This post was supposed to come out ages ago, but in the last few days I have been so unbelievably exhausted from being overworked at my day-job that I just started dozing off every time I sat down to prepare this post. I’m too tired to even rant about it, and since I make it a rule not to think about work at home maybe it’s best that I don’t say anything more.
Anyway, this is something I thought I would attempt to do every once in a while: to write a sort of review for whatever new and interesting food-related product I might come across. Since I’m not an expert I don’t really like to use the word “review” at its strictest sense, but what else do I call a written account of my own experiences in using a product? I really like sharing my thoughts so I figured this would be a fun exercise.
So, popsicle maker. Just another one of those things that has been difficult for me to find in this country. You’d think that living in a tropical country would mean that any product that has to do with cooling down would be in abundance. But no… Not popsicle makers anyway. I have my eyes set on this particular popsicle mold but since I don’t live anywhere near where Amazon ships for free in 24 hours at the moment, I had to settle for whatever I could scavenge locally.
Now before I say anything else, I would just like to commend the Gourdo’s chain for being a rather reliable source of hard-to-find kitchen equipment like this one. (I’m not being sponsored to say this, just to be clear.) I e-mailed them with what I was looking for and they got back to me rather quickly, pointing me towards what I would venture to call their best branch, the Living Well Homestore in SM Mall of Asia. It’s where I found my Wilton Doughnut Pan after searching for so long, and it’s where I found these popsicle molds as well. Maybe not my ideal shape, but you can’t really be picky when you’re out of options. In any case, my popsicles look fine don’t they?
I’ve been gathering a bunch of popsicle recipes since I got this mold, but I decided that for the purposes of test driving I would go with an extremely simple one. Called Hot Cocoa Ice Pops, this recipe caught my attention because of its oxymoron name. Basically it’s frozen milk and chocolate with some marshmallows on top and a bit of chocolate chips at the bottom, giving it that hot cocoa feel. If you add some cinnamon it would have like a Mexican Hot Cocoa vibe don’t you think?
The popsicle mold I got is called the Sipper Ice Pop Maker, purchased for around Php 175. Each set makes 4 popsicles and since majority of the recipes I found online make 6 to 8 popsicles I bought two of the ice pop makers. I reckon the name of the product comes from the fact that these molds make use of a plastic cover that has a straw sticking out from its side.
After some research I found out that the purpose of the straw is so that kids will be able to drink any melted ice pop concoctions straight from the mold. Erm. A little strange that you would melt your ice pops just so you can sip it, but being a marketing/advertising grad I can understand an attempt at unique product positioning I guess. (By the way, apologies for the ugly photos below. I only had time to photograph in the evening so the colours aren’t at their best.)
I also uncovered from my research that the major problem most people had with this set was how the sticks tended to pop right out of the frozen popsicles as they are being removed from the mold. Because the sticks were too short they couldn’t embed themselves enough into the popsicles that others had to go to the extremes of poking holes through the sticks and stuff like that. Wow.
So I decided that even if I was testing this out for a product review, I will use only one of the colourful sipper covers just to be safe. It would be completely outrageous if something as simple as making an ice pop would still go wrong just because the frozen stuff ends up stuck in the mold without a stick to pull it out with.
Luckily I did not encounter this because I patiently waited for the popsicles to loosen themselves before I slid them out. However I do prefer how the ice pops look with wooden popsicle sticks, because as you can see, using the cover included in the mold maker, the resulting popsicles look weirdly detached from the handle/stick.
The cover doesn’t really fall flat on the top of the mold so this is inevitable. It’s not very good-looking for photography at all! Plus the colours are ridiculously loud, which I understand since these are marketed for kids anyway. In any case, I prefer using popsicle sticks.
My verdict for these molds? If it’s going to be used with popsicle sticks then I am quite okay with these. I feel they produce popsicles that are just the right size, with a nice rounded shape. However I really don’t think I’ll be using the sipper covers at all from this point on.
In truth, you don’t actually need a popsicle mold to make these ice pops. You can use small paper cups and some popsicle sticks and they would still look really great. In fact it’s easier because you can just cut the paper cups off the popsicles once they’re frozen and ready to eat! No need to do the whole running under warm water bit to loosen them up.
I remember as a kid I used to love sucking on these kinds of chocolate ice pops. They’re usually the cheapest in the store too! If at that time I was the least bit interested in anything to do with the kitchen I probably would’ve just made my own version of chocolate ice pops at home. The advantages of that, aside from being able to control my add-ons, is that I can sneak down and probably have as much as I wanted without having to ask for permission. 😉
Hot Cocoa Ice Pops
Makes 4 to 6 popsicles, depending on size of your mold
- 1¾ cups milk, whole or low-fat is fine
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mini chocolate chips
- Mini marshmallows
- 1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat just until the cocoa becomes smooth. Remove from heat.
- 2. Stir in the vanilla extract and cool the mixture to room temperature.
- 3. Once ready to freeze, sprinkle about 8 mini chocolate chips into the bottom of the popsicle molds. Fill molds half full with the cooled hot cocoa and place in about 6 mini marshmallows, making sure that each marshmallow is partly submerged in the hot cocoa. Place in the sticks and freeze for at least 1 hour.
- 4. Remove molds from freezer and add another layer of mini chocolate chips, hot cocoa, and mini marshmallows. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours, or until completely frozen.
- 5. To release pops, run molds under warm water for 20 to 30 seconds. Once the popsicles begin loosening from the molds, gently slide them out.
I remember there used to be this milky rainbow-coloured popsicle that was one of my favourites because it was very pretty. (Was it called Kimmy? Can’t even remember the name!) I also really liked the creamy-type of chocolate popsicles that had fudge centres or strawberry jelly centres. Oh my. I should make one of those now that I have popsicle molds. How awesome would those be!