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10,000 Flavors

Keep It Strawberry, Silly

I admit it. I have somewhat of a bias towards the unusual flavors, the unexpected ones. The flavors that cause people to tip their heads a little at first, as if to say, “Huh? How could that possibly be… edible?” Yes, I love this tip of the head. Because it is so often followed by “Omigosh, but it’s SO good. I never would have guessed it!”

And yet. Sometimes you don’t feel like tasting a Chocolate Jalapeno or Balsamic Fig or Pinot Peppercorn ice pop (just invented those three on the spot, though stay tuned…). Sometimes you just want some good old-fashioned sweetness. For days like these, my friends, there’s this simple recipe based on the Strawberry-Vanilla Swirl pops in Shelly Kaldunski’s book, Ice Pops. Now, I’m not over the moon about the texture on these– the yogurt did a funny crystallization thing– but they were simple, delicious, and frankly kind of adorable.

Bath time for the strawberries.

Pucker up.

They were never the same after that.

Strawberry Puree, meet Vanilla Yogurt.

It was like they'd always been together.

The final stretch!

And here’s where I confess my newbie blogger’s mistake: I didn’t take a picture of the final results. I know! The shame! Thing is, these pops had to stand in for the rhubarb pops that weren’t yet frozen enough to take to the RhubarbBQ, and well, see, um, oh dear, how will I ever make it up to you? In any case, follow this recipe, and you’ll get to see these pops in person.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Strawberry-Vanilla Swirl pops:

2 1/2 cups strawberries, cut in half

2tbsp superfine sugar (pretty easy to find, but regular would probably be fine–or you can blend it to make the grains of sugar smaller).

1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups vanilla whole milk yogurt

Directions: Combine strawberries, lemon, sugar, and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Meanwhile, place 2 tbsp of yogurt into each mold. Top each with 2 tbsp of the strawberry puree and repeat until molds are full. Finally, use a paring knife to draw figure eights in each mold, swirling the two flavors together.

Freeze and enjoy!

The Rhubarbeque Special

For six years running, some dear friends of ours have held an annual “Rhubarbeque,” at their Seward duplex, known affectionately as Fort Awesome (long story). The idea, of course, is to celebrate this sour and precocious spring vegetable (fruit?) with inventive dishes like Rhubarb Salsa, Rhubarb Steak Rub, Rhubarbaritas… you get the idea. I’m reminded of that scene in Forrest Gump when Bubba goes on and on about the various ways you can prepare shrimp (shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo…pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp…)

Well with this year’s RBBQ around the corner, I decided to take the popsicle route this year, and on Friday night, while the rest of you were out doing Friday night things, I whipped up this batch of Rhubarb Ice Pops.

Here’s our wildly productive backyard rhubarb patch. That’s Wendell there, guarding it fiercely.

Here’s a closer look. Look at all of that sweet and sour goodness, waiting to be transformed! I grabbed about 6 stalks of it and brought them into my laboratory (pronounced la-BOR-a-tory).

There was chopping.

There was boiling.

It doesn’t take long for rhubarb to fall apart into its own sort of self-made puree. So, I separated the liquid from the puree using a strainer, combined the puree with a basic simple syrup and some heavy cream, and voila! Rhubarbsicles!

Soooooo delicious! Next time around, I might use more rhubarb, and try cooking it with sugar or honey, rather than using a simple syrup, but for now, I’m quite happy to have 6 of these puppies awaiting me in the freezer. Yum!

Is Spring Edible? Chocolate Lilac Pops!

It’s hard to think of anything– a sound, a smell, an event– that captures the feeling of spring as gloriously as lilacs do. What is it about that smell?! It’s intoxicating, and in a way, maddening– I find myself burying my nose in the blossoms just to get closer to it, and yet, even that isn’t enough. I don’t just want to smell it, I want to BATHE in it– or maybe to eat it?

Thankfully, lilacs are indeed edible, and that was all the go-ahead I needed to turn them into popsicles. I mean, that’s what we do, right?

So here goes. It started with the crazily-blooming lilac tree in our side yard. Pardon the cell phone photo.


I grabbed some particularly fragrant blossoms, and brought them inside, to combine with water and sugar into a simple syrup.

The resulting syrup, after straining out the blossoms, was a dream come true. It was the essence of spring, in a pan, on my stove. Slurp.

I got lazy about taking pictures when it came time to make the chocolate base. But basically, I melted a dark chocolate bar in a pan with milk and cream. Then, I combined it with the simple syrup and poured it into the molds.

Twenty-four hours later, the Chocolate Lilac pops (limited edition!) were mine to enjoy. I don’t think we’ve quite figured out the right “Fudgesicle” consistency yet (pudding trials coming soon), since the thickest chocolate sank to the bottom on these, but I will tell you that the combination of “eau de lilac” and chocolate was memorable indeed. Yum, yum, yum. Spring, I eat you!

Sweet Corn Pops: Summer on a Stick

Let it be known that my very favorite ice cream flavor is Sweet Corn (Thank you, Tara’s Organic Ice Cream in Berkeley, CA). And my second favorite is Basil. And my third favorite is Green Tea. Sure, Vanilla’s great and all, but I simply cannot resist those ice cream flavors that take a taste, or a smell, that I adore, and capture it in the creamiest, most evocative way. I am a sucker for virtually any food I love, turned into ice cream.

So, it’s no wonder that I can’t get enough of our Sweet Corn pops, and when I say “can’t get enough,” I mean, that I am eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, sure, dessert.

Amazingly, my business partner Sarah, CAN get enough of the Sweet Corn pops– she loves the idea, and acknowledges that they’re super-tasty, but is much more loyal to Watermelon Mint. She’s also is in the “R & D” phase of developing a new Raspberry White Chocolate flavor (stay tuned), which while it sounds tasty, I can’t imagine could top Sweet Corn. Sweet Corn is my master. It is, as one Art Crawl reveler noted, like Summer on a Stick. (Actually said reveler was referring to our Strawberry Basil flavor, but I take artistic license here).

In any case, enough people have FREAKED OUT about how delicious the Sweet Corn pops are, saying things like “It’s the perfect balance!” and “It comes out of nowhere…I can’t believe how good it is” that we’ve decided it’s a keeper. Coming soon to a farmer’s market near you.

Now for a peek into the process of making them.

The chopping.

The Great Infusion.

The big close-up.

Watermelon, Lavender, Coffee…Oh My!

It’s on, folks! Sarah Newberry (business partner!) and I have been practicing our pops lately, and this last one was an A-team batch, let me tell you! From left, that’s Watermelon Mint, Lavender Lemonade, Vietnamese Coffee, Strawberry Basil, and in the fuzzy distance there is Avocado Chocolate. Still working on texture issues with a couple of them, but overall… yum!!!!! Stay tuned for updates on where exactly you might be able to get your hands on some of these suckers… (pun kinda intended).

The Blackberry-Yogurt Breakthrough

Sweet tooth=satisfied.

You’ve read about our mistakes, our breakdowns, the moments when we doubted that an ice pop could be as glorious thing as I’d imagined when I first dreamed up 10,000 Licks. But we’ve had a flavor breakthrough, you see, and its name is Blackberry. Yogurt. Honey. Yeah, punctuated just like that.

I found the basic recipe on Smitten Kitchen, which is a site that you should be be reading rightthissecond if you, like me, enjoy big beautiful pictures of super tasty food almost as you like eating super tasty food. I have since discovered that the recipe, which originated in Bon Appetit, was actually developed by our quasi-competitors– People’s Pops in New York City. Oops. Luckily, the thing that really rocked this recipe was the raw honey that Sarah Newberry brought from her aunt’s hives in Canada. And that right there makes ours unique. More importantly, at this stage we’re just practicing flavor and consistency, and anything that works now will be tweaked until it’s both 1) irresistibly, addictively delicious and 2) uniquely ours and uniquely Minnesota. But on to the divine experience of making and eating these pops.

Miss Patty, gettin' her puree on.

During our popsicle practice session, we tried out three recipes, and Patty was in charge of this one. She began by making a simple syrup (classic ice pop ingredient, I’m learning), and while that was heating up, she pureed the blackberries in the blender. (By the way, we’d considered just not even trying fruit recipes at this stage, since virtually nothing’s in season–but upon reflection we decided it’s best to get the recipes down now, and modify them later once we have awesome, seasonal fruit to work with. After all, if a fruit pop tastes good with Chilean blackberries, it’s going to ROCK with the ones from my neighbor’s yard).

Once the berries were pureed, Patty smooshed them through some cheesecloth, which was the next best thing to a fine strainer (should probably buy one of those). Next, she combined 2 cups of that puree with lemon juice, honey, yogurt, and the now-ready simple syrup, and voila! They were ready to go in their molds.

Blackberry yogurt pops co-mingle with the other flavors.

By the next morning, these suckers were ready to be enjoyed. They were AMAZING. And I ate them near-daily until every last one was gone.

Not a great photo, but what an amazing pop!

Next up: The ginger creamsicle pops- divinely delicious, though probably better as ice cream.

Flavors So Far

I’ve compiled a non-comprehensive list of flavors that I’ve come across, of ice pops or otherwise, that have inspired me. Delicious! Now what am I missing?

  • Honey Lavender
  • Mojito
  • Rhubarb
  • Dinner Mint
  • Chocolate Earl Gray
  • Watermelon Rum
  • Peanut Butter Toasted Coconut
  • Mango Chile
  • Cherry Lime
  • Sweet Tea
  • Cherry Jalepeno
  • Rootbeer Float
  • Blueberry Vanilla
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Pineapple Basil
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Peace Coffee
  • Green Tea
  • India Pale Ale
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Potato Pie
  • Banana Split
  • Thai Iced Tea