I’m a huge fan of Locopops, and when I read Andrea Weigl’s recent story on ice pops, I decided it was time to make some myself. It’s not that the $2 price tag of a Locopops is breaking the home bank, but I recognized that these frozen treats are fun to eat, easy to make, and can be very inexpensive.
And it all started with some forgotten peaches.
I had purchased some peaches for my 13 year old daughter, a peach fanatic if there ever was one. But she went off to camp, and we had a handful of slightly overripe peaches sitting in a brown paper bag. I simply peeled them, dropped the chunks into a blender with some sugar and fresh lemon juice, and whizzed away. I poured the puree into an ice cube tray, wrapped with plastic wrap, and inserted toothpicks. I figured, “OK, it’s mostly fruit, so this should be pretty decent.”
It was much, much better than decent. It was perfect. The flavors of the fruit were enhanced by the sugar and lemon and, I do believe, the freezing process. This was a funny looking pop, for sure, but it inspired me for something better. Something more like a real pop.
So off to Crossroads Plaza I headed searching for pop molds. I found a funny looking rocket mold at Bed Bath & Beyond, but it was about 10 bucks for a mold of 4 pops. No dice at the crafts stores. Target was my final hope, and they had some respectable looking star shaped molds for $3.95 (here they are at Amazon for 2 bucks more). Not what I really wanted, but I had to have something that day. I had to feed my need. I was NOT going to wait to get the perfect molds through mail order. So I bought 3 molds, each of which makes 4 pops. These molds had plastic sticks/caps, which are a complete waste. More on that later.
So my next adventure was with some blackberries I picked up at the Durham Farmers Market. To a pint of berries I added some vanilla yougurt, a bit of cream, about 3 tablespoons of sugar, lemon juice and fresh mint. After pureeing in the blender, I strained out the seeds and filled my molds, using the plastic stick/cap thing-a-ma-bobs.
That only made 8 pops, so I took some leftover dark chocolate pudding that Phoebe Lawless had brought a couple days earlier, combined it with some whipped cream, and filled four more molds.
The pops froze in a few hours, and after running them under hot water for a few seconds, they came out of their molds nicely. The blackberry mint cream was divine. So much fruit. So much flavor, with just a tinge of mint. This was an absolutely perfect ice pop, as good as — no, better — than Locopops. Except for the damn stick. The design of this stick/cap prevented you from eating the bottom third of the pop, as the cap got in the way. I had to get a spoon and put the remnants in a bowl. So the plastic stick/cap was to be eliminated from the process in favor of good old-fashioned popsicle sticks. I got 1,000 sticks for 4 bucks at Michael’s, so these things are cheap.
My next batch was blueberry lime mint. Pretty much the same format: Into a blender goes the fruit, some lime juice, sugar, fresh mint, and some water. Blend. Strain. Put in molds. I then wrapped the molds with plastic wrap, made a slight hole in the top over each mold, and inserted my wood popsicle stick.
Oh, this was so much better. Easier to eat and handle. Less chance for a mess. And the flavor? Better than Locopops, of course.
Last night was pineapple mint (yes, I have a TON of mint, but when it’s fresh and free, why not?). I need to try one at lunch, as it looks mighty tasty.
And those chocolate pudding pops? Shhh. No one else in the house had a chance even to try them.