A (Late) Summer Treat

We’re having a bit of a relapse of gorgeous, warm weather here, and it’s reminded me of a recipe I want to share:  homemade popsicles.  For most people, this will be strictly a warm-weather treat, so hopefully you still have a few of those days left before the chill of fall sets in, or maybe you live somewhere that’s sunny and warm all the time.  In that case, you can make these in February and think cheery thoughts for us northerners enduring the winter’s blizzards.

These popsicles are super easy to make.  All you need are a few basic ingredients and some kind of popsicle mold.  I bought one about two years ago for a few dollars, but you could also use small paper or plastic cups and wooden popsicle sticks.

Homemade Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles

Makes:  4 popsicles

  • 8 oz. vanilla yogurt (any flavor will work)
  • 1/3 cup diced kiwifruit (or other fruit)
  • 1/4 cup fruit juice, or enough to reach desired consistency/quantity (I used a combination of orange and freshly-squeezed mango)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, add extra juice to fill line, if necessary.
  3. Freeze until solid.
  4. Enjoy!
This recipe is quick, easy, inexpensive, healthy, and really delicious – how much better can it get?  Of course, you can make popsicles without the yogurt (or the fruit, for that matter), but it makes them so much smoother and creamier, so I definitely recommend adding it.  You could even add more yogurt and decrease the amount of juice, if you want an even smoother texture. 

There are about a million other variations you could do of this popsicle by simply changing the fruit or the flavor of juice or yogurt. I’m thinking strawberry-kiwi for next time, although it will probably have to wait until next summer.  If the cold has already set in where you live, but you don’t want to wait to make these, I say go for it.  Who says you can’t eat a popsicle with mittens on?

By the way, we enjoyed these refreshing popsicles after eating this scrumptious, summery meal:

Yep, that’s a BLT…with an egg.  You have to try it; it’s amazing!  Oh, and that sandwich just happens to be on homemade bread.  I did it!  And I found out it’s not as scary as I thought.  I’ll be back soon to share the details.  Until then, let’s all go eat something summery, just for kicks.

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We all Scream…for Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Ice Cream

What is it that makes homemade ice cream so delicious?  Is it the fresh ingredients?  The creamy, smooth texture?  Or the sense of accomplishment you get from knowing you really can make something that good from scratch?  I’d say it’s all of the above, and I bet you’ll agree after you try this ice cream. Which you should make as soon as possible, in spite of this poor quality photo that doesn’t do it justice:

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Ice Cream

Makes:  about 1.5 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups strawberries, quartered
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4-6 oz. dark and/or milk chocolate

Directions:

  1. Place strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse (mixing between pulses if necessary) until strawberry pieces are of desired size. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.
  2. In a medium saucepan, warm the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup half and half, milk, and salt over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warmed through.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Pour the warmed mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then pour mixture + yolks (this is your custard base) back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir constantly over medium heat, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (takes about 5-10 minutes).
  5. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup half and half into a large bowl. Add the custard base and stir in the vanilla and the strawberry puree.  Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, then cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
  6. Chop the chocolate into small, thin flakes (about 1/2 inch in length) and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Stir into the ice cream mixture just before churning.
  7. Churn ice cream mixture in your ice cream maker.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, try this method (using a handheld mixer): How to Make Homemade Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker

Or this one (using just your freezer and a spatula):  How to Make Ice Cream without a Machine

And now, a few comments and suggestions from me:

  • This recipe was originally for 2 quarts of strawberry ice cream, but I adjusted it for the size of my ice cream maker (and added the chocolate). You can easily convert it back to 2 quarts by dividing all the measurements by 3 and adding that on to the amount (use 6 egg yolks).
  • The recipe called for heavy cream and whole milk, but I like to keep my ice cream recipes light by using half and half and skim milk.  I find the result is still creamy and delicious, and I can have a bit more without feeling guilty!
  • If you like larger strawberry pieces in your ice cream but have trouble getting them that size in your food processor, chop up a handful of strawberries by hand and add them to your puree just before refrigerating it.
  • I used a mixture of milk chocolate and dark chocolate Hershey’s bars, but you can substitute packaged chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (miniatures would work well) if you prefer.
  • If your ice cream is a little too soft for your liking when it comes out of your ice cream maker (mine usually is), just stick it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to firm it up.
  • Lastly, just be sure to make this ice cream!  Garnish it with something cutesy like a leftover sugar cookie or a chocolate-covered strawberry, if you’re feeling fancy.  And share it with friends, because it’s so easy, you can always make more tomorrow.