reason. I like to use infused simple syrup- like mint or vanilla to make the fruits really exotic and full of flavor.
If you want to add soda to your pops, it's better to let them go flat first or you'll have lots of bubbles in the texture and they'll propably overflow in the freezing process.
Alcohol does not completely freeze. If you want to make adult versions of your pops, you'll need to dilute the liquor with some fruit juice or water. I recommend making the pops with very light liquor then serving the pops in a pretty glass with a shot of the chilled libation. Wait 'til you try it! Summer love!
HI-TECH POPS WITH THE ZOKU
Go hi-tech with this fantastic Zoku Ice Pop Maker... keep it in your freezer and make your pops in as little as 7 minutes. You can swirl colors, make layers, and do it all super fast. I made these Bomb Pops using red, white, and blue Gatorade which is a great idea for the kids after sports or a quick treat after working in the yard. It's even a great idea for those times when your kid is sick and needs hydration. When my mom was sick from Chemo, she loved it when I made popsicles or milk shakes for her. The pops make it easier to get fluid in them. Check out the wonderful colors, flavors, and recipes on the Zoku blog. They even have a book filled with fantastic ideas and recipes. I don't have the patience to do some of the complicated ones, I'll admit it. I have made their Pineapple Coconut recipe- and they turned out great. I really am in love with this new toy! You can find these and all of the accessories for them online, Williams-Sonoma and independent cook stores for about $50.
A tried and true way to make popsicles is to use a mold. We had them when I was a kid...sometimes we'd pour kool-aid into ice trays and freeze them for a cold treat in the Alabama heat. I really like this Nor-Pro mold. You can make ten pops at one time; all the same or mix and match flavors and colors. I really like the fresh fruit juice pops with a bit of the fruit pieces in it. They are so delicious and a healthy, low calorie treat. You can find these in stores where they have cooking and baking supplies. About $16 on Amazon.com
Now, this is probably the easiest way to throw some ice pops in the fridge. Fill small plastic or paper cups 2/3 full and freeze! You do have to wait about 30 mintues for them to set up a bit before you put the popsicle sticks in them. And it is best to put them on a tray or cake pan to keep them from turning over. To get the pops to release, just run them under warm water for a couple of seconds.
Here are links to some of my homemade popsicle and ice pop recipes. Some are for the kids and I also have some special recipes for the adults only. Try making these for your next pool party or Girls Night get together... some of my favorites include:
15 POPSICLES INCLUDING SMORES POPS
FRUITY SANGRIA POPS
WATERMELON MARGARITA POPS
POPSICLES AND PROSECCO
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE POPS
WILD BERRY POPS