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10,000 Foibles

Chai-Tastrophe

I’ll admit, it’s tempting, after last weekend’s wildly successful popsicle practice session, to skip ahead to all that good stuff and tell you all about the downright divine ice pops we came up with. But I’m afraid that first you’ll have to suffer with me through a play-by-play of the popsicle session before the one that succeeded. I like to call that episode, Chai-Tastrophe. Because it was.

Now, I’ve heard it said that “you can freeze anything and turn it into a popsicle!” but friends, I’m here to tell you that that is not the case. Because I’ve tried. Apple cider? Sticky, sugary ice cubes. Cherries in milk? I should have known. But surely, I thought, SURELY Masala Chai, that most creamy and soothing of beverages, will make a good ice pop.

Here’s my not-so-secret recipe for a delicious pot of chai– it’s tried and true.

Ingredients:
4 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods (crush them and use only the seeds and stuff on inside)
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 piece ginger, about the size of a small grape, peeled and chopped
1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cups milk
2 cups water
2 tbs Turbinado sugar (not sure what the distinction is)
2 tbs black tea, preferably Assam

Boil the spices with the water for about 7 min. In the meantime, heat the milk on low. When spice/water mixture has boiled for about 7 min, add the sugar and warmed milk. Remove the mixture from heat. Add the tea leaves; steep for 4 minutes (or until a nice, light brown color). Strain. Enjoy! Now here’s me making a pot of chai in the hopes that I’ll be able to freeze it into magical ice pops…
The water-and-spices part smells amazing!

Yum– here’s where you pour the tea leaves into the milk-and-spices concoction!

And once it’s steeped for a few minutes…. the results! Freaking delicious. But wait there’s more.  Because next I pour the remaining liquid into ice pop molds. And you have to admit– they’re adorable! I ask you: How could they not be delicious frozen when I could have slurped each of them up right then, and been deliriously happy?

I tucked them each in with their little hats…

Then into the freezer they went! And twenty-four hours later, when I opened up our freezer to enjoy a nice cold pop after a sub-zero walk… what did I find?!?? Viewer discretion advised.

Yuck. Icy, mealy, flavorless yuck. Next up… the big breakthrough!

Attempt #1: Cherry Not-So-Pops

What, exactly, does it take to start a business? Frankly, I have no idea. Nor do I know if my off-the-wall idea to start a popsicle business is ill-fated, or absolutely brilliant. I looked into what it would take licensing-wise to get up a mobile food cart, and it was all so confusing that smoke started to come out my ears. Something about how you can only sell frozen treats from a mobile cart if they’re pre-packaged? Can I pre-package mine? Hmmm. This may be my biggest obstacle.

Not that I’m doing so hot so far on the actual popsicles. Despite a running start, thanks to the Sitlers’ gift of a rather adorable popsicle mold, I haven’t yet produced any successful popsicles.

My first attempt–something simple: cherry popsicles. Keep it simple, right? Well, rather than resorting to a recipe (I’m a crazy popsicle maker! I don’t have time for recipes!), I just winged it, and took some cooked-down sour cherries that I’d simmered in sugar, mixed them with some Organic Valley whole milk, strained out the cherries after awhile, and poured the remaining concoction into the molds. So easy! Right?

Well, no. Many hours later I went to try my spunky little icy pops and I came upon two discouraging realities: 1) When I pulled the plastic stick to remove the popsicle from its mold, the stick came out but the popsicle stayed. Doh! 2) They tasted terrible. Way too sweet, and weirdly grainy. Yuck!

Thus, next time I’m using a recipe. And wooden sticks. Stay tuned for my next attempt.