Summertime. The perfect season to enjoy ice creams in its myriad of creative flavors, the additions of fruit, nuts, candies and the variety of edible presentations. However, ice cream can be laden with calories and be quite fattening. How to cool down with a tasty treat during these warmer days? Another alternative, of many, popsicles made with fresh fruits, juices, low-fat or non-fat yogurts…maybe a splash of a liqueur!
Popsicle Molds Are Not Created Equal
Retailers are offering different types of creative popsicle molds and features. While I reminisce about childhood icy treats in the form of fudgesicles, creamsicles and sweet n sugary colorful pops with wooden sticks nearing the end of an enjoyable mouth-numbing experience – creating my own posed questions to consider:
- How many popsicles are needed at a time (a family of several children, guests or just me and hubby)?
- Features of the mold. I want the option to easily have a middle section of the popsicle to add yogurt, other filling treats or another inside flavor.
- How large are the molds? I’d like to sometimes add slices of fruit.
- How easy is it to unmold the popsicle when I’m ready to serve?
- Use and need of wooden popsicle sticks versus molds with reusable handles. This was an important consideration for me. I didn’t want molds that required the use of wooden sticks… for environmental reasons, future expense and inconvenience should I run out of sticks.
- Some molds have built in cup-shaped bases in the handle that are suppose to catch drips. While this is a great idea, I found that if you’re not keeping an eye on how quickly your icy treat is melting into the drip tray, one slight tip of your hand has your sweet icy treat all over your shoes and clothes. Sticky.
The molds I used are from the Martha Stewart line of products and I’m very happy with the selection. I would’ve preferred a traditional popsicle shape, but I really liked that there’s an optional inside cavity for each popsicle mold so that I can easily create filled popsicles.
For my first go at popsicles, I found many recipes puréeing fresh fruits and adding sugar to create the popsicle body. Also, some recipes used for making granitas work well for frozen pops too. I tried it first with straight juice, filling it with non-fat Greek yogurt, adding blueberries as additional frozen treats within the pop. The results:
- Used straight juice without adding sugar. When the juice is frozen, it becomes even more tart. Hence most recipes adding sugar.
- I’ve become a Greek yogurt convert. The texture is creamy and it taste lusciously rich. I’ve come across recipes calling for Greek yogurt, but could never locate it in local markets so would instead substitute low-fat, plain yogurt. It’s becoming more popular in stores and I have been told that Costco is also carrying these protein-laden treats. It must have been my lucky strike, because a couple of days while looking for said Greek yogurt I found it. The last two on the shelf with my name on it!
- Using the non-fat yogurt leaves a slightly drying feeling on your tongue. If you’re making these for guests or children in mind, using the low fat or regular versions of Greek yogurt may be a creamier choice when the yogurt is frozen.
- When the juice in the mold freezes, it will slightly expand. Leave room at the top of your mold to accommodate for expansion.
- I mixed blueberries into the Greek yogurt. However, when the blueberries are frozen and your enjoying your popsicle, the blueberries are tart and strangely textured.
Orange and/or Cranberry Juice
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt, non-fat or low-fat
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
18-24 fresh blueberries
6 Popsicle molds (with tubing insert to easily add filling OR you can layer the yogurt)
– In a small bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract. Gently add blueberries.
– If you are using popsicle molds with tubing inserts, fill the mold with your choice of juice 3/4 full. Place the tubing insert in the mold (this will create a cavity in your frozen juice popsicle) and set in freezer for at least 1 hour or until the juice is solid. Remove the tubing insert that’s in the mold. Using a small spoon, fill with Greek yogurt mixture, dropping at least 3-4 blueberries in each cavity. Place popsicle handle/cap securely on top of the mold and freeze until completely set.
– If your molds did not come with a tubing insert, fill the mold with 1/2 juice. Place molds in freezer for at least 1 hour or until the juice is solid. Fill 1/4 more of the mold with Greek yogurt and drop in blueberries. Place popsicle handle/cap securely on top of the mold and freeze until completely set.
To remove popsicle from the mold, follow the directions it came with for unmolding. You can alternatively set the popsicles out for 5 minutes and run the molds under warm/hot water for 10 seconds to shimmy the popsicle out of the mold.
I have some other great ideas and flavors I’m working with and look forward to sharing them on TeenieCakes.com soon!
So what’s all the fuss about Greek Yogurt. If you’re interested in healthier alternatives, I encourage you to research more on the pros and cons of Greek Yogurts vs. Regular Yogurts for your dietary needs. These are some of the things I’ve been reading:
- Greek yogurt is higher in protein (can be more than double that of market brands).
- Lower in carbohydrates.
- Lower in sodium.
- Creamier and thicker consistency.
- Regular yogurt can have 2 – 3 times more calcium than Greek yogurt.
- Greek yogurt can be higher in fat and calories.
Disclaimer: I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist. If you are interested in the health benefits of Greek yogurt, please consult with a dietitian, nutritionist or start your personal research.