From fudgsicles and strawberry shortcake bars to paletas and granita, there are so many frozen snacks to munch on come hot summer days. While each is super satisfying in its own way, whether that be with rich chocolate or fruit flavors or a bit of tang from something more acidic like mango or lime, summer popsicles become even better after the purchase of a plastic popsicle tray and a few wooden sticks.
Making your own popsicles is as easy as picking your preferred flavor profile, playing chemist with ingredients and mixing bowl, and allowing the pops a few good hours in the freezer to harden up.
For great recommendations on popsicle brands around the country, check out our article on gourmet ice pops, “Summer’s Last Licks.”
Read on for our simple guide to making pops and a trusted What’s Cookin’ recipe.
Photo courtesy of 3liz4 via Flickr/cc
Step 1: Select Your Fruits and Juices
When picking a fruit puree or juice, it is important to strain before pouring into any ice pop molds. This step ensures a uniform freeze and smoother texture come ice pop licking time.
Step 2: Pour Into Molds
Depending on the flavor profile of your pop, you might have whole fruit pieces or different layers of flavor going into your mold. To layer, simply pour the heavier puree of fruit into the mold first. To add whole fruits like berries or banana slices, fill the mold with your puree and then drop in pieces.
Step 3: Freeze
After inserting your popsicle sticks, your pops will need a good freeze in the freezer. Depending on your chosen ingredients this will take more or less time, with water-based pops freezing faster and milk-based pops needing a little longer.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Ensure your pops are ready by wiggling them a bit in the molds. They should pull apart from the edges of the mold easily but without oozing any liquid. You’ll love the slightly crystallized crunch as your ready-to-eat pop slides out of the mold.
Looking for a great ice pop recipe? Try this take on the classic mojito.
Recipe courtesy WhatsCook.in via Fine Cooking
2 10-ounce bags frozen fruit pieces
2 cups sparkling water
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup sugar
Measure the sugar into a food processor. Add the mint and pulse until the mint is finely chopped. Scrape the sugar into a large bowl and add the lime juice and sparkling water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Divide the frozen fruit pieces among 20 ice pop molds, then fill with the lime mixture, leaving about 1/4-inch head space for expansion. Secure the lids, insert the sticks through the holes, making sure that they're straight and that 1-1/2 to 2 inches remains exposed (for easy grasping). Slide the molds into the freezer.
When the ice pops are firmly set (this will take a couple of hours in most freezers) they're ready to serve. Remove the lids from the molds, then either squeeze the sides of each mold to free the pops or run the mold under warm water to release them.