How to make coffee ice cream pop?
June 8, 2009 6:40 PM   Subscribe

How can I make a strongly coffee-flavored ice-cream pop, not using an ice-cream maker, which has a firm but creamy texture, not an icy popsicle-like texture? Preferably low fat. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that fat content is a large part of the reason for the difference between ice cream and popsicles...
posted by dorgla to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like the closest you could get would be a granita (pretty icy) or a sorbet. Maybe you could look into some sort of frozen yogurt option? I don't have time to Google around a lot now, but it looks like there are ways of making a frozen yogurt dessert without an ice-cream maker.
posted by rossination at 6:53 PM on June 8, 2009

Smooth texture in frozen products comes from rapid freezing and the incorporation of air. I would normally recommend using an ice-cream maker to bring the batter to soft-serve consistency, then pouring it into popsicle molds for finishing. Here's an alternative that uses dry ice, which is pretty cheap and available in most towns:

You will need two mixing bowls. One bowl should fit inside the other while remaining large enough to contain your batter. A metal inner bowl is preferable. Place crushed dry ice or dry ice pellets in the outer bowl, then set the inner bowl on the ice. Prepare the batter as desired, then pour it into the inner bowl. Use a whisk or hand mixer to whip the batter at least until small seed crystals begin to form or preferably until it reaches soft-serve consistency (15-20 minutes). Replace dry ice as needed. Pour into molds, insert popsicle sticks, and finish in the freezer.

Be careful when using dry ice. Never handle it with your bare hands and avoid touching the mixing bowls with your bare hands as well.

If none of that is available or practical, then you could experiment with adding emulsifiers and stabilizers to improve the texture. Xanthan gum, guar gum, etc can be bought in smallish amounts online. Commercial stabilizers such as Gelglace and Cremodan will be more effective (and more expensive).

To help the batter freeze faster, set your freezer on its coldest setting 24 hours in advance of making the popsicles. You could also consider setting a bag of dry ice pellets or a couple of blocks of dry ice into the freezer to make it even colder.
posted by jedicus at 7:06 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yogurt is the trick. You can even start with coffee yogurt and layer it into popsicle molds for something that's a little fancy [tilt molds for fancier still!].
posted by jessamyn at 7:10 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

A large portion of the "creamy" bite in ice cream comes from the air incorporated by the churning process; I would bet that if you skipped the churning and just froze a nice creamy custard mix in pop form you would get something with the right balance of "bite" and "creamy" to feel popsicley without being icy.

I recently made this chocolate gelato and I think it would translate into a coffee version really nicely—just replace the cocoa powder with a few shots of espresso or some concentrated coffee. Personally I would leave the melted chocolate since those two flavors meld so nicely.

Don't skip out on the alcohol if the recipe you pick has some; that will help with the creamy texture, since it will prevent the mixture from hardening completely when frozen.
posted by bcwinters at 7:13 PM on June 8, 2009

Response by poster: The suggestion to start with the chocolate gelato recipe as a template is the sort of thing
I am hoping will work, with the addition of more coffee flavoring. What I am *really* trying to do is reverse-engineer Starbucks late lamented (by me, anyway) Frappucino Bars, which
were the perfect dessert while they lasted. No ice cream maker for me. and I wish I had
room in my freezer compartment for dry ice blocks...but I'm lucky if I can shoehorn a few ice
pop molds in and around all the containers of leftovers!
posted by dorgla at 7:27 PM on June 8, 2009

If you have a strong food processor, you can freeze your sorbet/ice cream/whatever in a thin layer, freeze it, break it up and buzz the pieces in the food processor to make them smooth (and then quickly stick back in the freezer or pack into molds.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:32 PM on June 8, 2009

If you can't get dry ice, you can use regular ice and rock salt and use jedicus's suggestion or the smaller-coffee-can-in-a-larger-coffee-can technique we used at girl scout camp (fill smaller can with ingredients, larger can with layers of rock salt and ice, and then shake vigorously) Though you're probably not going to get exactly what you want, because I'll bet the Starbucks pops are filled with emulsifiers and solidifiers and all sorts of -ifiers.
posted by fermezporte at 7:42 PM on June 8, 2009

This recipe looks like it's worth a try. The sweetened condensed milk should give a nice creamy texture.

What about making vanilla pudding pops, with instant espresso powder added? That would be smooth and creamy.
posted by apricot at 7:57 PM on June 8, 2009

I've heard of espresso shots + sweetened condensed milk --> stir until homogeneous and freeze into popsicle shape. I don't remember the ratio. I tried it once, and the popsicle part didn't come up with the stick as you took it out, but I scooped out the stuff and it was so so so so so delicious and creamy and coffee-tasting. So maybe experiment with ratios, you can even do it in an ice cube tray so you don't waste a lot and see which ratio works best. I'm thinking more coffee and less condensed milk - this way you get lower fat, more coffee taste, and it'll probably freeze better. If you try this and get it to be a good consistency please report back!!
posted by KateHasQuestions at 7:59 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Get a cheap ice cream maker that uses an ice/rock salt combo to freeze the mix. You'll be surprised at the high quality ice cream you can make with such a cheap combo (I got mine for about ten bucks at a clearance sale and it makes commercial grade ice cream with a few primo recipes I found on the internets).
posted by torquemaniac at 8:00 PM on June 8, 2009

I was thinking similar to apricot - vanilla instant pudding mix, mixed with coffee instead of milk, or with some coffee/cream blend. (Skim milk to be super-low-fat, but that might be too icy.)
posted by lakeroon at 8:40 PM on June 8, 2009

This could be worth a try: The Easiest Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe...Ever, no ice-cream maker required, where I substituted the dark rum for kahlua. Not exactly low fat, but far less fat than regular ice cream.
posted by WayOutWest at 10:23 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

nthing the pudding pops idea - my mom used to make great popsicles from chocolate Jello-brand pudding, which is just a cooked (corn starch?) pudding mix made with milk. The hot pudding was poured into molds, allowed to set, then frozen.

Corn starch pudding recipes are easy to find. Instant coffee powder is an easy way to flavor it, though you could sub in some strong brewed coffee for part of the milk.
posted by jon1270 at 3:30 AM on June 9, 2009

Using corn syrup as your sweetener instead of sugar will help improve the texture. Makes it a little less icy, more smooth.
posted by electroboy at 6:10 AM on June 9, 2009

Non-dairy whipped topping. That'll get you a "pudding pop" kind of texture. At least, that's part of the recipe of making your own pudding pops. Plus the addition of pudding.

pudding is such a strange word.

posted by reddot at 7:08 AM on June 9, 2009

Another vote for pudding pops. Mom used to make (non-instant!!!) Jello pudding, pour it into tupperware popsicle molds, and freeze it, and they always came out dense and creamy and delicious, not crystally at all. No stirring, no ice cream maker required. It doesn't look like Jello makes a coffee flavor, but I'm sure you could improvise that part by tweaking the preparation of a box of vanilla.
posted by vytae at 9:20 AM on June 9, 2009

Response by poster: Put some chocolate pudding pops in the freezer, into which I stirred a lot of
dissolved instant espresso crystals. Just tasted one of them ...will use more
espresso crystals next time. The flavor and texture are not bad! Jury's still out
on whether these will freeze up hard enough or not. I'll give them a few more
hours. Still not quite a substitute for the Frappucino bars, but closer to the mark
than what I got from freezing the contents of a bottle of their Frappucino Drink
(not coffee-flavored enough and WAY too icy) and a can of doubleshot (ditto.)
posted by dorgla at 7:28 PM on June 9, 2009

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