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Popsicles beat the heat

J.B. Forbes/TNS
From left, Root Beer Float Popsicle, Cantaloupe Popsicle and Roasted Strawberries and Cream Popsicle.

It’s summer, and the sun is relentless, merciless, heartless. The air hangs heavy. Your shirt sticks to your back. Beads of sweat threaten to drip into your eyes.

Air conditioning won’t help, and neither will a dip in a pool. Those cool you from the outside in, and you are so overheated you can only find sweet relief from the inside out.

You need a Popsicle.

You can buy them at the store – that’s Popsicle with a capital P – and they are perfectly fine and you know exactly what you are getting. Or you can make a popsicle – with a lower-case p – yourself and have something really exciting.

They are easy to make, and fast; after all, all you’re doing is freezing some juice and sliding a stick into it. And when you make them yourself, you can add some yogurt or milk to give them an extra flavor boost.

They are also inexpensive, although that depends on the kind of mold you use. You can get popsicle molds from a dollar store for a buck, or you can pick them up at one of those fancy places for a 15 times that. And your results will be every bit as good if you just use paper cups, which are practically free.

I got perhaps more ambitious than I should and decided to make six different types of popsicles. That’s the problem with popsicles – they’re all just so incredibly tempting.

On a hot summer day, could anything be better?

ROOT BEER FLOAT POPSICLES

Yield: 6 servings

12 ounces root beer

1½ cups vanilla ice cream

Pour a small amount of root beer into each mold. Evenly distribute the ice cream between the molds. Pour root beer into molds in small amounts, allowing the foam to die back before pouring more to fill molds to the top.

If necessary, place foil over top of molds and insert sticks (foil will keep the sticks in place and at the right depth). Freeze several hours until fully frozen. Run molds under hot water for a few seconds to remove popsicles.

PER SERVING: 94 calories; 4 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 14 g carbohydrate; 14 g sugar; no fiber; 35 mg sodium; 46 mg calcium

– Recipe from boulderlocavore.com

ROASTED STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM POPSICLES

Yield: 6 servings

1 pound strawberries, stems removed and sliced in half

2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, optional

½ cup pure maple syrup or honey, divided

1½ cups whole milk, half-and-half, light cream, heavy cream or coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Small pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the strawberry halves in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar, if using. Roast until the strawberries are soft and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a bowl (including juices) and let cool to room temperature.

Add the roasted strawberries, their juice and ¼ cup of the maple syrup to a food processor or blender, and pulse a few times to combine. The mixture should still be a bit chunky, with small bites of fruit throughout.

In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk and the remaining ¼ cup maple syrup. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

For blended popsicles: Add the cream mixture to the food processor blender and pulse until just combined.

For layered or swirled popsicles: Spoon a tablespoon or two of the strawberry mixture into the bottom of each popsicle mold. Top with a bit of cream, and continue layering until all the molds are evenly filled (it may help to let the strawberry mixture slide down the side of the mold, which will allow it to stay in place).

If necessary, place foil over top of molds and insert sticks (foil will keep the sticks in place and at the right depth). Freeze at least 4 hours until fully frozen. Run molds under hot water for a few seconds to remove popsicles.

PER SERVING (using whole milk): 137 calories; 2 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 6 mg cholesterol; 2 g protein; 27 g carbohydrate; 26 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 58 mg sodium; 109 mg calcium

– Adapted from stylemepretty.com

CANTALOUPE POPSICLES

Yield: 6 servings

½ cantaloupe, seeded, peeled and diced

1/3 cup whole milk, light cream or heavy cream

2 tablespoons or more superfine sugar, see note

Note: To make superfine sugar, place granulated sugar in a blender and process on high for 10 to 15 seconds, until powdery.

Combine cantaloupe, milk and sugar in a blender, and blend until smooth. Scoop mixture evenly into popsicle molds.

If necessary, place foil over top of molds and insert sticks (foil will keep the sticks in place and at the right depth). Freeze at least 4 hours until fully frozen. Run molds under hot water for a few seconds to remove popsicles.

PER SERVING (using whole milk): 35 calories; 1 g fat; no saturated fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 7 g carbohydrate; 7 g sugar; no fiber; 13 mg sodium; 20 mg calcium

– Recipe by imperialsugar.com

ORANGE STRAWBERRY SUNRISE POPSICLES

Yield: 10 servings

1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Orange Strawberry Sunrise Popsicle.

2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (from 4 to 6 oranges)

Put strawberries, water and maple syrup into a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Pour orange juice evenly into each popsicle mold, about ½ to ¾ full. Spoon the strawberry mixture into each mold, If desired, spoon just a little strawberry mixture in at first, blend it just with the top of the orange juice to give the popsicle a gradient look, and then carefully spoon in the rest of the strawberry mixture.

If necessary, place foil over top of molds and insert sticks (foil will keep the sticks in place and at the right depth). Freeze at least 12 hours until fully frozen. Run molds under hot water for a few seconds to remove popsicles.

PER SERVING: 37 calories; no fat; no saturated fat; no cholesterol; no protein; 9 g carbohydrate; 8 g sugar; no fiber; 1 mg sodium; 12 mg calcium

– Recipe from thehealthfulideas.com

CHOCOLATE- COVERED STRAWBERRY POPSICLES

Yield: 6 servings

2½ cups fresh whole strawberries

1/3 cup cold water

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

¼ cup refined coconut oil

Chocolate-Covered
Strawberry Popsicle.

Blend the strawberries and water together. Pour into popsicle molds. If necessary, place foil over top of molds and insert sticks (foil will keep the sticks in place and at the right depth). Freeze at least 4 hours until fully frozen.

Microwave the chocolate chips and coconut oil in 15-second increments, stirring after each time, until completely blended. Cool at room temperature – do not place in the refrigerator. Store covered at room temperature.

Run molds under hot water for a few seconds to remove popsicles. Dip into chocolate coating; the coating will harden.

PER SERVING: 366 calories; 26 g fat; 18 g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 3 g protein; 40 g carbohydrate; 33 g sugar; 5 g fiber; 7 mg sodium; 28 mg calcium

– Adapted from chocolateandcarrots.com

CHOCOLATE CHIP MINT GREEK YOGURT POPS

Yield: 6 servings

1 cup low-fat or no-fat vanilla Greek yogurt

½ cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon mint or peppermint extract

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 to 2 drops green food coloring, optional

½ cup mini chocolate chips

¼ cup chocolate chips for chocolate coating, optional

½ tablespoon refined coconut oil for chocolate coating, optional

Chocolate Chip Mint Greek Yogurt Pop.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, vanilla, mint extract and sugar. Add green food coloring, if desired, and whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. Sprinkle the tops with mini chocolate chips.

If necessary, place foil over top of molds and insert sticks (foil will keep the sticks in place and at the right depth). Freeze several hours until fully frozen.

If you’d like a chocolate shell, microwave the chocolate chips and coconut oil in 15-second increments, stirring after each time, until completely blended. Cool at room temperature – do not place in the refrigerator. Store covered at room temperature.

Run molds under hot water for a few seconds to remove popsicles. If desired, drizzle chocolate coating over popsicles; the coating will harden.

PER SERVING: 218 calories; 5 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 4 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 28 g carbohydrate; 25 g sugar; 2 g fiber; 28 mg sodium; 73 mg calcium

– Adapted from a recipe in countrycleaver.com

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