Monday, September 17, 2018

Homemade Chocolate Fudgesicles, Best Popsicle Molds and more

Is summer really over? I have trouble believing it, since the humid weather is still lingering and it has been sunny for a full week. As a chocolate maker, I secretly hope the heat and humidity die down so I can get back to work with ease. But as a person who loves cold summer chocolaty treats, the lingering heat means that popsicle season is not over yet.

Amid the busy summer season, I managed to spend a great deal of time experimenting  with cold chocolate treats. Particularly homemade chocolate popsicles and fudgsicles. My first plan was to make a great hot chocolate, then make 'hot chocolate popsicles' from that great hot chocolate.  I had spent the winter perfecting my hot chocolate recipe, so it seemed like a natural progression into the warm season.

I have always enjoyed a good chocolate popsicle. Milky, mildy sweet and reminiscent of a light chocolate ice cream. At the same time, I like a good fudgesicle that is full of more intense chocolate flavours (okay, so I like anything chocolatey. I would be in the wrong business if I didn't). So I figured I'd test strong dark hot chocolate versus a milkier variety.

I knew that I could simply make a few cups of the milk and dark Camino brand of hot chocolate, and freeze those to get a decent popsicle. But I also wanted to try my own. However, with all of the hot chocolate mixes, I found the same thing that happens in your cup happens in the popsicle mould - all the cocoa powder and cocoa liquor rests in the bottom of the cup even after its been stirred. In the popsicle, that means it ends up in the top of the popsicle, making it too intense at the top and too mild in the end. So then I tried using an immersion blender to better mix it right before pouring it into the mould. I soon discovered that any bubbles that were created from the mixer froze as bubbles, which poorly affected the texture.

At the end, I finally got an okay chocolate popsicle by both sifting the liquid, and then also removing any remaining bubbles from the drink. I also learned that adding more milk or replacing the water with milk in hot chocolate, adding more cocoa powder, adding vanilla, and occasionally blending in a banana makes them much richer in flavour.

But I still wanted something richer, and with a more intense chocolate flavour. That's when I decided to scrap hot chocolate pops, and move onto making the perfect fudgesicle.

Chocolate Fudgesicle Recipes to Try

In an attempt at the perfect fudgesicle, I was playing around with pure dark chocolate and different milks for about a week to get the right texture and flavour, when Avanaa Chocolate from Montreal posted a recipe on social media and their website. Right then and there I tried their recipe and it was perfect!  I found a little work was needed to ensure the chocolate mixed well into the milk with no lumps, and in choosing just the right chocolate origin to pair with it.

The key is to take just a bit of the milk - not less than 2 tbsp. and not more than 1/4 cup - and melt it together with the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler until smooth. I've always found this when making ganache or truffles: if you add hot milk in large quantities to your chopped chocolate, you will separate the chocolate and cocoa butter, and essentially throw the chocolate out of temper and you will end up with tiny bits of chocolate in the final mix (think stracciatella ice cream). Too little milk (less than 1 or 2 tbsps.) is like adding a drop of water to chocolate and it will seize. 1/4 cup for 100 to 200 grams of chocolate is usually about right. The same rule applies when mixing hot chocolate mix with real chocolate pieces in it.

After I made this recipe a few times, I started playing around with the type of chocolate (see note below on type of chocolate and origin selection), the amount of chocolate (I found more is ALWAYS better, albeit more expensive) and with removing the added sweetener. But the original recipe by Avanaa is just great and I recommend it. Find it at this link:, and if the French is a problem, simply copy and paste it to Google Translate.

I also discovered that bananas add a great amount of sweetness to a recipe, and a kid-friendly flavour aspect. So below is a great recipe I came up with for kid (and adult)-friendly fudgesicles. I hope you like it as much as my family does.

Chocolate Banana Fudgesicle Recipe

You need:
100 grams of semi-sweet chocolate (55% to 65%), chopped into bite-sized pieces (1" or smaller)
1/4 cup milk (skim for a low-fat fudgesicle, 2% or whole milk for a richer flavour)
1 cup milk (skim for a low-fat fudgesicle, 2% or whole milk for a richer flavour)
1 very ripe banana, peeled
1.5 tbsp cocoa powder

Note on sweetness: If you use a darker chocolate than a semi-sweet, such as 70% or 80%, you may not want to add the cocoa powder as it will naturally have a richer dark chocolate flavour.

Note on chocolate origin: Use a chocolate that does not have strong fruity and acidic notes so as not to compete with the milk flavour. A Peru origin works well, as does a Venezuela. Camino's Peru couverture 70% and 56% worked very well, and my own Peru Ucayali River 60% was great, with mild woody notes. My Honduras 70% was also delicious in the fudgesicles because the bean is naturally sweeter than other origins with mild acidity. A non-fruity Ecuador would also be a good choice and likely any Lindt bar.

  1. Place the chopped chocolate and 1/4 cup milk in a microwave-safe medium-sized bowl. Microwave for 50 seconds. Remove and stir the chocolate mixture until smooth.
  2. In a smoothie blender, blender or with an immersion blender, blend your banana with the 1 cup of milk and the 1.5 tbsp. of cocoa powder until completely smooth and until no banana lumps remain.
  3. Slowly pour the milk-banana mixture into the chocolate mixture while using a whisk to stir together until completely combined and smooth.
  4. Use a large spoon to scoop any foam and bubbles off the top of the mixture.
  5. Pour into 6 popsicle cavities (more or less, depending on the size of your moulds).
  6. Place sticks in the top and the cover on, if there is one.
  7. Freeze overnight or for 1 day to 24 hours.
  8. Remove by pouring room temperature water over the bottom cavity section of the mould.
  9. If you are not serving immediately, wrap each popsicle in a piece of waxed paper, then place them in an airtight container in the freezer. Enjoy within 6 months.

The Best Popsicle Molds

On Amazon Prime Day, I bought a few different popsicle makers to try. Since I run a business, I wanted to have a more professional shape than the simple round ones from the grocery store, a good size for each pop, and have to have slots for wooden sticks, not e-usable plastic tops.

I wanted to test a silicon popsicle maker versus a plastic one, to see which is easier for extraction from the mold. What I discovered with the Prepworks Frozen Pop Maker was that extraction was fairly easy by simply running warm or room temp water over the plastic.

Not always perfect, but it worked. However, the sticks would never stay standing up straight, no matter how many times I tried to correct them, even while inside the freezer. When they are crooked, it makes it hard for the metal lid to come off all the sticks once frozen. Finally I gave up trying to get them to balance just right, and instead tilted them all in the same direction, so the lid could come off more easily (if even one or two sticks out of the 10 are tilting in the opposite direction, you might never get the lid off!).

The red Silicon popsicle mold had a lid that really held the sticks perfectly upright, and the silicon lid lifted off perfectly every time. The downside was that extraction was harder with all the squishiness while trying to get the pops out, and I had to put the popsicle mold on a tray each time it went in the freezer because the silicon tends to shift around, which can either cause it to spill or make the popsicles rather fat in the middle. Also, I had to be careful not to squeeze the mold when trying to get each pop out, or the popsicle melts and squishes its end off. Like this:

Although both molds were sufficient, I started using the silicon top from the silicon mold on the plastic Prepworks base. This kept the sticks in place, with a lid that came off easily, and made the pops easier to extract. Of course, this is not ideal since no one wants to buy two molds, but perhaps a popsicle maker will see this an invent one maker with a plastic base and a silicon top.

Overall, I didn't mind either popsicle maker. I suspect there is no 'perfect' one out there, and I liked that both allowed me to make 10 good-sized popsicles each, and I sure made use of them this summer! I bought popsicles to potlucks, and fed them to my children, which felt good knowing they were eating an all-natural and low-sugar treat (just 60% to 70% dark chocolate and milk, sometimes with a banana to sweeten).

So if you are looking for a good popsicle maker, check out They delivered quickly and the prices were great.