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Fudgsicles. Why don’t I make them more often? We have had unseasonably warm weather since April, hitting record temperatures left and right and already experiencing the kind of warm days we sometimes don’t see before August. So… my brain kicked right into summer mode, and since peaches and corn aren’t ready, I made fudgsicles. Specifically these mocha fudgsicles, which are a grown-up version of the beloved frozen treat, with real coffee (caffeine!) and dark chocolate. Rich, cold and creamy, I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed having some in the freezer in the past few weeks. (It doesn’t even have to be warm for me to eat one.)

I want to say ahead of time: don’t be put off by the steps needed to make these. Though they look like trouble, I promise you they’re not– fudgsicles are all about the Easy Treat Factor. Plus, you know how I hate fussy recipes! A few notes: testing has proven that it is worth the time to boil down and concentrate the coffee, but strong espresso will work if you want to shorten a step, and regular-strength coffee will, too. The differences will be in texture– with regular, unconcentrated coffee, the pops will be a little icier, and less creamy– and depth of coffee flavor. Coffee extract is nice to shore up that java note, but absolutely not necessary. I am lucky to have some my mother-in-law gave me, but I had never heard of it before then. As for milk and cream, the amounts as written made our favorite version of the test batches (oh, it was hard work…), but we also had okay results with all whole milk, no cream. If you have cream, use it, for the indulgence factor alone.

In the heat of summer, or just because, my mocha fudgsicles are a delight. There’s nothing quite like a childlike frozen confection on a popsicle stick… that tastes like a decadent coffee drink or chocolate bar. I’m looking forward to my fair share of these in the months to come.

Mocha Fudgsicles

Mocha Fudgsicles (makes 8-10 double bars)

  • 1 1/2 c. strong brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp. coffee extract (optional)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. baking cocoa (I like Her
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. cream
  • about 3/4 c. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

You can use leftover coffee (what’s that, right?) or brew some just for this recipe. Add 1 1/2 c. coffee to a small saucepan and boil vigorously over medium-high to high heat until it reduces down to 3/4 c. to 1 c., about 5 mins. Pause and measure along the way if you’re not sure what that looks like, but the variance is really okay– you will make up for it with milk. Boiling the coffee down gets rid of extra water, which forms ice crystals in your fudgsicles, and concentrates the flavor of coffee. Make a note of your final amount of reduced coffee, which should be between 3/4 c. and 1 c.

If you want to skip that step, measure 1 c. cold espresso or dark brewed coffee.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt.

Measure enough milk so your amount of concentrated coffee, plus whole milk, will equal 1 1/2 c. — but DON’T MIX MILK AND COFFEE YET. For instance, if you have 3/4 c. coffee, you will need 3/4 c. whole milk. If you have 1 c. coffee, you will need 1/2 c. whole milk.

Add a small amount of milk (maybe a few tablespoons) to the sugar-cocoa mixture and mix. Continue adding milk a small amount at a time until you have a thick, smooth paste. This was the best method I found for preventing lumps in the final product. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk, a little at a time, then the coffee, coffee extract, if using, cream and vanilla.

If you want perfectly smooth fudgsicles, pass the mixture through a fine sieve and discard any undissolved lumps. Add the vanilla, then divide equally among a 10-pop mold like this one, pouring to the top with just a small space left to account for expansion. Really, you can use any freezer safe mold you might like. Remember using Dixie cups as a kid, or yogurt containers? Do what works. If you do use a 10-pop mold, you will be able to fill 8-10 spots, depending on how much volume you might have sieved out, if you chose to follow that step.

Place in the coldest part of your freezer for an hour, then add in the sticks and cover lightly with the designated plastic cover, or a tea towel, to prevent the sticks from bobbing up. Freeze for at least four hours, or overnight. To unmold, leave the fudgsicles at room temperature for 10-15 mins. and gently wiggle them out, or place in a shallow dish of cool water to assist.

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