In my first popsicle post, I mentioned in passing that I was actually playing around with something different before roasted strawberries and balsamic reduction. Something much less fussy: the humble fudgesicle.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love inventive recipes and unexpected flavors see: roasted strawberry, Greek yogurt, & balsamic reduction popsicles, for example… I loved those fancy pops. They were gorgeous, with a chameleon-like flavor that twisted and turned with each lick. But at the end of the day, simple and familiar wins with me. (And I think for you, too?) There’s not a lot that can compete with sentimentality, especially summer memories of sprinklers, swingsets, and bare feet.
While I wanted to replicate the classic treat’s flavor profile , I did mess with the ingredients a little. I bought a box of the real thing a few months ago, and was fairly appalled by the ingredients in an average fudgesicle: water, nonfat milk, high fructose corn syrup, liquid sugar, vanillin, and a bunch of other unpronounceable crap. I can do better than that, I thought.
I (and the rest of the known universe) have been on a coconut milk kick recently, and it seemed a fitting replacement for dairy in these puppies. Summer is a time for veganism, or near to it, in this household, and I don’t handle skim milk so well anyways. If you or the ones you love are also dairy-free, take heed: coconut milk makes the most fabulous fudgesicles you can imagine. I love the mild coconut flavor and the decadent mouthfeel. So much better than a drippy concoction of water, processed sugars, and chemicals, wouldn’t you agree?
The first coconut milk fudgesicle recipe I attempted was from Food52. I had all the ingredients on hand, it was a snap to whip up, and the flavor was spot-on. The texture, though? Eh. They were icy and drippy. After eating one on the way to work and making a huge mess of my shirt, I started thinking about ways to improve the texture. How to make it more…ice creamy?
The answer, it turns out, is basically to make ice cream, and then freeze it in a popsicle mold. Duh. (Okay, this was admittedly a bit of an epiphany for me.) If you don’t have an ice cream maker, don’t despair. Neither do I! The basic idea is to freeze the chocolate milk mixture in ice cube trays, then blend into soft serve-like consistency before re-freezing in popsicle molds. Mysteriously, my yield dropped from eight to six fudgesicles using this method, but some of the mixture may have been diverted into my mouth instead of the molds.
I’m not entirely sure of the science behind it, but I think the success of this freeze, blend, refreeze method hinges on whipping air into the mixture to prevent the growth of big ice crystals. I picked up this trick in the seventh grade from a recipe for cantaloupe sorbet (and for the record, only remember it because the sorbet was such an awful flop). For fudgesicles, though, this method is gold.
If plain old chocolate isn’t adventurous enough for you, you could always spice these up (literally!) with cayenne and cinnamon, raspberry puree, peppermint extract and chocolate shavings, a peanut butter or cajeta swirl…I’m looking forward to tinkering with all these combinations and more this summer.
Until then, enjoy this simple recipe made with things you probably already have in your pantry. Hooray for simplicity!
- 1 can coconut milk (2 c.)
- 2 Tbsp. agave syrup
- 2 tsp. stevia powder
- 1/4 c. (1 oz.) cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, with no cocoa lumps remaining.
- With an ice cream maker: Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions until frozen to a thick milkshake-like consistency.
- Without an ice cream maker: Pour mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze 2-3 hours, until just solid. (I had about 1/2 c. extra that didn't fit into the tray--freeze this in a small container.) Remove cubes to your blender and blend until smooth.
- Spoon into popsicle molds, insert sticks, and freeze 4 hours, or until solid. Run molds under warm water to loosen fudgesicles from the mold.