Hot days call for cold treats. We’ve made our fair share of ice cream runs this summer (major thanks to Penny’s and Lancaster Sweet Shoppe 🙂 ), and frequently walk the mile or so downtown for a fun family outing. Of course, the resulting exercise too often justifies a double dip!
In an attempt to make these excursions an occasional indulgence instead of a routine occurrence, I often create at-home alternatives that are cool, creamy, and a little more virtuous.
A quick glance at the following ingredient list may not immediately conjure up thoughts of decadence. But when protein-packed peanut butter and yogurt are blended with vitamin-rich bananas (for the most natural sweetness, they should be riper than you’d usually eat) and a drizzle of honey, they form an ideal base for seriously satisfying popsicles.
In the name of experimentation, I recently swapped the peanut butter with chocolate hazelnut spread, and the results were quite good. (I used a spread made by Justin’s, which is an all-natural, less sweet alternative to Nutella.) I haven’t made these popsicles with almond butter, but I’m certain it would work. The flavor would simply be different. For those with nut allergies, the same would hold true for sunflower seed butter.
Depending on the size of the mold used, the yield will likely be between six and eight popsicles. I often end up with less, since a few members of my household think the blended concoction qualifies as a smoothie. Frozen or not, the mixture is comprised of ingredients that are completely acceptable any time of day.
So even though this treat is intended to be served on a stick, it wouldn’t hurt to try it as a smoothie. In that case, I recommend starting with frozen bananas for a thicker consistency, and figure on four servings.
Or consider a real curveball and start a steamy day with a popsicle. What child wouldn’t be delighted–and somewhat surprised–by a popsicle for breakfast?
- 10-12 ounces peeled or about 3 medium-large very ripe medium bananas* (frozen works well; this amount translates into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups mashed)
- ½ cup (128 grams) creamy peanut butter (for a different flavor, you may substitute chocolate hazelnut spread)
- 1 cup (227 grams) plain yogurt (I use Stonyfield--any fat content, Greek or regular, may be used; I've used vanilla when I didn't have plain on hand)
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup (may adjust according to taste)
- Place all of ingredients except the honey or maple syrup into a blender. (When using frozen bananas, it's helpful to break them into chunks.) Blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
- Taste the mixture and add the honey or maple syrup according to taste, blending to evenly distribute.
- Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds.** If you are using wooden craft sticks instead of sticks that attach to the molds, set a timer for 1 hour and insert the sticks at this time. (If starting with frozen bananas, set the time for 30 minutes.) Optionally, place a piece of foil or plastic wrap over the molds and poke the stick through the foil or wrap. This will hold the sticks upright.
- Place the popsicles in the freezer. They will be easier to remove from the molds when frozen overnight. To easily remove the molds, dip them in a glass of warm water, checking every 10 seconds or so, or until the molds pull away from the popsicles.
- *For those who use a kitchen scale, the weight of the bananas should be taken after peeling.
- **If popsicle molds are not available, small paper cups and wooden craft sticks may be used instead.
As much as I love fruit, fruity popsicles don’t always satisfy my mid-afternoon and after-dinner cravings, but these do. Perhaps it’s the creaminess that accompanies the natural sweetness. Maybe it’s the added protein. Whatever the case, we adore them. Maple yogurt would likely taste quite good, too.