I'm back from my short trip to see my sis and her brand new baby boy. Oh, how quickly I have forgotten how teeny and seemingly fragile a newborn is as well as how much time is spent getting them to burp or eat or go to sleep. There is something wonderful and weird and a little make-believe about seeing your little sis become a mom. Like, wasn't it just a few years ago we were cutting the hair off our dolls? I've been married for almost 4 years and Little Man is now 9 months old, and sometimes I still feel like I'm playing house. I wonder if this feeling ever goes away.
Whenever I travel back home I always have these moments of insight that jolt me out of my adventurous foodie world. Like when my little brother asked my sis if I was making "a bunch of weird shit" or "normal food." I'm trying to remember the last thing I made for him....oh right, a baked ham with apple cider glaze and mashed sweet potatoes. Me and my fancy-pants apple cider glaze...what was I thinking? My sis mentioned fried chicken and waffles, and he was there in a few hours.
These popsicles remind me of a time I thought something was "weird shit" too. This is a picture of me trying green tea ice cream in Tokyo for the first time:
Oops, no wait, this is me enjoying it. The purple potato ice cream was delicious too. Sometimes weird is good, it just takes a few times of trying something new to realize it.
This weekend we are supposed to reach a heat index of 110, which for Northern Illinois is pretty ridiculously hot. I can't even imagine what the rest of the country will be like. So yeah, these pops are good timing. I might just have all my meals this weekend in frozen form.
To achieve the green tea flavor and gorgeous green color in these pops, I used matcha, which is a green tea powder with all kinds of health benefits. I got mine along with these pop molds on Amazon. You can get "culinary" or "ceremonial" grade, but unless you're freezing these as part of a small savings plan, I'd stick with the culinary grade....it's much more affordable. This recipe only uses 1 tablespoon, so 1 oz of powder is more than enough.
The green tea flavor is amazing when paired with something creamy and sweet. During the first couple attempts at this recipe, I used honey, which worked okay, but it didn't sweeten the pops enough, and the honey flavor was a bit too intense. After getting schooled by Deb at Smitten Kitchen yet again, I switched it up to simple syrup with vanilla and was much more pleased with the result.
If you're really into making pops for the summer, you should check out all the super creative pops being made by food bloggers for Popsicle Week (yes, it's a thing) over on Wit & Vinegar.
Stay cool this weekend. Now I'm going to go make more frozen stuff. Bye bye.
Matcha Green Tea & Blackberry Yogurt Pops
Yield: 10 pops (1/3 cup each - I used this mold)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
6 oz fresh blackberries (about 40 berries; yes I counted)
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat but full fat will lend creamier results)
1 Tbsp. matcha powder (I ordered this one on Amazon)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in saucepan and simmer over medium high heat for five minutes. It should be clear and the sugar dissolved. Pop the whole pan in the freezer to cool down.
Rinse and puree the berries in a food processor or mash with a potato masher. Push the berries through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the seeds (they really are annoying in a popsicle).
Add the 1/4 cup sugar to the blackberry puree and whisk to dissolve. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, matcha, vanilla, and chilled simple syrup until the matcha is completely incorporated.
Carefully drop a spoonful of the yogurt mixture into the bottom of each pop mold.
Follow with a spoonful of the blackberry puree.
Repeat with the yogurt and berries until the pop molds are full but not overflowing. I didn't have any problem with expansion, so don't worry about leaving too much room at the top.
To create the swirl effect, use a skewer or popsicle stick to gently swirl each pop mold section in a figure eight motion.
Place the lid on top of the mold and insert the popsicle sticks into the slots, leaving about an inch and a half exposed. Pop them into the freezer for at least a few hours.
To unmold, fill a large bowl with lukewarm water and submerge the bottoms of the pops for a couple minutes. Don't use hot water or the pops will melt and not hold their shape!
Firmly pull up on the sticks and remove from the mold.
When pushing the berries through a sieve, use a flexible spatula to push the berries around the strainer back and forth, until only seeds are left. Remember to scrape the underside of the sieve to get every last bit of seedless puree.
After unmolding, you can lay these flat on a baking sheet with wax paper and freeze a little more, then store them in a freezer storage bag.