Before the summer is completely over (why does it fly by so terribly fast?), I wanted to share a couple of easy and delicious ice pop recipes I’ve made lately.  There are a dizzying variety of names for these frozen treats the world over – more even than I knew!  Wikipedia tells me the name popsicle is a US/Canada thing (in addition to being a Kleenex/facial tissue thing, since Popsicle is a tm branded product name too).  I know they’re called paletas in Mexico (growing up in Los Angeles we saw/ate as many of those as popsicles, I’d say), and I’ve been making as many recipes as I can manage from this amazing cookbook Paletas by Fany Gerson, which I highly recommend you run out and get asap.  But there are more names for these delicious treats just in English:

freeze pop – Ireland
ice lolly – UK and Ireland
ice block – some parts of Australia
ice pop/freezer pop – US
icy pole (!) – New Zealand

What they are, no matter what you call them, is cooling, refreshing, and absurdly easy to make at home.  Pretty much any liquid from thin to thick that you enjoy consuming as a liquid can be frozen into a pop mold and become a completely awesome snack on a hot day.  Here in the Northeast we had 2 solid weeks of close to 100 degree temperatures in early July, and Axel F and I ate a popsicle a day, easy.  Everyone that came over had one too.  August has been pretty mild so far, so I though I enjoy the temperance, I am hoping for at least one more summer heat wave so we can gorge on popsicles/paletas/ice pops once again.

I’m sharing two super easy recipes today, but as I said, whatever you like in liquid form will probably make a delicious pop (fruit juice, lemonade, smoothies, chopped or pureed whole fruit, pudding, flavored yogurt, even bloody mary mix!) – my only advice there is to make sure it’s sweeter unfrozen than you want it to be when you’re eating it frozen – the cold temperature dulls the sweetness a surprising amount.

And finally, you can get popsicle molds just about anywhere (any size and shape!) these days, but I really like this type a lot, which makes 10 at a time.  I usually take the time to unmold all 10 once they’re fully frozen, and wrap each one in its own little coat of plastic wrap, so it’s quick and easy to grab and eat one!

Coconut Paletas
adapted from Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson

1 15.5 oz can coconut milk (full fat is better than light, though light is ok)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
milk or half-and-half (I use milk very happily but of course half-and-half will be richer)
pinch of salt (optional – I forgot this last time and didn’t miss it)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (also optional – also forgot and didn’t miss it)

In a 4 cup measuring cup, combine the sweetened condensed milk and half the can of coconut milk and mix thoroughly so that it’s the same consistency throughout.  Add the remaining coconut milk and top off with as much milk or half-and-half needed to make a full 4 cups.  Add salt and vanilla if you want.  Stir or gently whisk to combine – encourage the sweetened condensed milk to dissolve into the rest.  Check the bottom to see if you have any sticky sweetened condensed milk lagging behind.

Pour into molds, filling almost to the top but not all the way, and freeze about 5 hours, until solid.  If you use the kind of pop molds with built in sticks (like these) you can put those right in from the start.  If you use the kind I linked to before (the kind I use), you should let the pops freeze about an hour before you stick in the wooden popsicle sticks.

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Pops

2 cups plain greek yogurt (any fat level is fine)
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries (halfway thawed, if frozen)
sugar to taste (this will depend on your strawberries)

In a bowl, cut up the strawberries into chunks and add some sugar – anywhere from 4 tablespoons to 1/2 cup.  Using a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, mash up the strawberries with the sugar until chunky but loose and sauce-like.  Add the greek yogurt and combine thoroughly.  Taste for sweetness – if it doesn’t taste very sweet to you, you’ll probably want to add more sugar.  Once the pops are frozen, they will taste much less sweet than the yogurt mixture tastes now.

Spoon into molds, filling almost to the top but not all the way, and freeze about 5 hours, until solid.  If you use the kind of pop molds with built in sticks (like these) you can put those right in from the start.  If you use the kind I linked to before (the kind I use), you should let the pops freeze about an hour before you stick in the wooden popsicle sticks.