Cool down this weekend with homemade ice pops! These childhood favorites are always kid-friendly, but add some creative flavors and they’re equally suited for an adult dinner party. Here’s a bonus: unlike ice cream, pops are easy to make with little or no added sugar.
We’re partial to our Zoku Quick Pop Maker, which creates customized frozen pops in just seven minutes. See some of our favorite recipes here! But even if you don’t have special equipment, you can still make ice pops at home. With a handful of craft sticks, you can freeze ice pops in anything from paper cups to regular or vintage baking tins. A plastic wrap-lined loaf pan is a great makeshift mold: pour in the mixture, cover tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil, and then insert the sticks through the foil in a row down the center at about 1-inch (2.5-cm.) intervals. When frozen, lift from the pan and slice into ice pops.
Most ice pops will take about four hours to freeze solid in conventional molds. The yield of the recipes below depends on the size of your molds; the classic mold holds about 4 1/2 tablespoons (2 1/2 fl. oz./75 ml.). Here are three easy flavor combinations for homemade ice pops; each one makes 8 to 12 pops, depending on the mold.
Chocolate Pudding Pops
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) heavy cream
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 oz. (125 g.) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1-3 Tbs. sugar
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and bring to a simmer, whisking to dissolve the cocoa. Add the chocolate and stir until dissolved. STir in the sugar to taste. Cool the mixture over an ice bath before freezing.
Coconut-Cardamom Ice Pops
1 can (13 1/2 fl. oz./420 ml.) coconut milk
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) whole milk
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. dark rum (optional)
1-3 Tbs. maple syrup or honey
In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the maple syrup until well blended. Whisk in the maple syrup to taste.
Watermelon Mojito Ice Pops
1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) diced seedless watermelon
1/4 cup (1/4 oz./7 g.) loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) light rum
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. grated lime zest
2-3 tsp. sugar
2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml.) club soda
In a blender, combine the watermelon, mint, rum, lime juice and zest, and 1 teaspoon sugar and process until smooth and the mint is reduced to flecks. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary. Stir in the club soda.