Cara Cara Orange Ice Pops

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I feel silly even posting these, but my kids loved them, so why not?

My kids fell in love with cara cara oranges over the winter. They’re a little sweeter than regular oranges, and are a lovely pinkish-orange on the inside (which totally did not translate to these ice pops). Last week I came home with two big bags of them, and thought that making ice pops would be a great way to use some of them up.

Cara Cara Orange Ice Pops

1 cup cara cara orange juice

1/4 cup simple syrup*

Combine the juice and simple syrup in a large measuring cup with a spout, and mix well.  Pour into ice pop molds (or small paper cups). Place in freezer for about an hour, until the mixture starts to freeze. Insert popsicle sticks, and return to freezer until completely frozen

Makes 4 ice pops (or more, or less, depending on your molds)

*To make simple syrup: Combine equal amounts of water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Note: You can obviously make these with any oranges (or any citrus, really). Just adjust the amount of simple syrup accordingly. You want it to taste a little sweeter than you want the finished product to taste, since it will taste less sweet when frozen.

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Strawberry and Strawberry-Cheesecake Ice Pops

Things I love about summer:

1. Not having to set my alarm in the morning. It’s not as if I get to sleep in, since I have a 15-month-old who thinks she has to get up with the sun most days. But I love the (relatively) calmer mornings, with not having to get my two older girls ready and out the door for school.

2. NO HOMEWORK. ‘Nuff said.

3. The longer days. I love waking up when it’s bright out, and I love that I can go out for a run in the evening and it’s still light out.

What do I not love about summer? The heat. Especially since we don’t have air conditioning. While it hasn’t been too hot here yet, I’ve started stocking the freezer with yummy frozen treats, like these ice pops.

We’ve been eating strawberries like crazy, so I figured strawberry ice pops would be a good place to start. I made some plain and some with a cheesecake layer. I even added a little balsamic vinegar to a few of the plain strawberry ones. These are such a simple but delicious treat to make for the long hot summer days ahead!

Strawberry Ice Pops

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 lb. strawberries, stemmed

1. To make the simple syrup, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Purée strawberries in a food processor (or mash with a potato masher) until desired consistency (I like it to be mostly smooth, but with a few chunks).

3. For every cup of puréed fruit, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the simple syrup. Taste as you go, adding more as needed (keep in mind that when frozen, the pop tends to lose sweetness).

4. PLace olds in a small cookie sheet to catch drips. Pour mixture into molds, add sticks, and freeze.

Makes approximately 10 3-fl. oz. pops

*Adapted from People’s Pops, by David Carrell, Joel Horowitz, and Nathalie Jordi (via InStyle magazine)

NOTES:

1. I used THIS mold for my ice pops.

2. I found that it worked best to freeze the pops for 45 minutes to an hour before adding the sticks. This kept them in place well.

3. If you do not have an ice pop mold you can make these in small paper cups.

For the Cheesecake Layer:

4 ounces cream cheese

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Purée all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Layer with the strawberry mixture in the ice pop molds, and freeze.

Makes enough for 6 layered ice pops

*Adapted from The Novice Chef