The good news is that I have come up with a fabulous recipe for a low calorie, chocolaty, delicious frozen treat. They're like Fudgsicles, only better. The bad news is that they are so good, you may not be able to only eat one. Yesterday, I had one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. What? You never heard of having a dessert after breakfast?
Now, growing up, my folks provided me and my brother with wholesome, healthy fare. The only time we got sugar cereal, for instance, was as an occasional treat that we were only allowed to eat as a dessert... after dinner. So, it might not come as any surprise that I can still remember the moment in my life when I had my first Fudgsicle. It was field day in elementary school. Fourth grade field day, I think. It was like heaven on a stick.
But I've grown up a bit now and while I still appreciate a chocolatly, frozen treat with less than 100 calories, I like my food to be a little more au naturale, if you know what I mean. Here's the ingredient list for Popsicle brand Fudgsicles: nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, whey, high fructose corn syrup, water, palm oil, alkali cocoa, tricalcium phosphate, mono- & diglycerides, cellulose gum, guar gum, malt powder, salt, polysorbate 80, polysorbate 65, carrageenan.
That ingredient list starts out okay, but doesn't end so great. My version? Milk, sugar, alkali cocoa, whipping cream, cornstarch, gelatin, vanilla, and guar gum. I have become fairly smitten with guar gum. I use it all the time now. It's a great natural additive (a powder from a bean grown in Pakistan) that can help with texture and consistency in all kinds of applications.
The first thing you need to have on hand is unflavored gelatin. You'll need a little more than one packet. I buy mine in the food service container and simply measure out a tablespoon.
Pour the gelatin and milk combination in to a heavy bottomed sauce pan. I used a 2-quart pan. Add the vanilla and stir. Sift together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and guar gum and then add to the milk. Stir until incorporated and then heat over medium until the mixture just starts to come to a simmer. It will not be overly thick, but it will sure taste good! Remove the pan from the burner and set it aside to let it cool. Stir occasionally to keep a film from forming on the surface.
While you could use either alkali or regular cocoa powder, I think the flavor of the alkali version gives a slightly better end result. Alkali cocoa powder has simply been treated with alkali to reduce cocoa's acidity. I think, in this case where the chocolate is not competing with any other flavors, the alkali version is smoother.
Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, whip three tablespoons of whipping cream. It's such a small amount, that I simply whip it by hand in a small bowl. Add it to the chocolate mixture and then pour the liquid into your popsicle molds. I like these ones that I purchased from Amazon. This recipe should fill all ten molds. As you can see in the picture, I use clothes pins to keep the sticks straight and from going to far into the popsicles. Place the mold into the freezer and let freeze until the popsicles are hard. Unmold by running the outside of the mold under warm water. I wrap my popsicles in wax paper and tape closed. If you think your popsicles will stick around more than 4-5 days, I recommend also placing them in a bag or other airtight container.
Yield: 10 popsicles
Nutrition: less than 100 calories and less than 10 grams of sugar per bar
3 cups 1% milk
1 TBS unflavored gelatin, such as Knox
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup alkali processed cocoa powder
2 TBS cornstarch
1/4 tsp guar gum
3 TBS whipping cream
Soften the gelatin by sprinkling it over the cold milk. Add the vanilla and stir. Let mixture sit for five minutes.
Sift together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and guar gum. After the gelatin is softened in the milk, stir in the powdered mixture. Stir to combine.
Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture just comes to a simmer. It will not be overly thick. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally to keep a film from forming.
Whip three tablespoons of whipping cream to stiff peaks and stir into the chocolate mixture once it is cool. Use a whisk to make sure the whipped cream is well incorporated. Pour the chocolate mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until hard. Unmold and wrap in wax paper to store.
NOTE: Nutrition information is based on the published nutrition information of the ingredients.