Popsicle: it must be possible
June 5, 2010 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Help me make the finest popsicles available to humanity.

Popsicle season has finally arrived in Britain! Problem: Britain doesn't do popsicles. ("Ice lollies" are okay I guess, but they don't come in grape. Or Creamsicle. Or Fudgesicle. Or the supersized, jingoistic, all-American Bomb Pop.)

So I intend to make my own popsicles at home. I want them to be so good that anyone who tastes them will never want to bother with a £1 lolly off a truck again.

Recipes abound on the internets, but from experience, Mefites always have good advice to add when it comes to food. I want your best tried-and-true recipes and methods for frozen deliciousness on a stick. Posh chocolate popsicles that will cure my wistful Fudgesicle cravings. Boozy popsicles. Fruity popsicles. Unexpected-flavor-combination popsicles. Suggestions up to and including dry ice (but no liquid nitrogen) welcome. The temperature's a sweltering 79 F -- bring it on!
posted by stuck on an island to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 230 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't have specific recipes on hand (maybe I'll come back with some later...) but it helps, at least it did for me, to expand one's horizons about frozen fresh-ingredient desserts like sorbets, granitas, and popsicles. Like. Strawberry and black pepper granita, or my favorite of all, basil and lime sorbet (SO GOOD). It makes you feel grown up and it's often just plain more refreshing to the palate when it's more herb-y or spicy, I find.
posted by ifjuly at 9:52 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like pudding pops. Make instant pudding (don't know what brands you have available, but use the "just add milk" kind), pour it into your molds before it sets, then freeze it. There are lots of flavors to choose from, but I like plain old chocolate the best.
posted by amyms at 10:05 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Campari and fresh passionfruit popsicles. Variations on Moscow Mule popsicles. Pimms and fruit popsicles. Who couldn't love a boozy popsicle?

Note: the alcohol will delay the freezing process, by which time the British summer may be over
posted by MuffinMan at 10:10 AM on June 5, 2010 [8 favorites]

I meant to say too something about a trick I learned from the Splendid Table: you can take those bags of frozen pineapple sans additional sweeteners (or just freeze the fresh stuff, cubed up) and whip it up in a food processor with almond extract and other flavors and it will taste like ice cream somehow magically. You could turn that into popsicles. It's super quick; it's my go-to "in 5 minutes flat" yet seemingly impressive dessert.
posted by ifjuly at 10:15 AM on June 5, 2010 [15 favorites]

Best answer: I make these every summer:

coconut milk
shredded unsweetened coconut
a couple of limes, carefully shredded to maintain the pulp
sweetener of choice.

Add the lime pulp to the coconut milk and shredded coconut, sweeten and pour and freeze.
I say to be careful about shredding the limes because I don't like the lime juice to infuse the coconut milk, so you have a coconut pop with sour little limey surprises!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:30 AM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]

G'ah, keep remembering things in pieces...

Peanut popsicles are the bomb.
posted by ifjuly at 10:32 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: you can try vanilla yogurt and peanut butter popsicles. also, plain frozen bananas are surprisingly delicious.
posted by tacoma1 at 10:43 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Five minute ice cream without an ice cream maker - quick, easy, yummy, and can be made with a variety of fruits.
posted by HeKilledKennedy at 10:48 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Popsicles made with jello are awesome too!
posted by dipolemoment at 11:05 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My two favorite popsicle recipes:

1. Purée of avocado and condensed milk.

2. A thick, sweet yogurt with mashed up banana and chopped dates. Put this in the popsicle molds first, and then squeeze a layer of lime juice on top (which is the bottom after freezing) — an addition which gives the whole experience the most delightful contour; this popsicle is almost narrative.
posted by avianism at 11:08 AM on June 5, 2010 [7 favorites]

Y'know what I've always wanted to try? Turning jam into popsicles. So maybe don't use pectin but use gelatin? And pretend you're making jam/jelly only pour the cooked berries into popsicle molds. That sounds like it might be ridiculously good.

Or maybe I'm just projecting because I'm making jam as we speak and it smells so unbelievably good in the kitchen that I want to spread the love to every aspect of the food spectrum.
posted by cooker girl at 11:12 AM on June 5, 2010

Frozen bananas, either whole and with a stick poked into them, or cut into bite-sized chunks. Before you freeze them, dip them in melted chocolate and roll in nuts/coconut. A friend of mine sprinkles ancho chile powder on the chocolate, but I haven't tasted it personally.
posted by corey flood at 11:13 AM on June 5, 2010

Any recommendations for great popsicle molds?
posted by found missing at 11:13 AM on June 5, 2010

ZOKU Quick Pop Maker -- a little pricey, but can make 9 popsicles before you need to refreeze the base.
posted by ibechase at 11:29 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Careful with booze, it'll make it harder to get it to freeze solid. Which is good if you're making granita but more of a problem for popsicles.

I made some refreshing if dull lime popsicles the other day with 1:1 simple syrup & lime juice and then maybe an additional three parts water. Grated some of the lime zest in, which was pretty. Would be good with some mint infused in the syrup.

I have fond memories of yogurt popsicles from my youth but have had trouble getting them to come out well (the texture is more grainy rather than the creamy I remember). Maybe it depends on the type of yogurt used.

The mold I have is essentially this, but I'm not a huge fan, it's kind of a pain to get the sticks to align straight & at the right depth, and it's not that easy to demold them. Dunno how it compares to others, though.
posted by yarrow at 11:32 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I haven't tried it yet, but I bookmarked this recipe for homemade Bomb Pops a while back. Has tips on molds, too.
posted by rewil at 11:47 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Frozen raspberries, honey, and Grand Marnier.
posted by aquafortis at 12:01 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Rhubarb pops.

Seconding the use of basil in pops.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have to admit, my favorite homemade popsicles (made back in the day with the old Tupperware Ice Tups molds) are simply made with lemon-lime Kool-Aid, or limeade. Mix the Kool-Aid or limeade per directions and freeze.
posted by peep at 12:31 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Butterscotch Angel Delight pops. Mmmmm.

I think smittenkitchen.com had some yum fruit popsicle recipes.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:42 PM on June 5, 2010

Still thinking of stuff...Laurie Colwin mentions in either Home Cooking or More Home Cooking making mango popsicles and real fruit juice popsicles. The mango ones, IIRC, are sorbet-like; you keep freezing and forking pureed fresh mango. I might have this wrong though and will look when I get a chance.

Rhubarb pops! That sounds so good, to whoever suggested them upthread. Man oh man.
posted by ifjuly at 1:01 PM on June 5, 2010

Best answer: design*sponge just had an entry of super delicious looking popsicle recipes this past week. I made the Raspberry Creamsicle (Yogurt-based) ones last night and they were completely delicious, they froze up in about three hours.
posted by banannafish at 1:06 PM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I liked regular fruity/juicy popsicles growing up like anyone, but my favorites, head and shoulders above the rest, were my mom's homemade kind made from yogurt and orange juice concentrate. Ohhhhh. I never knew the recipe but you can experiment with proportions. One I just googled said 16 oz yogurt to 6 oz OJ concentrate, so you could start there and tweak it. That's it, just those two in your popsicle mold. So creamy, so tart, just sweet enough.
posted by Askr at 2:29 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yogurt, pieces of mango, pomegranate juice, strawberries. Blend. Freeze. Mmm :)
posted by wild like kudzu at 5:44 PM on June 5, 2010

I like pudding pops...

You know those huge cans of pudding in the bulk food aisle? Get one of those, stick in a wooden spoon, and put it in the freezer for a few days. Awesomely huge pudding pop. Completely impractical (and kind of gross), but tons of fun for everyone.

A warning, don't leave it out on the table overnight like my roommate did when we made these in college.
posted by jpdoane at 6:49 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For my money, no one on the planet does popsicles better than Latin America. Try googling "Paletas" and check some of the freaking amazing recipes...the first result I see has a recipe for Cucumber-Chili paletas.
posted by griffey at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: How do you feel about artificial color and flavor? My Mom's popsicles when I was young were the best ever but they're definitely not gourmet or really, very good for you. We loved them because the other Moms used to freeze regular juice and you could suck the flavor out of those and be left just with ice. That doesn't happen with these.

1 small pkg jello
3/4 c sugar
1 pkg unsweetened koolaid
2 c boiling water
2 c cold water
Dissolve ingredients in boiling water. Add water and stir. Pour into popsicle molds.

You can mix and match jello and koolaid flavors, but I'm not sure why you would ... Cherry is obviously the best!
posted by nelvana at 7:39 PM on June 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Fresh peach, fresh raspberry, honey for sweetness all blended together, a little juice or water to add liqid. Leave some whole chunks of fruit in for a surprise.

Just fresh peach, blended all up with chunks of peach left in. You'll die from the goodness.

Blueberry, banana, yoghurt and honey. Blend together and freeze.

Fresh squeezed orange huice mixed with vanilla yoghurt. Tastes like an orange creamsicle.

Cranberries (whole), honey, fresh rosemary all blended together with some white grape juice.

Pineapple, coconut milk, banana.

Straight up raspberry with a bit of white grape juice for liquid. Just a little. It will be the best popsicle you've ever tasted.

Blackberry, strawberry, yoghurt and banana. Add liquid as needed.

Watermelon, mint and lime juice. Sweeten with a little maple syrup.

OK, basically the trick to making THE WORLD'S BEST POPSICLES is to use fresh fruit. Seriously. You can't go wrong.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 12:03 AM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Just wanted to stick my head in and say that nelvana's recipe is the hands down best popsicle recipe on the planet, and now I need to go find me some Tupperwear Ice Tups! Looks like the Mickey Mouse ones are the only ones around...but maybe some internet kung-fu will snag me a couple sets of the real deal. :)
posted by AltReality at 12:22 AM on June 6, 2010

This one time, I took instant pudding and mixed it with heavy whipping cream, then whipped it with a mixer and froze it. It was like a pudding pop, but with a softer/lighter texture due to the extra air mixed in. Interesting, but I'm not sure if it would be for everyone.
posted by Menthol at 2:00 AM on June 6, 2010

Response by poster: There are so many wonderful suggestions here that I hardly know where to start. Yogurt and orange creamsicles? Rhubarb onna stick? Basil and limesicles? Peanut butter and jelly pops?

And wow, "paletas" is the magic keyword. I had never heard of these before. Apparently they come in a galaxy of flavors, including pineapple chili, cucumber lime chili and even pickle.

I can hardly wait for my popsicle molds to arrive!
posted by stuck on an island at 7:43 AM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Came here to recommend Paletas but see I am a little late :-) Their flavors are incredible.
posted by xammerboy at 11:49 AM on June 6, 2010

A few weekends ago, I had a popsicle that was so delicious I literally would not stop talking about it the entire time I was eating it: "this is the best popsicle I've ever had!" "my god this is delicious." "soon my popsicle will be all gone, and I will be sad, because I won't be able to eat it anymore" and so on. That popsicle was a fresh sugarplum + mint popsicle from People's Pops in Brooklyn. If you make these, I may come to your house to steal them from your freezer.
posted by tigerbelly at 6:25 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

I've been trying for several summers now to make a Vietnamese coffee popsicle--I can never get the texture quite right, but some combination of strong coffee, condensed milk, and maybe a bit of vanilla pudding?
I'll have to try again.
posted by exceptinsects at 9:31 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

plain yogurt, mint, simple syrup (made with rose water) blended and poured in the mold. MMMMmmmm.
posted by Swisstine at 10:21 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My childhood was spent making and eating peanutty pops. I emailed my sister months ago to get the recipe and you too shall now enjoy it:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chocolate milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter

Mix gelatin with sugar; add boiling water and stir until gelatin is
completely dissolved. Blend in peanut butter and milk. Pour into
5-ounce cups and freeze until partially frozen. Insert wooden ice
cream sticks; freeze until firm.

The joy of them is in the gelatin and the layers. You get a spongy chocolate later, then a creamier, nutty layer (if you use chunky pb, which I recommend).
posted by artifarce at 7:36 PM on June 7, 2010

Best answer: I experimented a lot with popsicle recipes last summer, and one thing I found is that if you freeze mostly juice, you'll get a hard ice-cube-on-a-stick, not small ice crystals that you can bite. Most popsicles have a crazy amount of sugar to delay freezing and get this effect. I was hoping for slightly healthier popsicles, so I found a few ways around it.

One was to use whole fruits including pulp. Yogurt or cream will also work. I didn't get around to trying it, but allegedly carbonated water (or soda) will also help get smaller ice crystals. My favorite though was a banana-- it's got just enough starch to do the trick.A pinch of salt may seem counter intuitive, but flavors are muted when cold, and it may also help keep crystals smaller. On this summer's experiment list is chia seeds.

Another trick, when you get your molds, fill them up with water, and measure how much volume you'll need. I know I needed 2 cups, which accounted for a bit of expansion with freezing. This, plus measurement lines on my blender allowed for experimentation.

So, one of my favorites: 1.5c. mango pulp, 1 large banana, juice of 1 lime. Whizz in a blender.

The kind of mango pulp I use is a latino drink, found next to the orange juice in a carton. South Asian/Thai mango pulp usually comes in a can, but its basically exactly the same, if not slightly thicker (think mango sticky rice dessert).
posted by fontophilic at 9:02 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My favorite popsicles are the kind they sell at Mexican grocery stores: Arroz (Rice) Paletas.

There are other recipes out there including watermelon, cantaloupe, lime, strawberry, and chocolate.

Here's a recipe for the Arroz I found on Yahoo Answers
Arroz con Leche - Mexican Recipe
Ready in: 30-60 minutes
Difficulty: 3 (1=easiest :: hardest=5)

1 cup white rice
1/2 gallon Milk
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup sugar
1 small rind of green lime

Cook the rice using only half of the milk, with the green lime rind. Be patient and cook it at medium-low, until the rice is very soft. Try not to move it too much, but do stir a little, occasionally. If it was necessary, you may add some cold milk, if the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

Once the rice is cooked, add the rest of the milk, the cinnamon stick, and the sugar. Stir to make sure everything's mixed. Continue with medium-low heat, until you see it gets a thick texture. After that, turn off the heat and leave it alone until it cools down.

There are many minor variations, one of the most popular is the addition of a cup of raisins.
posted by wcfields at 3:50 PM on June 10, 2010

Response by poster: Follow-up: my popsicle molds have arrived! Unfortunately, it is now back to 55 F and rainy.

Also, the popsicle molds are total crap -- the "stainless steel" rack that holds them is plastic with a metal veneer, and the plastic molds themselves are not actually detachable from the rack. (Why??) Once again, the Avoid Kitchen Craft Rule applies.

Recommendations for popsicle/paleta molds welcome. (A previous Ask was inconclusive.)
posted by stuck on an island at 2:22 AM on June 11, 2010

Best answer: Ah shoot, sorry about the crappy molds.

I like my Ikea mold, but honestly I liked that it cost $2 even better. They have reusable plastic sticks, (am I the only one slightly freaked out by licking wood?).

My only complaint is its pretty flimsy and light weight when empty, but we're just talking about freezing water here not rocket science. Otherwise, the stand is great for pouring in the liquid, and getting it in the freezer.

Also many people swear by yogurt cup/small paper cup+ tin foil + stick. Spreading tin foil over the opening will keep the stick upright. I'm sure more elaborate things could be devised by taking a look at your plastic recycling bin.
posted by fontophilic at 7:51 AM on June 11, 2010

If you care about BPA, you might want to talk to Ikea about their molds. My understanding is that while their tableware is made of safe plastic, the other kitchen items are not.....
posted by acoutu at 10:54 PM on July 15, 2010

Very late indeed to the party but Lakeland have a variety of lolly moulds, one of which might take your fancy
posted by calico at 8:00 AM on July 24, 2010

I can't vouch for them, but Williams-Sonoma is hawking some high tech looking molds this season.
posted by ifjuly at 11:29 AM on July 24, 2010

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