Popsicle Swap

blood orange popsicles // sweetsonian

I told you about my office’s soup swap before, which we copied from Shaeda’s office on the Hill. But since soup swap started, our little creative office decided that soup is just not enough. We evolved with cheese swaps, cookie swaps, and with the recent heat waves, have moved on to popsicle swaps.

But seriously, DC was the hottest spot in the nation yesterday at noon. Hotter than Death Valley. DEATH. VALLEY.

Meanwhile, I took a lunch break trip to Marshall’s, and when my coworkers asked me how it was outside, my response was “not bad.” Who am I?

Anyway, our popsicle swaps happen every Thursday afternoon for a few weeks. Each week, three members of our team bring in enough of one kind of popsicle for everyone to try. You have one (or two) on popsicle swap day, and the rest are stored in the freezer for you to munch on later in the week.

It’s a nice little break for our little muggy office. I meant to make my own popsicles for the swap, but with catsitting this little dude, freelance and AirBnb, I’ve just been a little too busy. In honor of popsicle swap, I’ve pulled together a few of the recipes that I’m just dying to try for this summer.

In the market for some popsicle molds? These are my fave.

margarita popsicles // sweetsonian

Margarita pops, because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Look at that pretty green hue!

blood orange popsicles // sweetsonian

Blood Orange Popsicles — my favorite citrus fruit, ever.

honey yogurt berry popsicles // sweetsonian

Honey yogurt berry pops — creamy and relatively healthy.

greek yogurt fudgesicles // sweetsonian

Greek yogurt fudgesicles — probably my favorite way to eat Greek yogurt. Ever.

While you’re at it, check out some of my other Sweetsonian cold treats: 

almond ice cream // saltine brownie ice cream sammies // firecracker popsicles

mint chip ice cream // honey vanilla affogato // strawberries & cream icebox bars

And, if you’re not following along on social media, check out Sweetsonian here!

{ facebook // twitter // instagram // pinterest }

Recently Pinning: Sweet Things

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panna cotta rhubarb tart // strawberry pretzel tart // bourbon peaches & cream pops
puff pastry donuts // ritz cracker ice cream sammies // apple & dark chocolate wontons
trix krispies // caramel espresso lassi // brown butter waffle cake

With the summer heat in full-blast, I find myself craving easy, cold — fresh — desserts. Here are some of the recipes I’ve been pinning lately.

Hope you’re able to stay cool in this crazy heat wave.

And if you’re not following me on Pinterest yet, please do! 

Firecracker Popsicles

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My definition of “favorite holiday” has fluctuated over the years. As a kid, the Fourth of July was never really a big deal. It wasn’t like Christmas or a birthday — we didn’t get presents and there wasn’t any special sort of character that came to visit. I actually don’t remember many of my childhood Fourth of Julys… they were always relatively tame.

But in D.C., Fourth of July is the greatest holiday. Ever.

I remember when I was still working at the Department of Labor — there was a little yellow concessions stand right outside the main entrance, facing the Capitol Building and the National Mall. Rachel and I used to schlep outside on the hottest days (it was frigid inside because of the air conditioners) and we’d grab ice cream snacks.

Firecrackers were always my top choice. And when you’re in one of the most American places on the planet, every ice cream cart is well-stocked with Firecracker pops.

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I even proactively purchased popsicle molds just so I could make my own Firecracker pops this year — I purchased these ones from Amazon — and they came with popsicle sticks. And, I prefer the classic look.

So, popsicles are pretty easy, right? You make some sort of liquid, fill the molds, and freeze overnight. Well, I tried this with coffee, and the coffee came out so rock-hard-icy that it hurt my teeth. I figured that this time, I’d run each liquid through the ice cream maker so they would soften up. WRONG. Don’t do this. Most of the pops were too soft to be pulled out in once piece.

So I’ve adjusted the instructions below to eliminate what I actually did in practice. Running the mixtures through the ice cream maker actually incorporated too much air into the mixtures, which kept them from freezing solid. Not running them through the ice cream makers should do the trick.

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Firecracker Popsicles { Want more July 4th recipes? Check out my Fireworks Cupcakes and my Star-Spangled Tart from previous years }

Strawberry Sorbet, adapted from the Joy of Baking
1/3 cup simple syrup
2.5 cups strawberries, cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vodka
1 tablespoon Triple Sec

Blueberry Sorbet, adapted from Simply Recipes
2 cups fresh blueberries, stems removed
1/3 cup simple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of salt

Vanilla ice cream, adapted form David Lebovitz
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole or soy milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons bourbon

First, assemble the vanilla ice cream mix. Combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on it, and make sure it doesn’t boil over. Heat them until you start to get a nice froth on top, and immediately remove from the stove. In a mixing bowl, combine your egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract.

While whisking vigorously, gradually pour about 1/4 cup of the milk and cream mixture into your egg yolks and sugar. You really cannot whisk vigorously enough — you need to temper the yolks to ensure they don’t scramble. This is how we make a custard. Continue adding the hot milk in 1/4-cup increments until it is completely mixed. Filter the custard through a fine mesh sieve, and set aside in a jar. If you’re not one to wait around, set that jar in a bath of ice and salt water to speed the cooling process up. When it’s entirely cool, stir in the bourbon.

Then, create the other sorbets. This process is pretty easy — you just take all of the ingredients and pulse grind them in a food processor until the fruit is entirely pureed. Keep the strawberry and blueberry sorbets separate, and let chill in the refrigerator until the vanilla ice cream is cold.

Assemble the popsicles. First, spoon the blueberry sorbet into your popsicle molds. I’d go with 2-4 tablespoons in each mold, depending on the mold size. Go ahead and tap the counter with the popsicle molds a few times to get any bubbles out, and set in the freezer for at least two hours.

After the first layer is frozen, repeat with the vanilla ice cream mixture — spoon a bit into each mold, and tap on the counter. Freeze for one hour.

Then, fill the popsicles to the brim with the strawberry sorbet mixture. Insert popsicle sticks into each mold, and freeze overnight.

To remove, run the mold bases under warm water.