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DIY recipes for fans of Fudgsicles, Popsicles, and Creamsicles

These easy recipes let you fill your freezer with the cool, sweet taste of summer.

 Classic Fudge and Strawberry-Lemon Ice Pops.
Photo by anthony tieuli; food styling by Sheila jarnes
Classic fudge and strawberry-lemon ice pops.

When I was a kid, an ice cream truck in the neighborhood meant one thing — Fudgsicles. Those cold, smooth, sweet chocolaty treats always put a smile on my face, and they still do. Ice cream trucks are fewer and farther between these days, and while you can buy ice pops at any supermarket, it turns out that fudge pops are easy to make at home. Here are three recipes, plus another for fruity and refreshing strawberry-lemon pops, along with one for that pillar of the Popsicle pantheon: the orange cream pop.

CLASSIC FUDGE ICE POPS

Makes four 1/2-cup pops

By “classic,” I mean fairly sweet and lightly chocolaty. These are inspired by the fudge pops I loved as a kid.

1/4 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

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1/3 cup sugar

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Salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon plain powdered gelatin

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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In a small saucepan, whisk the cocoa powder, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to blend and break up any small lumps of cocoa. Add 1/2 cup of the milk and whisk until uniform. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking, until warm and just beginning to steam (do not simmer or boil), about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the gelatin to the remaining milk, stir, and set aside for gelatin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Off heat, pour the gelatin mixture into the pan and whisk until the gelatin is fully dissolved and incorporated. Cool to room temperature if necessary, add the vanilla, and whisk to combine.

Divide the mixture between the molds, leaving at least 1/2 inch head space at the top of each; position the tops and/or sticks. Freeze until hard, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. When ready to serve, run hot water over the molds to release the pops. .

VARIATION: DARK FUDGE ICE POPS

Makes four 1/2-cup pops

Dutch process cocoa has a notably dark color, and for me a deeper, more earthy flavor than natural cocoa powder. Adding a touch of espresso powder accentuates those earthy notes for a flavor that’s a bit more adult — while still appealing to the kid inside!

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These pops are adapted from SeriousEats.com.

Follow the recipe for the Classic Fudge Pops, substituting Dutch process cocoa powder for the natural cocoa and dark brown sugar for the granulated sugar, and adding 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder along with the gelatin mixture.

MOCHA ICE POPS

Makes four 1/2-cup pops

Follow the recipe for Dark Fudge Ice Pops, increasing the dark brown sugar to 7 tablespoons and the espresso powder to 2 1/2 tablespoons.

STRAWBERRY-LEMON ICE POPS

Makes four 1/2-cup pops

1 large lemon, scrubbed

3/4 cup chopped fresh or thawed frozen strawberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 scant cup cold water

Salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Quarter the lemon lengthwise, cut the quarters crosswise into thin slices, and place them in a sturdy glass, ceramic, or stainless steel container. Add the strawberries and sugar, stir, and set aside until the fruit softens a little, about 20 minutes. Using a potato masher, muddler, or wooden spoon, work the mixture until the strawberries are well mashed and the juices and sugar mix to become syrupy. Add 1 scant cup cold water and whisk to dissolve the sugar fully.

Set a medium-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the mixture, working the solids to exude as much liquid as possible (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Add a tiny pinch of salt and the vanilla, and whisk to blend.

Divide the mixture between the molds, leaving at least 1/2 inch head space at the top of each; position the tops and/or sticks. Freeze until hard, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. When ready to serve, run hot water over the molds to release the pops. .

ORANGE CREAM ICE POPS

Makes four 1/2-cup pops

The milk makes these a touch lighter, though also a touch icier, than when made with all half-and-half, which you can certainly use if you prefer.

These have a light orange flavor, like the Creamsicles I remember from my youth.

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon plain powdered gelatin

1 cup half-and-half, cold

1/3 cup thawed orange juice concentrate

Salt

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, whisk the milk and sugar. Sprinkle the gelatin over the mixture and set aside for gelatin to soften, about 5 minutes. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking, until mixture is warm and just beginning to steam (do not simmer or boil), and the sugar and gelatin dissolve, about 1 1/2 minutes. Off heat, add the half-and-half, orange juice concentrate, and a tiny pinch of salt, and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool to room temperature, if necessary. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine.

Divide the mixture between the molds, leaving at least 1/2 inch headspace at the top of each; position the tops and/or sticks. Freeze until hard, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. When ready to serve, run hot water over the molds to release the pops.

TIP: ICE POP MOLDS

Generally speaking, ice pop molds come in two styles: individual molds that fit into a base or stand, and attached molds built into a frame. I prefer the separate molds for the simple reason that they make it easy to release a single treat.
Anthony Tieuli
Generally speaking, ice pop molds come in two styles: individual molds that fit into a base or stand, and attached molds built into a frame. I prefer the separate molds for the simple reason that they make it easy to release a single treat.

Adam Ried appears regularly on America’s Test Kitchen. Send comments to cooking@globe.com. Get the best of the magazine’s award-winning stories and features right in your e-mail inbox every Sunday. Sign up here.