Bon Appétit (October 2008)
The beginning of winter doesn't exactly conjure the desire for icy treats, but over Thanksgiving weekend, with guests in town, we decided to make these Apple Cider and Rosemary Ice Pops.
Well, first, we cleaned out the closet that holds many of our kitchen appliances as well as all the seldom-used kitchen stuff -- think pastry mats, a pasta machine, an ice cream maker, etc. They're items that come in handy on occasion, but for the most part they live a lonely life tucked away in the closet.
Our little winter cleaning revealed a few items that have never made it out of the closet. One of these was a set of Popsicle molds we had received as a gift a few years ago. We've always meant to use them, but then again we've also always meant to become experts at making our own fresh pasta, and that also has yet to come to fruition. So it was high time to use the molds. (If you don't own a set of molds, the recipe has a note about how to improvise them.)
Also, all summer we grew herbs in our window boxes -- mostly basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Our herb bounty wasn't as large as last summer, mostly due to our own poor maintenance of the plants (sorry, basil). All the herbs are gone now, except for rosemary, which we still have in abundance. As the weather continues to get colder, we're feeling the pressure to use the rosemary before it (literally) freezes to death.
Lastly, we had assumed that apple cider was needed for these pops, and when the this issue of Bon Appétit arrived in September, cider hadn't yet made it to our farmer's market.
Come to find out, we didn't need apple cider at all.
Rather than using apple cider, this recipe calls for a combination of apple juice and apple cider vinegar, sweetened with sugar and infused with rosemary, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. The resulting pops do indeed taste like apple cider with a hint of rosemary.
Our guests liked them, though Cassidy of pie fame thought that the vinegar was slightly overpowering. Based on this, when making these again, we'll likely cut the apple cider vinegar from 4 to 3 tablespoons.
An added bonus of making these popsicles this time of year is that, as we learned, a light and refreshing popsicle is actually a nice treat to have on hand during this calorie-laden season. It feels oddly appropriate.
We have some leftover cranberries -- perhaps another batch of popsicles is in order....
* 4 cups apple juice
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
* 2 whole cloves
* 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine first 6 ingredients in saucepan. Bring mixture to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until mixture is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain into 4-cup measuring cup; cool to room temperature. Stir in vinegar and vanilla. Pour into twelve 1/3-cup ice pop molds. Insert ice pop covers and sticks; freeze overnight.
TEST-KITCHEN TIP | Small paper cups can be used instead of ice pop molds. Pour the mixture into the paper cups, partially freeze, then insert a wooden stick into the center of each and freeze overnight. If pops are difficult to remove from cups, cut a slit in each cup with scissors, then peel it off.