Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard Pops

One of Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite places to have lunch is at Culver’s.  They like the fries and the chicken fingers alright, but they are really there for the free frozen custard that comes with a kid’s meal.  I can’t blame them. It really is delicious.  Because of all the extra egg yolks, frozen custard tastes so much more rich and flavorful than regular ice cream.  Though, you know I would never turn down ice cream. 😀

I was so excited when I found this recipe for frozen custard in a popsicle form.  Brilliant!  I love the addition of vanilla bean not only for flavor, but also for the visual.  I mean, who doesn’t love those little black vanilla bean specks?  When my husband tried them, he said they reminded him of the vanilla pudding pops we went crazy for as kids.  You remember, Bill Cosby?  Justin wondered how many there were because he was seriously going to eat them all.  Tonight.  Sorry, but the recipe only made 7 and we ate 3 before you came home from work.  No worries though. I’ll make more.

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard Pops

Yield: 10 pops (I got 7)

2 cups (16 fl oz/500ml) whole milk, divided 

1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 large egg plus 3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup (6oz/185g) sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the cornstarch.  Bring to a boil over med-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, ~ 7 to 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the last 1/2 cup of milk, the whole egg and the yolks, sugar and salt.  Using a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the bowl and then add the halves.  Stirring constantly, add the egg mixture to the thickened milk mixture.  Cook, whisking constantly, over med-high heat until the mixture returns to a boil.  Remove from heat.

Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, then cool over an ice bath.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when they are part frozen, about 1 hour.  Then continue to freeze until solid, about 5 more hours.

Source:  Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats

Classic Fudgesicles

Just like their mother, my children adore anything with chocolate.  They have also been loving the popsicles I have been making lately.  So, I wanted to combine the two and make fudgesicles.  But I kept on forgetting to buy malted milk powder.  Dang, I used to have the memory of an elephant and I still do when it comes to drugs…kind of important for a pharmacist.  😀  But, when it comes to everyday stuff, geez, unless it is written down, I won’t remember it.  Then, I also have to keep track of that list because I tend to lose it too.  When I was grocery shopping, chocolate syrup was on the list (I have a recipe for homemade, but I was too lazy and still sick) and the malted milk powder, although not on the list, was right next to it and somehow I remembered that I needed it for these pops.

Jack and Sammie were so excited as I made the fudge mixture before they left for a day at the children’s museum with my husband.  I promised them that they would be ready when they got home.  After the museum, my husband took them out for dinner and then ice cream.  Jack and Sammie both said they didn’t want any ice cream because they wanted the fudgesicles mom made.  They knew the chances of them getting two desserts was slim.  But, it was their lucky day.  Ice cream and fudgesicles for dessert!  We have to spoil them once in awhile.  Through chocolate covered lips (and chin and cheeks), Sammie told me that I did a great job and that they were perfect.  High compliments from my 5 year old.  Now, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Classic Fudgesicles

Yield: 6 to 9 ice pops

1 3/4 cups (14 fl oz/430mL) half and half

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tbsp malted milk powder

1 Tbsp light corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz (125g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a saucepan, combine half and half, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, corn syrup, vanilla and salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and cook until the cocoa and malted milk powder have completely dissolved.  Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate.  Stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Let cool to room temperature.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when they are part frozen, about 1 hour.  Then continue to freeze until solid, about 3 more hours.

Source:  Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats

Note:  These aren’t real sweet.  If you prefer a sweeter pop, you can add a bit of sugar (to taste) to the hot cocoa mixture.  Superfine would dissolve best.  My daughter and I thought the sweetness was fine, but my son would have liked it a bit sweeter.  It didn’t stop him from eating the whole thing though faster than either of us did.

Pink Lemonade Popsicles

Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite summertime drink is pink lemonade.  So, when I saw these pops, I knew that they would love them.  Especially on a day like today, where here in Chicago, we got to enjoy a high of 99 degrees. Ugh. Crazy hot.  So, we decided to stay inside and have a Disney movie marathon, complete with snacks and refreshments, including these delicious pops.

Luckily, this time, I was able to obtain both lemon zest and lemon juice without any injury. 😀  I then blended the juice and zest with the sugar to make the lemonade concentrate.   I diluted the lemon mixture with water and then added a few strawberries for flavor and for color.  While the recipe doesn’t say to strain the liquid, I ran it through a sieve, knowing Jack and Sammie would not like the seeds.  Although the Vitamix takes care of most of the seeds, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  In other words, heading off any complaints of “Yuck. I hate seeds.”  After waiting 4 hours for your pops to freeze, just one taste and you will fall in love the lemon pucker and unexpected hint of strawberry flavor.  Jack and Sammie loved the pops.  They each gave them a sky high thumbs up, the highest rating at our house. 😀

Pink lemonade popsicles

Yield: 9 to 11 pops (I got 8)

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup (4fl oz/125 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1/2 cup (3.5 oz/105 grams) plus 2 Tbsp superfine sugar

2 fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled

pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, combine the lemon zest and juice and sugar.  Pour in 1 3/4 cups (14oz/430mL) of water.  Add the strawberries and salt and blend until the mixture is smooth and pink.  I strained the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds and removed the froth from the top with a spoon.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when they are part frozen, about 1 hour.  Then continue to freeze until solid, about 3 more hours.

If using an instant ice pop maker (Zoku), follow the instructions to fill and freeze.

Source:  Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats.

Cappuccino Popsicles

Well, I figured I should at least finish out the week with one last popsicle.  We ate all the cookies and cream pops, I made the root beer float pops at my mom’s, so we were out of popsicles and I needed to remedy this situation.  I never even knew I liked popsicles so much.  Well, maybe because the ones I grew up on were those double stick pops in banana, plain root beer, or blue raspberry.  And while those were good when I was a kid, they aren’t so much now.  Not with popsicles like these anyways.

I decided to make cappuccino pops for my husband and I.  With 3 kids and work and all the stuff that goes with them, we can always use the extra caffeine.  We keep lots of K-cups in the house because when we need coffee, we need it now! 😀  So, I brewed 2 Black Magic K-cups on the 8 oz setting to get the volume of coffee needed for this recipe.   You then add some whole milk to the coffee and sweeten it with superfine sugar.  The coffee mixture is then poured into the molds.  But, wait a second. What’s cappuccino without the froth?  So, you whip up and sweeten some whipped cream to top each pop before freezing.  What you end up with is the perfect frozen pick-me-up.  I don’t know about you, but I could always use one.

Cappuccino popsicles

Yield:  6-8 pops

1 3/4 cups (14 fl oz/430mL) strongly brewed coffee  I used Green Mountain Black Magic- I brewed 2 K-cups on the 8oz setting and I had a bit left over

1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80mL) whole milk

1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) superfine sugar

1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60mL) heavy cream

1 tsp confectioners’ sugar

In a 4 cup measure with a pour spout, combine the coffee, milk, and superfine sugar.  Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Set aside.  In a bowl, combine the cream and confectioners’ sugar.  Using a whisk, beat until the cream forms soft peaks.  It takes awhile by hand. Set aside.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the coffee mixture among the molds, then spoon a dollop of the whipped cream into each mold.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when the pops are partially frozen, after about 1 hour, then freeze until solid, at least 3 more hours.

If using an instant pop maker (Zoku) follow the manufacturers’ instructions, layering in the same way.

For mocha pops:  Whisk 2 Tbsp sweetened hot cocoa mix into the coffee mixture when adding the sugar.

You can dust the top with cinnamon or nutmeg if you would like.

Source:  Ice Pops:  Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats

Note:  I have found the “froth” to taste the best the day the pops are made.

Root Beer Float Popsicles

As you might have guessed…yep, it’s still too hot to bake today 😀   Actually, let me clarify that.  I got up early this morning to make cheesecake swirl blondies.  But, they turned out more like a bland, thick cake with a cheesecake mess on top.  Yuck.  So, technically, it was too hot to bake again 😀  Oh, well.  Sometimes failure leads you to better things.  Things like root beer float popsicles.   When I decided to make the cookies and cream popsicles the other day, this choice was a very close second.  So, I decided to give these a try.  After all, one of my family’s favorite beat the Chicago summer heat treats is a root beer float.  My kids love it because  it is one of the rare occasions that they get to indulge in a soda.  They always mix it together immediately into a thick root beer float milkshake.  Not me.  I prefer to take a small scoop from the ice cream and fill the rest of the spoon with soda and then eat it, spoonful by spoonful.  However you eat them, root beer floats are simply delicious.

Most recipes I see for root beer float pops are just root beer layered with vanilla ice cream.  Good, but not great.  How do you make them great?  You make homemade vanilla custard to layer with the root beer.  It is really easy and so worth the extra effort.  Don’t worry about the egg yolks.  Even if they do get a little bit scrambled, you can strain the custard and it will still be perfect.   The only downside is that it does take some time because you have to freeze between each layer so they don’t all run together.  And, though they would still taste delicious, and I know Jack and Sammie wouldn’t care, I would! 😀

So, the next time you have a hankering for a root beer float, go on and ditch the mugs and make these fun pops instead.

Root Beer Float Popsicles

Yield: 12 to 14 pops

1 cup (8 fl oz/250mL) heavy cream

1 cup (8fl oz/250mL) whole milk

4 large egg yolks

1/3 cup (3oz/90g) sugar

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

2 cups (16 fl oz/500mL) root beer  – Open at least 30 minutes before using.  I used IBC

In a heavy saucepan over med-high heat, warm the cream and milk until the mixture just comes to a simmer, about 5 minutes.  In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt until the mixture doubles in volume, 2 minutes.  Slowly pour half of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking until smooth.  Pour the mixture into the saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 1 to 2 minutes.  Do not boil.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and cool completely over an ice bath.  I skipped the sieve since my custard mixture looked smooth. 

If using conventional ice pop molds, fill the mold 1/4 full with the vanilla custard and freeze until partially frozen, about 30 minutes.  Pour in the root beer, filling the molds until they are half full, and again, freeze until partially frozen, about 30 minutes.  Pour in the remaining vanilla custard, filling until the molds are 3/4 full.  I had custard left.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds and freeze until almost completely solid, about 1 hour.  Fill the molds with the remaining root beer.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 2.5 hours or up to 3 days. (It is not recommended to use carbonated beverages in instant ice pop makers like Zokus).

Source:  Ice Pops:  Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats

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