Tale of two popsicles

We recently returned from a busy, fun-filled vacation in California!  It was great but this East Coast girl is also happy to plant her two feet back home. We started our trip in San Diego, picked up our rental car and eventually drove our way through to San Francisco - and many places in between.  It was really nice to visit the other side of the country and watch our 8-year old experience it for the first time. Now, after the theme parks (Legoland, Disneyland, Sea World, oh my!), fast food (In-N-Out Burger for one) and ice cream (Ghirardelli ice cream shop - we love you!) consumption, I can tell you that we've been settling back to normal life and eating our weight in vegetables and fruit to balance out all that vacation excess.

The last two of my posts were scheduled before I left and these popsicles were actually the last sweet things I made before our trip.  While I've been cooking up a storm the minute we got home (don't you miss home-cooked meals after traveling?), I'm taking a short hiatus from baking - at least when it comes to dessert - while we work on eating those veggies. In the meantime, I'd love to share this little popsicle "story" with you.  I decided to make them because summer is flying by and before we know it, it'll be too cold to truly enjoy popsicles.  Since I'd only made a batch of fudge pops this season, I wanted to put my popsicle molds to more use before it was too late. So here's what I did...

Vietnamese Coffee Popsicle

First up - something for coffee lovers! I was never much of a coffee drinker at all until I had a child and then, well, everything changed. This is a Vietnamese Coffee Popsicle. It's made with just 2 ingredients: super strong coffee (or espresso) and sweetened condensed milk.
I made it with double-strength coffee (brewed using 4 tablespoons of coffee grinds per cup). I like using a combination of dark French roast and Columbian coffee.  I'm no coffee expert whatsoever but it's a mixture I've tried in the past and liked over using all dark roast.  Since we like Vietnamese coffee ice cream, I figured I'd try the popsicle version. 

It is so easy to make!  Simply stir sweetened condensed milk into the freshly brewed coffee and pour the mixture into your molds.  And the result is just like having a frozen form of the strong, sweet coffee drink!

Red Bean Popsicles

Next up, we have Red Bean Popsicles!  If you're Asian, chances are you're more than familiar with red bean desserts, made with Azuki or Asian red beans. They are typically cooked down into a paste and sweetened, then used in a wide variety of desserts. One of my favorite childhood treats growing up in Hong Kong was red bean pudding cakes, which I tried my hand at making last year!
These red beans are featured in a whole host of Asian desserts.  It's found in simple red bean dessert soups, could be made into gelatin-like cakes, or stuffed into buns and breads.  It might also be used as a filling in cakes, and layered with ice and condensed milk into what we simply call, red bean ice. I absolutely love all these uses for red bean paste.  Name one red bean dessert and you'll likely find me oohing and aahing about how it was my favorite growing up! You see...I do have a passion for something other than chocolate!

And red bean popsicles were indeed one of those beloved treats I had as a child. I've devoured many in my day and it was cool to learn how to make them myself.  You can start with azuki beans and make your own red bean paste (here's a recipe posted by Amy that shows you exactly how it's done) but for speed and convenience, I went with the shortcut and bought cooked, sweetened red bean paste (it comes in cans and is available at most Asian markets).  This recipe will require the blender but there's actually no cooking involved if you go the store-bought red bean route.

Mixed with milk (you could certainly try coconut milk or almond milk) and some cream, it is a luscious, delicious treat that's filled with sweet red bean flavor. I adore it and it was fun making another childhood treat in my own kitchen. (And if you've never had one of these, consider picking up a box from the freezer aisle of the Asian market and give them a try! : )


Recipes

Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles
From David Lebovitz

- Makes about 6 popsicles, depending on size of your molds -

2 cups extra-strength coffee* or espresso
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

* I brewed strong coffee, using 4 tablespoons of coffee grinds (a combination of dark French roast and Columbian) per cup.  You can also deepen the coffee flavor by stirring in a bit of espresso powder.  You want very strong coffee to mix with the condensed milk.

In a large measuring cup or bowl, stir the coffee or espresso with the sweetened condensed milk. Taste, adding another tablespoon or two of condensed milk if you think it's necessary.  Do not add too much more than that or the popsicles may not freeze as hard.  

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.


Red Bean Popsicles
From CHOW.com

- Makes about 6 popsicles, depending on size of your molds -


1 1/2 cups canned sweetened, mashed azuki beans*
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Scant 1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

*You can find this in most Asian markets.  There are many brands and the one below happens to be the one I used for these popsicles.  I was at H-Mart, a Korean supermarket, recently when I taste-tested it and decided to buy a couple of cans.  That turned out to be the inspiration behind making these popsicles.

In a large bowl, stir 1 cup of the red beans together with the cream.  

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of beans, milk, sugar, and salt into a blender. Process until incorporated and smooth.  Pour mixture into the beans and cream, stirring to combine.  The beans will settle to the bottom of the bowl.

Fill popsicle molds about half to two-thirds of the way with the liquid part of the mixture.  Then, evenly divide the beans settled at the bottom of the bowl among the molds.  This will create a more even distribution of the red beans throughout the popsicles.

Freeze until solid.




46 comments:

  1. They look really cute and delilcious!

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  2. Sounds like a fun vacation! I know what you mean about enjoying vacation but enjoying getting back home even more ;) I LOVE coffee ice cream so these popsicles sound delicious. I'm not too good with caffeine though...wonder if I could make a decaf version?

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    1. It was fun and jam-packed...it's always so nice to come home. And you could definitely make the coffee pops with decaf.

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  3. You were in our neck of the woods. Sounds like a perfect vacation. The Ghirardeli square sure is a lot of fun. We go every month, and go nuts with the flavors. This icecream is such a unique combination.

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    1. You're in SF! Oh, my little one and I are so jealous of you all going to Ghirardelli Square every month! I should be glad there are so few around because we would not be able to resist. We had a sundae and 2 coke floats...too good!

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  4. What a lovely vacation and yes - I am usually so happy to be back on the vege wagon. These both sound wonderful! Fall will be here before we know it. Welcome back :)

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    1. I'm definitely making up time on the veg front, Tricia. Fall is coming and I think I'm almost ready. Summer wipes a girl out! : )

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  5. So glad you had a great vacation! And it is always so nice to come back home and cook some meals after traveling. These popsicles look delicious -- I'm especially loving the coffee one!

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    1. Thanks, Marie. Home sweet home : )

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  6. Popsicles for the summer are always a great idea. These look yummy! I rarely make anything with red bean but it looks delicious.

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    1. Thanks, Tiffany. I love anything red bean...never really thought I could any of it at home but it's not as hard as I would've thought, particularly if you take the shortcut like I do.

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  7. Oh Monica! I adore Vietnamese coffee so these look and sound particularly delicious. Thank you for sharing both recipes!

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  8. Welcome home Monica! How long were you guys in SF? And did you check out any dim sum places? :) Whenever I travel, I always feel like I gained 10 pounds because of the lack of balance in my diet. It's always too much of carbs or too much meat or worse --too much fried food! The first thing I usually do too is cook and laundry. :) So glad to hear you had a great time.

    Love these popsicles! I love coffee anything in my desserts and these look delicious!

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    1. Hi Anne - thanks!! We only had 2 days in SF. I'm always on the lookout for good Chinese/dim sum places too. Koi Palace was highly recommended (outside SF) but it was not yet open when we got there and we didn't want to wait 40 mins. I didn't find any other good dim sum places but we did eat at R&J Lounge that was also recommended and had good Chinese food. We hit Pier 39 and had great seafood one night. I loved shopping at the Ferry Market and there was this amazing porchetta sandwich we had from Roli Roti right out in the farmer's market. All that with tons of ice cream adds up to lots of veggies back home. : )

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    2. 2 days is definitely not enough for SF. There are so many places to visit outside of SF as well. Koi is very good although I have never been there. I have been to R&J Lounge in SF Chinatown and they are wonderful, especially their crab. :) Ferry Building also a great place to check out for food and yes, Roli Roti is the food truck that hangs out there I believe on Tuesdays during the Tuesday Farmer's Market. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit. You'll have to let me know the next time you're in town. :)

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    3. If I'd known you were in the area, I'd have asked you for recommendations! At the same time, 2 days doesn't leave much room for enough taste-testing! I've heard Mama's is good for brunch but didn't have a chance. So many great eats, so little time and space...sigh... : )

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  9. Red bean in popsicles! Thats such a great idea. Gorgeous.

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    1. Hi Sarah - thanks for stopping by. I love these sweetened red beans. They are used in many Asian desserts. : )

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  10. I can definitely needing a TON of veggies after a trip to SF...one of my favorite foodie cities!! Also, I am kind of obsessed with red beans and those popsicles sound amazing!

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    1. Agree! I know, these red beans are so good. Great as a filling in lots of things...

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  11. We ate lots of popsicles this summer too. Your two popsicles look very tasty.

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    1. Yes, summer is a great excuse for ice cream and popsicles of all kinds.

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  12. I love making homemade Popsicles! The Vietnamese coffee ones are calling my name!

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    1. The coffee ones are so easy to make, as popsicles generally are, I suppose. It's really good...strong yet sweet.

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  13. Both of these sound delicious! I never thought I'd like red bean paste until I tried it, but I am now a big fan!

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    1. So glad you like red bean paste. It's so yummy.

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  14. I will have to give these both a try - they have flavors that I love! great post!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the comment.

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  15. Yeah, it takes time to get back into the swing of things after you come back from vacation. Its still hot here and I love the coffee ice-cream. I made stuffed flat bread with red bean paste so I am sure I love it in icecream,too.

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    1. Stuffed flat bread with red bean paste! Yum! It really does make a great stuffing. I need to put it in crepes.

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  16. I am glad that you had fun in this side of US...both popsicles look great, and I sure would love to try them both :D
    Hope you are having a fabulous week back home Monica!

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    1. It's great to visit the other coast! Thanks, Juliana.

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  17. Those red been popsicles have me drooling! Haha, and I have to totally agree with you on the obsession with red bean. It's right up there on my list of favorites, alongside chocolate (: Thanks for sharing the recipe, because now I've just got to try it out before the summer's end!

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    1. If you feel like making your own, these are the real deal. Very creamy and full of sweet red bean flavor. : )

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  18. I am not sure which one I would choose here because both the flavors sounds pretty awesome!

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  19. While I was pregnant with my first child, I couldn't live without red bean popsicle. That was my craving and I have always loved it all my life. I also love vietnamese coffee... I need to make both!

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    1. That is so neat! I craved a lot of carbs - after the morning sickness was over, that is.

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  20. So refreshing!! I grew up on red bean popsicles! And can't beat vietnamese coffee! YUM :D

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    1. Oh, another red bean fan. Awesome : )

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  21. Refreshing flavors and lovely clicks !! I love red beans :)

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  22. Sounds like a great family vacation but I know what you mean, it's always nice to finally be settled back at home :) Omg, these popsicles sound so good! I absolutely love red bean and vietnamese coffee! And I can't think of a better way to enjoy these great flavors than in popsicle form too - just genius!!:)

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    1. It was fun and we did a lot! Seems like ages ago now. : ) These popsicles are so easy - hope you make some next summer!

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