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This is the perfect time of year to read the Ultimate Guide to Homemade Popsicles!

ultimate guide to homemade popsicles

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HOMEMADE POPSICLES

Frozen treats are a staple in my home all Summer long!  That’s why I was determined to put together a comprehensive Ultimate Guide To Homemade Popsicles post.

Whether it’s creamy or fruity pops, silky smooth ice cream or a frosty granita, it doesn’t much matter to us.  As long as it’s refreshingly frozen and tucked away in the freezer, we’re very happy campers!

But, before you run to the grocer’s for the ingredients, there’s some basic guidelines and tips that you’ll need to ultimate guide to homemade popsiclesknow

You’d be surprised how easy it is to made lovely looking, but hard slabs of ice that can break a tooth!  The best pops possess a smooth texture, fine ice crystals and are easy to bite into. 

But you needn’t worry!  Just print out my POP PRIMER PDF that’s got all the tips and guidelines you’ll need to have at your fingertips when making homemade popsicles.

I’ve also shared several popsicle recipes that I think you’re going to love.  There’s a few examples of some simple ways to “gild the lily” with some plain pops too. 

Just wait until you get to my recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Crackle Topping!  Talk about kicking it up a notch!

  • Creamy Coconut and Tropical Fruit Popsicles
  • Triple B’s – Banana, Blackberry and Brownie Pops
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Crackle Topping
  • Fruity and Frosty Popsicles

 

And then we discuss how to present your delicious homemade popsicles to your guests for a fabulous Summer dessert option.  I’ve created some really adorable POP STICKERS that are printed on full-page adhesive labels. How cute are those pops in the image above?

We’ve got lots of information to cover today in my Ultimate Guide to Homemade Popsicles, so let’s hit the ground running, shall we?

START BY CHOOSING YOUR POPSICLE BASE

You can make homemade popsicles from almost any ingredients you can think of.  There’s a world of combinations thatmango nectar in a glass with a cut mango can produce incredibly flavored pops, but all ingredients are not created equal!

Here’s the three most important principles to consider when formulating your popsicle recipe: 

  • THE FURTHER THE INGREDIENT IS FROM THE COMPOSITION OF PURE WATER, THE LOWER THE FREEZING POINT WILL BE
  • SUGAR LOWERS THE FREEZING POINT OF INGREDIENTS AND KEEPS THE BASE MOLECULES FROM FORMING HARD SLABS OF ICE
  • ALCOHOL FREEZES AT A MUCH LOWER TEMPERATURE THAN WATER – DEPENDING ON THE PROOF, THE FREEZING POINT CAN BE NEGATIVE 173°

 

The best idea is to dissolve the sugary recipe ingredient into your popsicle base.  This produces pops with a nice, smooth texture and will allow the flavors to evenly distribute throughout the pop.

So, what kind of bases can you use to make delicious homemade popsicles?  Keep in mind, you don’t have to choose just one!  Layered pops are so much fun to make!

  • Softened ice creamultimate guide to homemade popsicles
  • Strong coffee or tea 
  • Softened sherbet
  • Coconut cream/coconut milk
  • Prepared puddings
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Gelatin in liquid form  (flavored or unflavored)
  • Frozen yogurt/non-frozen yogurt
  • Fruit or vegetable juices (yes, I’ve even made gazpacho appetizer pops with tomato juice!  They were fab!)

 

The high sugar content that naturally occurs in most fruit juices make nicely fine-textured pops that are a pleasure to bite into!

Want to add some chunks of fruit, chocolate or other mix-ins? 

The thickness of smoothies, puddings and yogurts help suspend them within your pop’s base, and make your finished pops gorgeous!

INGREDIENT FLAVORS AND INTENSITY DULL WHEN FROZEN

I find that very ripe, or even slightly over-ripe fresh fruits are the best flavorings for popsicles.  They contain natural sugars that contribute to the sweetness of the pop, while adding texture and smoothness to the popsicle base.

After tasting your fruit, you’ll probably still want to add a sweetener like honey, maple syrup or a simple sugar syrup.

The intensity of flavors and sweetness dulls somewhat during the freezing process, so all your flavors need to start out strong.  Keep that in mind when tasting your base, and when in doubt, add a little more flavoring or sweetener!

 

ultimate guide to homemade popsicles

 

IT’S GETTING MOLDY IN MY KITCHEN – The World of Popsicle Molds

There are lots of different popsicle molds on the market these days, if you haven’t looked lately, you’ll likely be amazed and dazed!

ultimate guide to homemade popsiclesDon’t get intimidated, just try to keep in mind the kind of pops you want to make on a regular basis, and buy an appropriate mold.

For example, my Creamy Coconut and Tropical Fruit Popsicles are made with a combination of plain cream, cream of coconut (think Coco Lopez) and coconut milk.   

But, those ingredients also produce a dreamy, creamy pop that tends to be soft in texture.  That means you must use a flexible silicone popsicle mold when making this type of pop.

white silicone popsicle moldBut, on the other hand, popsicles made with fruit juices or high liquid bases need to be frozen in traditional hard-sided molds like the one pictured above.

In all honesty, since there is such a large choice of molds, most are fairly inexpensive.  So, while you’re shopping, I’d truly advise you to get one flexible mold and one hard-sided, traditional mold.  

With both types of molds in your kitchen arsenal, you’ll be equipped to produce practically any popsicle recipe that you’d like to make.

 

If you don’t have a popsicle mold, or just want to get crazy-creative, try these options:

  • Shot glasses
  • Ice cube trays
  • Muffin tins
  • Small paper cups
  • Specialty shaped flexible molds in cubes or spheres

 

NOW’S THE TIME TO ADD SOME YUMMY “EXTRAS”

If you want to add some yummy stuff to your plain pops, now’s the time!banana blackberry and brownie pops on ice in silver tray

Most add-ins should be placed in the molds before adding the base. If you’re using a thick base like pudding or yogurt, adding them between layers of the base will keep them suspended.

I’ve got some inspirational ideas for you to add to your homemade popsicles:

  • Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pecan or peanuts
  • Small decorative candies
  • Seeds, such as poppy, sesame, pumpkin or sunflower
  • Hard candies, crushed or ground
  • Chocolate, butterscotch or flavored chocolate chunks or chips
  • Broken cookies, graham crackers, sugar wafer cones or brownies
  • Spices, colored sugars and citrus zest

 

NAN’S TIP:  DON’T BE TEMPTED TO PUT GUMMIES IN YOUR POPSICLES.  THERE’S NOTHING GUMMY ABOUT A ROCK-HARD BEAR IN THE CENTER OF YOUR POPS!

 

LET’S TOSS THESE FAB POPS IN THE FREEZER

Here’s the frozen facts for making perfect pops in your home freezer:

  • Adjust your freezer to its coldest temperature, which should be around Zero degrees F ( -18°C)
  • Avoid opening the unit while freezing your popsicles
  • Clear only as much space in the freezer as needed to fit the pops, but still allow air to circulate around the molds
  • Having the freezer filled with other frozen items will help your pops freezer faster 
  • Place the pop molds in the coldest portion of your freezer
  • Smaller pops take less time to freeze, but I still recommend freezing all your pops for at least 24 hours before unmolding
  • Keep the pops in their molds as long as possible to avoid freezer burn, or wrap individually with plastic wrap
  • Leave a 1/4 -1/2 inch head-space when filling your molds to allow for expansion during freezing (ingredients with more air, like smoothies, will expand more than fruit juices)

 

NAN’S TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR POP STICKS STRAIGHT –

  • Use molds with tops that allow the sticks to snap on the lid to remain straight
  • Let your pops partially freeze and insert sticks in the slushy mixture
  • Cover the mold with aluminum foil and push sticks though to hold in place

 

CAN WE EAT THESE BEAUTIES YET?

ultimate guide to homemade popsicles

When it’s time to unmold your homemade popsicles, you want to have everything ready in your kitchen first!

If you plan on packaging your pops for a party (I’ve covered that fabulously a little later in this post!), then make sure you have the bags, decorations and ties/ribbons all ready to go.

Because of the nature of flexible silicone molds, you unmold softer pops by peeling the mold away from the popsicle.  Take your time and be gentle.

Think how bummed you’ll be if you break some of our fabulous pops right before you want to serve them!  DO NOT USE HOT WATER ON SILICONE MOLDS, YOU’LL MELT YOUR POPS!

On the other hand, if you want to run a little warm-to-hot water on a hard-sided mold, I won’t complain. If you’re in a hurry, this is the fastest way to go!

 NAN’S TIP:  I personally prefer to let the mold sit on the counter a few minutes instead.

I’ve found when using the hot water method, it can make the temperature of the unmolded pops uneven, causing soft spots to form before serving.

 

 

 

mini banana pudding pops dipped in nutella crack topping and nuts on green tray

 

NOW IT’S TIME TO “GILD THE LILY” IF YOU DESIRE

banana pudding pops dipped in green chocolate and sprinklesOnce you’ve unmolded your pops, you can choose to enrobe them with a candy coating or dip them in nuts.

My banana pudding pops are absolutely heavenly when dipped in my Chocolate Hazelnut Crackle Topping and covered with chopped hazelnuts!

And if you want to get into some double-dipping, you can try something like these pops. 

  • Melt some green chocolate coating and dip your pops in, then quickly cover with sprinkles before coating hardens OR

banana pops dipped in chocolate hazelnut topping and yellow chocolate

 

  • After letting the crackle topping harden completely, I dipped them into some melted yellow chocolate and used some sprinkles.  Talk about getting a little fancy!

As you can see, there’s no limit to how many ways you can “gild the lily” when it comes to your homemade popsicles.

NAN’S TIP: MAKE SURE YOUR MELTED CHOCOLATE HAS COOLED BEFORE DIPPING POPS, OR THE POPS CAN START MELTING INTO THE CHOCOLATE COATING

 

PERFECT POPSICLE PRINTABLES – The Pop Primer PDF

When it’s time to make your popsicles, you don’t have to panic!  Just print out my  6 page Pop Primer and you’ll be ready to roll

popsicle primer pdf coverIt’s got all the guidelines and tips you’ll need to make fabulous pops, whether they’re creamy, fruity or frosty!  It’s great to have all the information at your fingertips when you have the Pop Primer on the kitchen counter to guide you.

When it comes to making homemade popsicles, there are some guidelines and tips that can make the difference between failure and success.

Different ingredients freeze at different temperatures, thus making the process of making homemade popsicles a little tricky.

Plus, you’ve got to consider the amount of air inside the ingredients and how to keep your pops from being hard slabs of ice.

As this article will show you, there’s a little more to making fabulous popsicles than just pouring liquid into a mold.

That’s exactly why I created my “Pop Primer”.  It’s a “cheat-sheet” that will make sure you know exactly how to work with any ingredients you want to make pops with.

My 6 Page downloadable PDF is full of the facts you’ll want on hand to make perfect popsicles each and every time.

Click on the image to download your copy of the Pop Primer today!

 

CREAMY COCONUT AND TROPICAL FRUIT POPSICLES

A creamy coconut base with chunks of tropical fruit make every bite an island-worthy experience! Try these luscious pops with all the fruits you love.  And you don’t need to stay tropical either, try grape halves or berries, both would be fabulous.

ultimate guide to homemade popsiclesTHE NITTY-GRITTY ON CREAMY COCONUT POPS

There’s nothing gritty about these deliciously creamy pops!  But that’s exactly why we need to talk about the texture and firmness of any pops made with these ingredients.

Creamy Coconut and Tropical Fruit Popsicles are made with a combination of plain cream, cream of coconut (think Coco Lopez) and coconut milk.  That’s a lot of coconut flavor in one pop!  

But, those ingredients also produce a dreamy, creamy pop that tends to be soft in texture.  That means you must use a flexible silicone popsicle mold when making this type of pop.

To also help counteract the soft final texture of this recipe, I added a package of unflavored gelatin to the mixtureThe addition of the gelatin helps bind the ingredients together into a firmer final product and helps the pop melt slower.  Both good things!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE FOR CREAMY COCONUT AND TROPICAL FRUIT POPS 

 

FRUITY AND FROSTY POPSICLES

fruity and frosty popsicles in silver bucket with umbrella straws

What a fabulously easy and delicious popsicle recipe this is!  Fruity and Frosty Popsicles use sweet fruit nectars as the base for a simple and fast popsicle recipe.

Then adding any type of fruit you like, ups both the nutritional and yum factors! 

This particular recipe uses either mango or strawberry-banana nectar.  You can usually find it in the Latin American/Mexican ethnic section of your grocers in  pop-open cans. 

The fabulous thing about using fruit nectars is that they contain most of the sweetness necessary for your Fruity and Frosty Popsicles.

I did add some honey to the recipe though, as some fruits aren’t as sweet as we would like, right?

Fruit nectars are also a bit thicker than most fruit juices, so that makes them perfectly suited to use as a popsicle base.

And when you add some mashed banana to the mixture, that extra thickness helps suspend pieces of fruit in the pops without all sinking to the bottom.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE FOR MAKING FRUITY AND FROSTY POPSICLES

 

TRIPLE B’S – BANANA, BLACKBERRY AND BROWNIE POPS

Smooth and creamy banana pudding pops punctuated with sweet fresh blackberries and chunks of chocolate brownie, turns a popsicle into a sublime culinary experience!

Making these pops are a snap since you use packaged banana pudding as the base.  I’ve left it up to you whether you use banana blackberry brownie pops on ice in bowl with fruit and brownieinstant or cook and serve pudding.

Use the type you prefer, but please note that this recipe was tested with the cooked variety.  I use instant pudding all the time in recipes, but I was raised on cooked pudding, and it’s a hard habit to break. 

FEEL FREE TO RIFF WITH THE BROWNIES TOO

Same thing goes for the brownie chunks used in Banana, Blackberry and Brownie Pops.  Either make a batch of your favorite brownie recipe, or pick up a few in the bakery department of your grocer’s. 

Since we’re brownie-lovers in our house, I usually have some cut and individually-wrapped in my freezer.  With just the two of us, one batch can last a few weeks this way!

But seriously, in this recipe, if you purchase one of those huge brownies from the store, your pops will be just delicious.

NAN’S TIP: AVOID FROSTED BROWNIES, AS THEY CAN TURN YOUR PRETTY YELLOW POPS INTO A MUDDY MESS!

 CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE FOR BANANA, BLACKBERRY AND BROWNIE POPS

 

HERE’S SOME OTHER SIMPLE BANANA PUDDING POP IDEAS

 

 Look how easy it is to “doll up” some plain banana pudding pops!  

  • Dipped in Chocolate-Hazelnut Crackle Topping and then dipped again in yellow chocolate coating and decorated with sprinkles
  • Rainbow or chocolate sprinkles were added right to the molds before filling with banana pudding
  • Coated with Chocolate-Hazelnut Crackle Topping and sprinkled with chopped nuts

 

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CRACKLE TOPPING

chocolate hazelnut crackle topping on two scoops of ice cream decorated with yellow chocolate sheets

 

I know this recipe might seem a bit out of place for the Ultimate Guide to Homemade Popsicles, but just trust me!

You’ll want to have a batch of this fabulous Chocolate Hazelnut Crackle Topping hanging around your kitchen all Summer long!  Pour it over your ice cream and watch the magic take place!

Or, you might want to take it a little further by using your Chocolate Hazelnut Crackle Topping as a coating for homemade pudding pops or a drizzle on your favorite purchased fruity popsicles.

Either way, it’s a fast and easy recipe to make, and keeps for weeks in your pantryJust make sure you stir it well to combine the mixture before using, as the ingredients can separate over time.

Click here to get the recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Crackle Topping

FABULOUS POPSICLE PRESENTATIONS  – Summer Party Ideas

ultimate guide to homemade popsicles

If you’ve been wanting to serve popsicles at your Summer parties, but don’t know how to present them, read on!

The Ultimate Guide To Homemade Popsicles still has so much more to share!

While frozen desserts sounds like a great idea for Summer parties, they pose specific issues when serving them in hot weather.

Do you pass them on a tray as your wander around your party guests?  Maybe, if the tray is made of a thick metal and frozen first.  The image above shows my fabulous fajita grilling tray that I pop in the freezer before adding ice, my pops and garnishes. pop sticker printable and decorative wrapper strips

Do you place them on top of an insulated tray of ice and serve them buffet style?

  If you have a shady area where you can place your dessert buffet table, you can try it. 

Also, make sure your ice display has adequate drainage for the accumulating water.  You don’t want to have soggy pops!

Then, make sure you call your guests for dessert and ask them to start serving themselves.  Party guests are notorious for taking their time meandering to the dessert table!

 

POP STICKERS AND DECO WRAPPER STRIP PRINTABLES

In the Spring, I decided I wanted to do popsicles for dessert at several of my Summer parties.  But like everyone else, I have the same problems and serving issues.

So, I set out to figure a way to individually package and display my pops.   And this is what I came up with!

  • POP STICKERS that are printed on Avery full-sheet labels, cut out and placed on the individual popsicle wrappers
  • POPSICLE DECO WRAPPER STRIPS that coordinate with the matching pop stickers

 

FIRST, PRETTY PACKAGING FOR MY PARTY POPS

What Ultimate Guide to Homemade Popsicles would be complete without showing you some creative ways to package and serve your frozen treats?

Let me give you a little background before we start.  I owned and operated a successful gourmet gift basket company in South Florida many moons ago.  And because of that, I’ve been “packaging” foods for a very long time.  

decoratively wrapped popsicles with fruit on palm leavesI knew I wanted to use clear lollipop and treat bags for my popsicles, but they’re so boring!

Because my pops were of different lengths, I used two sizes of bags.  One needed to be longer for my Creamy Coconut and Tropical Fruit Popsicles.

A few years ago I threw a clambake birthday party for my Mom and used adorable sea creature stickers on the bags.  They were a big hit with all the guests!

Since I’d be serving my pops at several different gatherings, I decided that I’d need to up my “hostess game”.  Not only would I use some really fun beach-themed stickers, but I’d design my own “Pop Stickers” too.

CUSTOM POP STICKER PDF

Truly, how could I call this The Ultimate Guide to Homemade Popsicles if I didn’t go all out for you?

The Pop Stickers I created will seriously “up your hostess game” too!  I made 10 different stickers, each with it’s own fun popsicle pop stickers on packaged popsicles with pops spelled in colored iceimage.  

  • Download PDF from Ingredients For A Fabulous Life Subscriber’s Resource Library
  • Print PDF on Avery (or other brand) FULL PAGE labels using a color printer
  • Cut out stickers and adhere to popsicle packaging before inserting pops
  • Tie a ribbon around the stick and bottom of bag to close package
  • Store in freezer until ready to serve (do not stack packaged pops, as the labels can run if they become damp)

 

Now our fabulous homemade popsicles are packaged up all pretty and ready to serve! 

 

POPSICLE DECO WRAPPER STRIPS TO THE RESCUE!

At that point, I felt like I was still falling short of truly giving you the Ultimate Guide To Homemade Popsicles!

Now I’m going to show you the cute idea I came up with to display the pops on my dessert display.  

As I mentioned before, serving frozen treats on a party dessert buffet can be tricky business.  And since the pops were packaged so attractively, I wanted them to stand upright and show themselves off a bit.

An upright presentation would also allow the guests to choose which flavor they’d like much more easily.  

What to do?  As always, I started rummaging around my treasure trove of a garage, packed full of potential blogging “stuff”!

I came out with a small disposable cooler that a holiday gift selection of bison meat had arrived in.  One of my husband’s ultimate guide to homemade popsiclesclients raises and sells bison here locally.  Much to our taste buds’ pure joy and appreciation, they always remember us around the holidays! 

The beginnings of an idea was rolling around my head:

  • First, the cooler would be filled with ice to keep the whole display cool, from the inside out
  • Next, I’d cut slits in the lid, so the popsicle sticks could slide in and stand straight 
  • The lid would be covered with brightly colored corregated paper I’d scored a few weeks before
  • I’d tuck in a few umbrella straws and use some basket filler to “finish” the presentation

 

BUT SOMETHING WAS STILL MISSING…

I wanted to create a raised rim around the sides of the cooler, but decided that plain corregated paper wouldn’t do the trick. 

ultimate guide to homemade popsiclesBack to the computer to create one more printable!  I came up with a decorative strip that matched the pop stickers and could be used in any number of ways.

The border contains the same popsicle images as the stickers, but with the clever use of ice cubes for the background.  I just love how the project turned out!

Exactly how you decide to use the coordinating popsicle deco wrapper strips will largely depend on the size cooler you use.  Feel free to get creative and do your own thing.

That’s what’s so great about this kind of project.  It has no real rules and can be taken in any direction your creativity desires.

I’m pleased to report that as of writing this Ultimate Guide To Homemade Popsicles, I’ve used this display twice with great success!

Just download, print and cut out the FREE PDFs, and you’re in business. 

Want your own copy of my Pop Stickers and Popsicle Deco Wrapper Strips, but you’re not on our list yet?  

Fill out the form below and I’ll send you a copy as a thank you for joining the IFAFL Email Subscriber List.

As an Ingredients For A Fabulous Life Subscriber, you’ll also get instant access to the IFAFL Resource Library and receive our twice-weekly emails.  What are you waiting for?  You don’t want to miss out on anything fabulous, do you? 

Come join the gang in our Facebook group and get in on the gabfest at, The Fab LifeThat’s where we show off our triumphs and share our pursuit of “the good life” with each other all week long.  

 
 


 

 

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