It’s a familiar situation for many of us: It’s summertime, the sun is shining, and you’re craving a frozen treat. You have a few different options in this scenario; you can settle for a garden-variety popsicle from the corner store, buy a pack of outlandishly expensive “gourmet” popsicles or you can easily make your own in the comfort of your own home using all your favourite “grown-up” ingredients.
What you need to make frozen treats at home
Homemade frozen drinks and desserts only require a few basic pieces of kitchen equipment; a blender and/or a food processor, popsicle molds and a rimmed metal tray if you plan on making granita (a frozen dessert or palate cleanser made by freezing a liquid, scraping into granules with a fork and repeating until a sorbet-like texture is achieved.)
Add a kick of caffeine
Whether you use leftover cold brew, store-bought iced coffee or a shot (or several) of espresso, making coffee-spiked frozen treats is a fun and delicious way to get your daily caffeine fix. Love black coffee? Make a simple yet elegant granita using black coffee, a drizzle of honey, a few drops of orange water and an optional glug of cognac. For coffee-flavoured popsicles, blend together coffee or espresso with dairy or almond milk and a handful of dark chocolate chips. For true chocolate lovers, a tablespoon of chocolate chips can be added to the popsicle molds before pouring in the coffee mixture.
Have fun with fermented flavours
Fans of tangier flavours will be glad to know that fermented ingredients (such as plain low-fat yogurt, kefir, and kombucha) make nutritious, probiotic-packed bases for frozen treats. Using a food processor, blitz together plain non-fat yogurt or kefir with a smaller amount of fruit and a teaspoon of vanilla (too much fruit will make the mixture too thick, it should have a pourable consistency.) Freeze in popsicle molds, adding extra cut-up fruit to the mold before pouring in the yogurt/kefir and fruit mixture. Kombucha can be frozen as-is and made into a delicately flavoured granita or, for a sweeter treat, combine kombucha with unsweetened fruit juice or fruit purée.
Enjoy a frozen cocktail (or two!)
If the thought of drinking a cocktail on a hot summer day is appealing, consider freezing your favourite boozy beverage for an even cooler warm weather treat. Almost any cocktail can be made into a popsicle or granita but those made entirely from liquor and liqueurs should be avoided (they won’t freeze completely.) Make a Tequila Sunrise into popsicles by mixing together tequila and orange juice, pour into popsicle molds and add a few drops of grenadine to each mold before freezing to create a sunrise effect (strawberry and watermelon daiquiris, Mai Tais, and piña coladas also work well for popsicles.) Blend rosé, gewürztraminer or Moscato wine with frozen fruit and a splash of sparkling water to make a frozen wine slushie, garnish with sliced strawberries and fresh mint leaves. Canned micheladas can be transformed into a light palate cleanser when you’re entertaining al fresco (or in the comfort of your air-conditioned dining room.)