In my house, popsicles are the ultimate treat year round. It’s not uncommon (if a little odd) for my son to request one after a serious, sub-zero sledding session in winter. So they’re the one treat I let my kids pick out at the store without any restrictions. You can imagine the artificial colors and flavors and mountains of sugar in the ones they choose, but it’s their one indulgence and I honor it. At least, I did until my aunt gifted us a Zoku popsicle maker.
At first, I worried it would be just another single-use appliance that I’d only use occasionally and have to find a place to store. But I was wrong. One morning, not wanting to dump an untouched smoothie, I thought to give the Zoku a test run. It had been waiting in the freezer for this very moment. Since my kids love a good smoothie, I figured they might like a frozen version. To say that they loved them would be an understatement – the kids finished off the first batch of popsicles in a matter of minutes, and couldn’t wait to come up with another flavor.
Now “smoothiepops,” as we call them, are all the rage in our house. We’ve experimented with just about every fruit, yogurt, and juice combination you can think of, and we each have our favorites. Most of our popsicles start with Greek yogurt and fresh or frozen fruit. (If I’m at the helm, I’ll also sneak in some spinach.) Just mix the ingredients in a blender or food processor, pour, freeze, and you’re done.
The Zoku is great when you want pops in a flash, as they freeze in a matter of minutes and the sticks can be reused. But you don’t need one to make the recipes below. There are a plethora of options where it comes to homemade popsicles, including standard bar molds, fun silicone shapes, or just old-fashioned Dixie cups. Most grocers and stores like Target have them. These standard molds are easy to use and inexpensive, but take 2-3 hours to freeze liquids solid.
With summer upon us, I’ve been making bigger batches and storing the pops in freezer-safe bags. It’s easy to make adult popsicles, too – they make a great dinner party dessert; so feel free to add a bit of your favorite liquor. (Think frozen margarita on a stick – yum!) Young or old, who doesn’t love an ice-cold treat when temperatures start to rise?
1. Creamy strawberry coconut popsicles
1/3 cup coconut milk or 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh strawberries
2. Key-lime pie popsicles
1/2 cup Key-lime yogurt
1 heaping tablespoon vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon Key-lime juice
1/3 cup crushed graham crackers
3. Tropical popsicles
1/3 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup coconut water
4. Chocolate banana popsicles
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons Milo (or chocolate Ovaltine)
To make any of these popsicles, just blend, pour, freeze, and enjoy!