Sometimes you have a culinary goal, like learning to make a good pot of rice or shredding a whole chicken. Other times, the goal of cooking finds you.
My current lollipop-making crush falls straight into the second category. It’s an accident. It went like this: Several years ago when I was in Freeport, I parked my standard Casco Bay Cutlery & Kitchenware stand. I go for the dogs – usually one or two large, quiet dogs are walking around the store, or snoozing, ready to accept a pat. And I choose kitchen utensils – like dogs, another category that relentlessly attracts me.
To celebrate its anniversary, Casco Bay Cutlery has had a prize draw, and you can sign up for two of a handful of potential prizes. Like everyone else who visited the store that day, I jotted down my name for the fancy Le Creuset bowl I coveted but couldn’t justify spending several hundred dollars on. I didn’t need, or even want, any of the other prizes, so, for example, I chose the $15 plastic popsicle molds as another potential prize.
Guess who you won?
For several years, the molds, in their box, remained on a shelf in my basement, where I kept my surplus kitchen utensils. But last summer’s near-standard heat, combined with my refusal to install air conditioning (dealing with climate change by getting worse?), drove me to popsicles. Since then, I’ve been trying to prepare repertoire.
And what a pleasure! Some cooking – preparing dinner when you’re tired – is a chore. Some cooking – learning to bake sourdough – is a challenge. Some cooking is a ritual—for me, these are Sunday morning pancakes. And some, like making popsicles (or popcorn, is that a “pop”?), are just plain fun. They are fun to eat, too. It’s hard to be sad or angry when you have a sundae in hand.
Speaking of fun, I just learned through a recent controversy on Twitter, if you can call it, what the English call lollipops: Lolly ice. Or is it an ice lolly? That’s what all the fuss is about.
It is possible to make complex lollipops. Abby Frithi, of Greenville-based Wicked Maine Pops, who said she makes “thousands and thousands” of popsicles every summer, recently teamed up with Belfast-based The Only Donut to make a coconut cream popsicle. It has involved dipping cakes in coffee from Downshift coffee in Belfast, cutting soaked cakes into slices, tossing them into a custard base and I don’t know what everything else is. She said the lollipop was incredibly delicious. I have no doubts. But I’ll leave this genre to the professionals.
A big part of what I love about making lollipops is that the reward-to-work ratio is high.
The most complex popsicle I’ve tried is what I call my national pop, because I’ve been choosing stripes of red (sour cherry), white (slightly sweetened coconut milk), and blue (raspberry) in honor of July 4th. Strawberries for the red too, and plain Greek yogurt for the white. Honestly, it was a little painful, because instead of one mixture, I had to make three. Laundry was also more difficult.
Also, patriotic pops require a lot of patience. For strips, you should wait long enough (up to an hour and a half, depending on your freezer) before pouring the second layer, and then the third. Otherwise, you will have an artistic experiment with the color palette: mix the primary colors with blue, red for the secondary violet, etc. Alternatively, you can leave the layers mostly but not completely to solidify and go for a tie dye effect. Whichever happy fourth. For a traditional Maine Independence Day salmon and pea dinner, I suggest adding popsicles to things.
The two most popular lollipop flavors these days are fruit-flavored SpongeBob SquarePants lollipops, gumball-eyes cotton candy and Sonic the Hedgehog’s blueberry sundae, said Ryan Lowe, who’s been driving an ice cream truck in neighborhoods across Portland for more than 20 years. Come on kids, there’s no such thing as blueberries. He said the two were “Sellers No. 1”, and his attempts to get rid of them had gradually failed.
“This is the world we live in,” Lowe said resigningly. “It should all be flashy and on top now.”
In comparison, my lollipops aren’t flashy in the least and have nothing to do with Paramount or Pixar. Here are some of my personal favorite flavors I’ve made: avocado, lemon, mint, banana, tahini, fudge, strawberry, rhubarb, Vietnamese coffee, apricot, lavender, and ginger, which I topped with two-flavored Greek yogurt with a stick. very beautiful. Well, maybe that was a little flashy? That was the lollipop I had on a hot May day when my neighbor, Jane Rowland, and I were working in the garden together. It was cool with beer.
I also tried making pickle lollipops, a flavor I came across many years ago when I lived in Texas. Apparently, these products have gone nationwide and are sold by Walmart and Amazon. For my version, I added a small amount of honey to the brine left over from Morse’s B&B pickle, poured the mixture into molds and froze it. The next day, I was given a lollipop of pickle licking – Kapow! a hit! This kicking lollipop probably isn’t for everyone, but if you find yourself in Houston in the summer, it’s a winner. You don’t know what the heat is until you’ve spent an August day in Houston.
I was making lollipops to please myself, but after speaking with Louie, I wondered what young children would think of my handiwork. What you need is a team of experts. Another neighbor, Chelsea Bellevue, mother of 4-year-old Tilly, has kindly volunteered to gather experts and host a sundae party if I’m going to serve up popsicles. In the end, 11 kids, ages 4 to 9, came along. At least I think she was eleven years old. Among the dog, CoraJane, who gave the lollipops a curious sniff; children; parents; Quick-dissolving popsicles. Happy Mess and Costumes (yes, I’m not sure how that happened), I didn’t get a good number.
On the menu: Patriotic Pops, Banana – Tahini – Fudge, Strawberry – Rhubarb Popsicles. I can’t say I got high scientific scores from my taste panel either. Mostly, by a show of hands for favorites that may be Have you been strawberry-rhubarb? I can say with certainty that the National Pops were divisive, which should have occurred to me early on and which, oddly enough, reflects the current state of politics in America. I mean, what if you were a kid who liked cherries but didn’t like blueberries, or coconuts but didn’t like cherries?
I spoiled my banana and tahini fudge. I had borrowed a lollipop mold and couldn’t figure out how to separate the lollipops from it. I ended up leaving the molds in warm water for too long, so the popsicles started to melt. Even without 11 babies around, opening pacifiers is always a heart-wrenching moment. Connor Bellevue, who was hosting the party with his wife Chelsea, saved me from feeling like a failure. Banana, tahini, and fudge popsicles, he shouted from the picnic table, were “rich, delicious, sticky and buttery.” Many children, not interested in making me feel better, objected to the texture of the soup.
On the other hand, with the exception of the banana, tahini, and fudge lollipops that turned into soup and couldn’t be eaten, the remaining lollipops were gone, and the whole group volunteered to come back at any time to test more flavours. A few children made requests, for and against coconuts.
What does summer tell you? To me, it’s swimming in the lake, stone fruits, ants in the kitchen, the smell of honeysuckle, the sound of crickets, and from now on, homemade popsicles.
NBPopsicle molds are not completely standardized, so you may find that you are making slightly more or less lollipops than stated in these recipes.
Banana and tahini candy lollipops
I love the Smiling Hill Chocolate Milk here. The recipe makes a fudge and satisfying chocolate lollipop more interesting than anything you can buy, although eaters may not be able to determine just why.
fruit: 6-8 lollipops
2 cups high quality chocolate milk
1/4 cup tahini
2 ripe bananas, mashed well
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Set aside ¼ cup of milk chocolate. Combine the rest with the tahini in a medium saucepan on the stove. Add banana and salt. Stir to combine, then sear the milk, in other words, heat over medium heat to just below boiling, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, whisk ¼ cup chocolate milk and cornstarch together until lumps are gone. Stir the cornstarch mixture with the pasteurized milk and bring to a slow boil. Boil slowly, stirring all the time, until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Take it off the fire. If you prefer a softer lollipop, puree the mixture using an immersion blender.
Let the flavored milk cool, then pour it into the molds and freeze for at least 7 hours. When you’re ready to eat them, loosen the molds by placing the molds in a plate of warm water for 30 seconds or less; The lollipops should slide out.
Strawberry and rhubarb popsicles
Yield: about 8 lollipops
1½ cups sliced rhubarb
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
One orange flavor
1/2 vanilla bean, divided lengthwise
1½ cups strawberries cut into quarters
1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
Combine the rhubarb, sugar, water, and husks in a medium saucepan on the stove. Pour the vanilla seeds into the mixture and toss in the capsule as well. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is softened and begins to crumble. Turn off the heat and add the strawberries and salt. Cool the fruit mixture to room temperature. Remove the vanilla bean.
In a food processor or blender, combine the fruit mixture with the yogurt. Pour into lollipop moulds. Freeze for at least 7 hours. loosen the molds by placing the molds in a dish of warm water for 30 seconds or less; The lollipops should slide out.
vietnamese coffee lollipops
The internet confirmed what we all already knew: I thought I was a genius to come up with this flavor idea for a sundae, but a lot of people got ahead of me. This version is adapted from that of former food blogger and pastry chef Chez Panisse David Lebowitz. I added cardamom.
Yield: about 6 lollipops
5-6 tablespoons of coffee beans
8 cardamom pods, or as desired
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
Crush cardamom seeds. Coffee preparation. Mix two cups of coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Pour mixture into molds and freeze for at least 7 hours. When you’re ready to eat them, loosen the molds by placing the molds in a plate of warm water for 30 seconds or less; The lollipops should slide out.