POP goes the Popsicle/ Cool and Crazy Recipes

   

“Pop” goes the summer as soon as we pass that Labor Day mark. While that date tends to mean the end of vacations for most of us it sure doesn’t mean the end of the hot, sticky, hot, and humid and did I mention hot weather. While we’re on track for the one of the hottest summers on record I can safely say that I have reinvented the coolest way to stay cool will all around me are melting.

            Ta daaa…………………..may I present the home made pop-sicle. Ok, I didn’t really reinvent anything, everyone one knows what a pop-sicle is (in fact, the word Popsicle ® is trademarked so I’m using the hyphenate version for the purposes of this column), but I have done is collect a really interesting group of recipes that lets you take the corn syrup and artificial colors out of the mix and give you some really sophisticated flavors that can be whipped together with a blender or food processor in a few minutes and once they are frozen will give you plenty of pop-sicles to share. While some of the recipes are unabashedly adult in the combination of flavors and ingredients all can be modified to satisfy the kids too. So get your molds out (plastic cups and pop-sicle sticks will do if you don’t have molds) and get going. This list isn’t exclusive to pop-sicles, I’ve also included pudding pops, frozen yogurt and fruit pops.

I believe that these recipes are healthier (and sometimes less expensive) than buying ready-made Pop-sicles because you can use seasonal fruits that are typically very inexpensive (you can also you the stuff that’s a tad bit over ripe as you’re going to puree it anyway). For my money I guess the biggest problem you’re going to have is picking which recipe you’re going to try first.

 

Tips to making pop-sicles:

 

ALWAYS LEAVE ROOM AT THE TOP OF YOUR POPS FOR THE LIQUID TO EXPAND!!! THEY WILL OVERFLOW IF FILLED TOO FULL.

 

To release pops, dip molds into hot water until pops loosen and slide out. If using cups, peel away paper

 

Some fruits and syrups freeze harder than others; some are super-sweet, while others are lighter. You may need to tweak some of the recipes to get them to the sweetness level you like the best.

 

NOTE: These recipes call for you use about/approx 3 oz of filling per each pop-sicles

 

LIME AND ORANGE YOGURT POP

 

16 oz vanilla yogurt

2/3 cup(s) thawed orange juice concentrate

2 large bananas

Zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

 

In a blender or food processer combine the yogurt, orange juice concentrate, bananas, lime zest, and fresh lime and process until smooth. Divide the mixture between six pop-sicle molds or paper cups.  I using molds put the top on and freeze. If using paper cups fill the cups and then put a layer of foil over the top of the cup and crimp into place. Push the stick through the middle of the foil, the foil will hold the stick in place while it freezes. You can place the cups in a cake pan to keep them in place while freezing. Freeze until the pop-sicles are solid, approx 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6

 

Submitted by Renee Barcon St. Petersburg FL

 

FUDGY POPS

 

1 package (3.4 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix

2 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup marshmallow creme

chopped pecans

 mini marshmallows

 miniature chocolate chips (you can use peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips)

 

In a bowl combine the pudding and milk. Mix to combine and stir in the marshmallow cream before it sets up. Fill the bottom of the mold or cup with a few chopped pecans, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons total. Pour in the mixture until the mold is 1/2 full, add a few more nuts, marshmallows and chocolate chips and then top with more of the pudding mix.  Place the tops on the molds or, if using paper cups, fill the cups and then put a layer of foil over the top of the cup and crimp into place. Push the stick through the middle of the foil, the foil will hold the stick in place while it freezes. You can place the cups in a cake pan to keep them in place while freezing. Freeze until the pop-sicles are solid, approx 4 to 5 hours. Makes 12

 

CHERRY LIMADE POPS

 

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

1 cup lemon-lime soda

3/4 cup Maraschino cherry juice/syrup

8 to 10 Maraschino cherries, chopped

 

In a bowl combine the zest, lime juice, lemon-lime soda and cherry juice. Mix to combine and get rid of a little of the fizz. Add the chopped cherries and pour the mixture into molds or, if using paper cups, fill the cups and then put a layer of foil over the top of the cup and crimp into place. Push the stick through the middle of the foil, the foil will hold the stick in place while it freezes. You can place the cups in a cake pan to keep them in place while freezing. Freeze until the pop-sicles are solid, approx 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 to 8

 

 

LAYERED BLUEBERRY LEMON-SICLES

 

1 cup blueberries

1/4 cup frozen grape juice concentrate, slightly thawed

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup water

zest of 2 lemons

1 cup lemon juice

 

In a food processor or blender combine the blueberries and grape concentrate. Process to combine and fill the pop-sicle molds about 1/4 full with the blueberry mixture and freeze it. Refrigerate the rest of the mixture until need it for the next step. In a small saucepan combine the water, sugar, and lemon juice and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the zest, cook for 1 minute, stirring and then remove the mixture from the heat. Cool the mixture completely. Fill the mold up about halfway with the lemon mixture and freeze for about 30 minutes. Top the lemon mixture with the remaining blueberry mixture and then put the stick part in and freeze for another 30 minutes. Top with the lemon mixture return the stick to the center of the pop-sicle and freeze for 3 or more hours. Makes 6 to 8.

 

Modified from a recipe submitted by Lois Winterfield Oakbrook IL

 

FOR THE OVER 21 CROWD

Most people assume you can’t freeze alcohol because it freezes at a much lower temperature than water. Most of us don’t have a freezer at home that can reach 30 degrees below zero. Still, you can have a frozen pop WITH alcohol as an ingredient as long as you only use a small amount of liquor and mix it with other stuff. It’s a taste or flavor rather than a main ingredient. Everything else will freeze and the alcohol will freeze right along with it. I can also suggest that if you’re using fruit you might want to try soaking some of the fruit in a wine or liquor for a few minutes before you puree it.

 

TEQUILA POPS

 

2 cups watermelon puree

1/4 cup lime juice (roughly 1 large lime)

3 ounces tequila

1 ounce orange liquor

1 tablespoon orange zest

2/3 cup sugar

 

Place the watermelon puree in a large bowl. Add the lime juice and sugar and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add tequila and orange zest, orange liqueur and mix to combine. Fill pop-sicle molds or if using paper cups put a layer of foil over the top of the cup and crimp into place. Push the stick through the middle of the foil, the foil will hold the stick in place while it freezes. You can place the cups in a cake pan to keep them in place while freezing. Freeze until the pop-sicles are solid, approx 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 to 8

 

CREAMY LEMON VODKA POPS

 

3 or 4 medium lemons

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 Tbs. citron vodka

 

Using a vegetable peeler, remove all of the zest from 3 of the lemons in 3- to 4-inch-long strips. Set the lemons aside. Combine the lemon zest, cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let steep at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

 

Squeeze 2/3 cup juice from the reserved lemons (juice the fourth lemon, if necessary). Stirring constantly, pour the lemon juice into the cream mixture in a slow stream. Stir in the vodka.

 

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a 4-cup glass measure (or any container with a spout for easy pouring), pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Divide the mixture among eight 3-oz. pop molds or wax-lined paper cups. Freeze until just barely set, 5 to 6 hours. Insert craft sticks and freeze until completely set, about 2 hours more. When ready to serve, unmold or peel off the paper cups. Makes 8 pops.

 

From finecooking.com

 

BLUEBERRY AND PEACH TEQUILA POPS

 

2 large ripe peaches, pitted and sliced

5 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons tequila

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 pint blueberries

 

Puree the peaches in a food processor. Strain the puree into a bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the tequila and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Pour 3 tablespoons of the puree into four 5-ounce pop-sicle molds or paper cups. Freeze until almost firm, about 25 minutes. Poke a pop-sicle stick into the center of each.

 

Meanwhile, puree the blueberries in a food processor. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of tequila and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Carefully pour 2 tablespoons of the blueberry puree into each mold and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until almost firm, about 25 minutes. Pour the remaining peach puree on top and freeze until almost firm, about 25 minutes. Finish with a blueberry layer and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Unmold and serve.

 

From foodandwine.com

 

SANGRIA POPS

 

3/4 cup fruity red wine, such as malbec or merlot

1/2 cup apple, diced small

1/2 orange, peeled and diced small

3/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons sugar

Combine the red wine, apples and oranges in a small bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile combine the orange juice, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stirring occasionally, heat just enough to dissolve the sugar and then cool to room temperature.

 

Set a strainer over a 2-cup measuring cup or medium-sized bowl and strain the fruit from the wine. Divide the strained fruit evenly between all pop-sicle molds. Add the cooled orange juice mixture to the wine.

 

Pour the sangria mix over the fruit in each mold, leaving a quarter-inch of space at the top and using a chopstick to dislodge any air bubbles. Freeze for an hour, insert pop-sicle sticks, and then freeze until completely firm (at least 8 hours). Run pop-sicle molds under warm water to dislodge pops before serving.

 From iHaveNet.com

 TARRAGON BLACKBERRY AND GRAPEFURIT POPS

 1 1/4 cup water

3/4 c sugar

about 4 large sprigs fresh tarragon

12 oz fresh blackberries

3 cups grapefruit juice, preferably freshly squeezed

  In a sauce pan combine the water, sugar, and 1 sprig tarragon. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool, uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine the blackberries with the remaining 2 sprigs of tarragon. In a bowl combine the blackberry mixture with the grapefruit juice and 1 1/4 cup of syrup. You should have about 1/4 cup of syrup remaining. Taste the mixture and if it isn’t sweet enough add more of the sugar liquid. Pour mixture into pop-sicle molds and top it with the top or if using paper cups fill the cups and then put a layer of foil over the top of the cup and crimp into place. Push the stick through the middle of the foil, the foil will hold the stick in place while it freezes. You can place the cups in a cake pan to keep them in place while freezing. Freeze until the pop-sicles are solid, approx 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 to 8

Modified from onehungrymama.com

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Oh Honey

            September is National Honey Month so now is the time to ponder an ancient question that has confounded learned scientists for eons. This deep and multifaceted matter has puzzled subsequent generation and rears its dubious head every year when summer rolls around. Of course I’m talking about the unsolvable dilemma, which came first, the honey or the bee.

I’m going to take a giant leap of faith and say, well, they both arrived at the same time and jump right into why using honey is so good for you. Honey is one of nature’s most perfect food. Very few people are allergic to it, it’s easy to digest, and has benefits that encompass, ensuring good health, beauty treatments AND it’s so and is just plain delicious. There’s lots of ways you can buy your honey. There’s honey comb, liquid, crystallized and whipped/creamed honey.

You should know that all honey will eventually crystallize given enough time so when you see it starting to get a little hard you can heat it to melt the crystals (I tend to zap it in the microwave for a 1 minute or so). While the consumers in the US seem to prefer the liquid variety many countries throughout the world prefer the whipped honey where it’s typically served at breakfast instead of jam.

If you’re planning on using honey instead of sugar in baking you can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio but I prefer to slightly reduce the amount of honey because it is so much sweeter. You also need to know that you’ll need to reduce the other liquids in the recipes by about 1/4 cup to compensate for the liquid/water in the honey. You should also lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent burning. I also add about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey to help counteract the honey’s acidity.

 I’m going to take this moment to suggest that any recipe with honey in it has got to be a reason to celebrate. Bees and what they do when they sting is a whole different kind of column

 

NOTE: Never EVER feed honey to a child under the age of 2. Their undeveloped digestive systems aren’t equipped to deal with some of the naturally forming bacteria that are in it.

CHOP CHOP SALAD WITH HONEY LIME DRESSING

 

2 heads chopped romaine lettuce

1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and well drained

3 chopped seeded tomato

1 can sliced hearts of palm

1 cup fresh corn kernels, uncooked (canned, drained)

8 to 10 thinly sliced radishes

2 avocado, diced

1 to 2 red bell pepper, chopped

 

Lime and honey dressing:

 

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

 

In a salad bowl combine the lettuce, garbanzo beans, tomato, hearts of palm, corn, radish, avocado and red pepper. Toss to combine and set aside. In a smaller bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, honey, parsley, garlic and pepper flakes, and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

TOMATOES WITH HONEY THYME DRESSING

 

6 to 8 large tomatoes, sliced

3 to 4 shredded carrots

Salad greens

1/3 cup white wine or fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Black sesame seeds for garnish

Black olives (optional)

 

Place the salad greens on a platter and then place the shredded carrots on top. Lay out the sliced tomatoes in rows (deocorate with black olives if you like). In a small bowl, whisk together the wine or lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and then sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top for garnish. Serves 8 to 10.

 

HONEY PECAN CHOCOLATE PIE

 

1 readymade deep dish uncooked pie shell

 

1 stick butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

3 beaten eggs

1/3 cup corn syrup

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 cups of chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 to 2/3 cup chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 325. Melt the butter and then set it aside and allow it to cool slightly.  In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, corn syrup and honey. Whisk to combine.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, pecans and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Pour the pecan mixture into the uncooked pie shell and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the top and return the pie to the oven. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven. Cool for at least 10 minutes and spread the melted chocolate chips over the top. Cool for at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

 

APPLE AND HONEY FRUIT SLAW

 

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 lbs. coleslaw mix

2 to 3  tart apples, peeled and chopped (I like granny smith)

2 cans (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup dried cherries

1/2 to 3/4 cup pine nuts

 

In small bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, vinegar, poppy seeds and salt; set the mixture aside. In large bowl combine the coleslaw mix, apples, oranges, dried cherries and pine nuts. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing over coleslaw mixture and mix to coat. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

 

HONEY CURRIED BAKED CHICKEN

 

2 chickens, cut up about 4 to 5 lbs

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup crushed pretzels

 

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking pan with foil. Place the chicken in the pan. In a sauce pan combine the butter, honey, mustard, curry and salt. Simmer until the butter melts and whisk to combine. Pour about 1/2 of the sauce over the top of the chicken and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and pour the remaining sauce over the top of the chicken. Bake for 10 minutes and then baste the chicken with the sauce and sprinkle the pretzel crumbs over the top. Cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Unknown source

 

PEANUT AND CHOCOLATE HONEY BARS

 

1 cup honey

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

1 cup milk or semi sweet mini chocolate chips

7 cups crisp rice cereal

 

In large microwave-safe bowl combine the honey and brown sugar. Microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes, or just until mixture begins to melt and become bubbly. Stir to combine. Stir in the peanuts, chocolate chips and cereal and mix to combine. Grease a large shallow 10X15 baking dish with cooking spray. Firmly the mixture into the pan. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. When cool, cut into squares or use cookie cutters to cut it into fun shapes Makes 16 to 20 bars.

 

HONEY ZUCCHINI LOAF

 

1 egg

3/4 cup honey

3 Tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-1/2 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

3/4 cup slivered almonds

Powdered sugar for dusting

 

Preheat oven 325.  Grease a loaf pan (9X5X3) in a bowl combine the egg, honey, oil and vanilla. Whisk to combine. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, orange zest, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix to combine. Add flour mixture, zucchini and almonds to honey mixture; mix until combine but don’t over mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove the loaf to a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar before slicing and serving. Serves 6

 

Modified from about.com

 

PUFF PASTRY APPLE TARTS WITH HONEY GLAZE

 

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed

2 7- to 8-ounce Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved, cored, each half very thinly sliced

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted

4 teaspoons honey

 

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to very thin 18×14-inch rectangle. Using small plate as guide, cut out four 7-inch rounds. Transfer 2 rounds to each prepared sheet; cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

 

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Overlap slices from 1/2 apple on each pastry round, leaving 1/4-inch plain border. Sprinkle apple on each tart with 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar, and then drizzle with 2 1/4 teaspoons butter.

 

Bake tarts until pastry is golden and apples are tender, about 25 minutes. Drizzle each tart with 1 teaspoon honey. Transfer tarts to racks; cool 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

From Bon Appétit October 2002 (this is one of my favorite recipes from Bon Appétit)