Coconut and Vanilla Bean Ice Pops

coconut and vanilla ice pops pg 140

The interwebs are aflutter with popsicles, people! And thank goodness. It seems like everyday there's something new and terrible splashed all over every freaking webpage, making me question why I chose to raise children in this crazy, sometimes scary world. I'd say we could all use a little sunshine in frozen form these days, don't you think? YES. Let's do exactly that.

Now, before we go any further, I will address the elephant in the room: COCONUT. Probably one of the most polarizing things in the universe next to, say, cilantro and Rachael Ray. People either love coconut or they get visibly shaken at the mere mention of it. For example, my husband and daughter are in the latter camp, which is disappointing. Because I love coconut and so I can only bake something with coconut knowing that I will just have to eat the whole dang thing. Not altogether terrible, unless you consider something like fitting into one's pants. So that's why these ice pops are brilliant. Because not only are they dead simple to make, but obviously keep for quite a long time in the freezer. And I don't know about you, but I'm much more likely to binge on, say, coconut macaroons than something that would give me a crippling brain freeze. Win!

This recipe actually comes from Pure Vanilla, and was one of the rare instances in recipe development where the idea came into my brain and seemed to become a reality in no time flat. The star here is a can of good coconut milk--not to get all Ina on you, but with so few ingredients in this recipe, it's important to really seek out a good brand of full fat coconut milk here; my very scientific method of doing this is finding a can that has very little English on the label--I look in the Asian foods aisle at the supermarket or in ethnic markets for the best coconut milk. Then get yourself a vanilla bean, and add a smattering of sugar and salt and that's it, friends. Steep and freeze and (if you're a coconut fan like me) eat them all yourself.

If coconut isn't your thing, I won't judge you or try to convert you. But I will point you to some awesome pops from friends as very worthy alternates:

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Pops from CHOW

Shutterbean's Pimm's Cup Popsicles

Love and Lemons' Mango-Lime Pops

Tequila Watermelon Popsicles via Love and Olive Oil

Root Beer Float Popsicles from Food52

And a genius post on How to Make a Cocktail Popsicle from Bakers Royale (the Queen of Boozy Pops)

Coconut and Vanilla Bean Ice Pops from Pure Vanilla

Makes about 6 3-ounce pops

Make sure you get good full-fat coconut milk for the recipe, not one labeled "light" (blech). I love using a vanilla bean here and really infusing the coconut milk with flavor and gorgeous vanilla specks. You could also use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste, or in a pinch, pure vanilla extract. A little splash of lime in the mix as a variation is awesome. 

I like this popsicle mold for getting results like the ones in the photo above.

1 can full-fat coconut milk 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste Pinch of salt

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, vanilla bean pod, vanilla caviar, sugar and salt. Slowly heat the mixture, stirring occasionally. When the mixture just begins to bubble, remove the pan from the heat (do not boil). Cover the pan and let steep and cool for at least 1 hour.

Remove the vanilla pod, scrape any remaining clinging caviar into the pot, and discard the pod. Transfer the mixture to a large measuring cup for easy pouring, and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until firm.

FrozenShauna Sever