Fudge Pops

These beautiful little fudge pops are the world’s most perfect way to consume chocolate on a hot summer day. The girls and I love love love them. They are like eating a popscile and a big bowl of chocolate pudding all rolled into one.

Fudge Pop Recipe

This recipe is heavily inspired by (read pretty much lifted from) Matt Aramendariz’s On A Stick!

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, chocolate, and 1/4 cup of the milk until the chocolate is melted.

2. Add the rest of the milk and continue to stir until the mixture thickens (about 5-10 minutes).

3. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the mixture to cool for a minute or two. Add the vanilla and butter and stir well.

4. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds (use as directed) or small (5-ounce) wax-coated cups. If you’re using cups, fill 3/4 of the way and cover the top with plastic wrap. Puncture the plastic wrap with a popsicle stick and insert the stick into the chocolate mixture all the way down to the bottom of the cup. Place on a level surface in your freezer for four hours or overnight.

5. To serve, simply tear and peel the cup off of the pop. If you’re using popsicle molds, run them under warm water for a bit in order to loosen the mold.

Yield: 4 – 5 pops
Prep-time: 15 minutes (and another 4 hours in the freezer)

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Peachy Shaved Ice

I recently picked up 8 quarts of hail-damaged peaches that needed to be dealt with in a hurry. I decided it was time to squeeze one last frozen treat into our summer and make some granita. The Nectarine Granita recipe in David Lebowitz’s The Perfect Scoop served as my guide.

While it does need to freeze overnight, this is a relatively low maintenance and healthy frozen treat that does not require an ice cream maker. The only real pain was making room in my freezer. And the kids love it.

6 large ripe peaches (2 pounds)
1 cup water
1/4 – 1/3 cup honey (depending on preference and sweetness of fruit)
Tiny pinch salt

Wash, peel, and pit the peaches. I have a vegetable peeler that has little teeth on it that does the trick.* Place the pitted peaches and water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the fruit is soft.  Remove from heat and stir in the honey and salt.

Allow the peach mixture to cool. Transfer the mixture to a blender to puree or use a hand/immersion blender. When the mixture is smooth, pour it into a 8 x12-inch (or thereabouts) baking pan. Cover with with plastic wrap and place on a level surface in your freezer.

In a couple hours, peel back the plastic wrap and check on the peach mixture by giving it a stir from the outside in. Check it one or two more times through the course of the day moving the frozen edges into the center while stirring.

Eventually, the mixture will freeze solid. It always seems to need to sit overnight for me. But maybe your freezer will work faster than mine. When it is solid and you are ready to serve, simply scrape it with a fork until you have enough fluffy frozen goodness to fill your bowl. Return the remainder to the freezer covered with plastic wrap.

Yield: maybe 6 cups
Prep-time: 20 minutes
Freeze-time: overnight

*Note: If your peeler doesn’t cooperate, I’ve heard you can dunk peaches in boiling water for a minute, run them under cold water, and then the peel will come off easily.

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Easy Banana Ice Cream

I was recently confronted with a pile of over ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter. Eight of them in fact. We are in the middle of a hot hot summer here in Connecticut and I haven’t felt like making any sort of food for my family lately, much less special snacks. But somehow I stumbled across a recipe for Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches in Gourmet Today. Et viola!

This recipe is easy to pull together and you don’t need an ice cream maker. If you don’t have dulce de leche lying around, you could try replacing it with carmel sauce or maybe even some brown sugar to taste.

Next time I’ll make a double batch and get rid of more of my bananas. The kids were more than happy to eat it all up.

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ripe banana, peeled
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons dulce de leche
Butterscotch chips (optional)

Place the milk, cream, banana, lime juice, and dulce de leche in a blender. Process until smooth (about 60 seconds). Divide mixture between two ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. Serve topped with butterscotch chips or any other topping that tickles your fancy.

Yield: approximately 1 cup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Freezer time: overnight

Frozen Banana Pops, Four Ways

The key with frozen bananas is to use ripe, but not over ripe, bananas. The bananas in the picture below are perfect canidates. These are full of natural sugar, but not extremely mushy.

Peel two or three bananas and cut them into thirds. Insert wooden popsicle sticks into each piece of banana. Lay the pops in a flat-bottomed airtight container. Make sure that the bananas are not touching so that theydo not freeze together. Freeze for one hour or longer. If the bananas have been in the freezer for more than a few hours, you may want to let them sit out at room temperature for 5 or 10 minutes in order to make sure they are soft enough to eat.

 

1. Honey Crunch Banana Pops

I found this lovely treat at Baking Bites. It’s easy and a beautiful alternative to chocolate-covered bananas.

 

 

2. Chocolate-covered Banana Pops

Those of you who are pure of heart and more savvy than I in the kitchen would use some Valrhona melted in a double boiler. Me, I am haunted by a vague memory of the melted chocolate getting all clumpy when I made frozen banana pops years ago. If one bit of moisture sneaks into the chocolate or onto the banana, the chocolate goes from smooth to hellish in no time. Therefore, for this recipe, I enjoy the insurance policy that the coconut oil provides. Maybe I’ll work past it someday. But I doubt it because it’s pretty darn tasty as is.

It goes without saying that these treats are even more appealing rolled in sprinkles, finely chopped peanuts, or toasted shredded coconut. The banana pop in the picture above is covered with candy coated sunflower seeds.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chocolate bar, chopped into small bits)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (optional)

Microwave the chocolate and coconut oil in a cup on low power (10 or 20 percent) for 2-3 minutes. Stir well and microwave further if necessary, checking and stirring frequently. Dip the frozen banana into the melted chocolate once. (Excessive dipping creates a really thick chocolate shell that overpowers the banana.) Remove the banana from chocolate and allow the shell to set for one to two minutes. Roll in sprinkles, chopped nuts, or coconut before the chocolate sets, if desired. Serve.

 

3. The best of both worlds

Less apt to send your kids into a sugar coma and full of sweet crunchy goodness. Just drizzle some melted chocolate over #1 Honey Crunch Banana Pop.

 

4. Frozen Yogurt Banana Pops

This snack feels easier because you start with an unfrozen banana, throw it together, and pull it out of the freezer 6 hours later or whenever you need a quick cold treat.  

The jam and the ripe bananas make this healthy snack pleasantly sweet. It’s like eating a banana dipped in a thin layer of ice cream.

2 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into thirds
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon blueberry jam

Insert popsicle sticks into the base of each banana piece. Mix yogurt and jam together in a ramekin or small bowl. Dip each banana into the yogurt mixture or coat the banana using a spoon.

Place dipped bananas in a flat-bottomed airtight container on top of a sheet of wax paper. Allow to freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

 

More yummy banana possibilities I’ve seen around the food blogosphere recently:
Frozen Banana Bites from (never)homemaker via the healthy cooking goddessDebra Zambetti.
Frozen Bites (scroll down for Chocolate Peanut Butter Bananas) from Simple Bites.

Grapefruit Slush

This is easy and delightfully yummy, especially if you are a fan of grapefruit. The inspiration for this particular flavor combination came from the Amateur Gourmet’s Grapefruit Granita which has some nice photos of the preparation process that might be helpful if you’ve never made Granita before.

I’m guessing that grapefruit might not be every kid’s favorite fruit. My kids liked it. But more and more I’m thinking they are being reprogrammed by my endless snack experiments – another unexpected benefit of blogging.

Juice from 3 red grapefruits
Juice from 1 blood orange
1/4 cup agave nectar

Pour the juices into a medium mixing bowl. Add the agave nectar and whisk vigorously for a minute or two in order to make sure the agave has dissolved.

Trasfer the grapefruit mixture to a baking pan somewhere around the 8 x 8-inch size. It can be metal or glass. Cover with plastic wrap and move to your freezer. Allow to freeze overnight.

Before serving, scrape and scratch the frozen grapefruit mixture with a fork, creating little flakes of ice in the process. Serve in cups or bowls.

Yield: 3-4 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Freezer time: 8 hours

Frozen Fruit

I believe the picture says it all (red grapes and watermelon on a stick). Leave in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours. Thanks to Janet for the idea.

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Note for Young Ones:
As far as toddler safety goes, the grapes did not freeze solid during my experiment so they would be fine peeled and cut to the size your child prefers. The watermelon freezes very well and eats a lot like a popsicle at first. If your child is coordinated enough to hold on to the popsicle stick, it should work out well.

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Chocolate Banana Pops

[donotprint]My kids had a wonderful time making these and getting terribly messy in the process! This is the quickest way I’ve come up with to use up over ripe bananas lurking in the kitchen.[/donotprint]

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2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder (preferably dutch process)
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
2-3 bananas cut into 2-inch thick slices
Popsicle sticks

Mix sugar, cocoa powder, and flaxseed in a small shallow bowl. Roll the banana slices around in the powder mixture until coated. Transfer to plate and insert popsicle sticks. Serve immediately. The banana can sometimes slip around on the popsicle stick, but just eat it and try another one.

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