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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cherry Mojito Ice Pops

Cherry Mojito Ice Pops
Have I become predictable?  Is my life all frozen treats on sticks, stone fruits, and booze?  Hmmmmm.  Perhaps I have.

But I prefer to think of it as my "summer thing".  I mean, we all have our little idiosyncrasies (idiots-n-crazies), do we not?  Apparently summer triggers this pattern of behavior in me.

Hey, there are worse things in life than the enjoyment of cold ice pops of a sweltering summer's day.  Or fresh fruit so juicy that dribbles down your chin when you bite into it.  Or a refreshing adult to help mama relax (okay, that sounded creepy...but you get my drift, right?).

So, it should come as no surprise to you when I tell you when life gives me cherries, I blend them into boozy frozen treats.  And I enjoy every minute of it.
10 pound cherry challenge
It's true.  When the opportunity to have 10 POUNDS of my favorite fruit delivered to my door step, I wasted no time in shaking its hand!  Aside from a box dripping with ruby red globes courtesy of NorthWest Cherries, I was also provided with some great OXO Kitchen Tools to help me along in this #10lbCherryChallenge.  Here's a look-see at what I had to work with:
  • Cherry Pitters:  I've mentioned my love for these handy little gadgets before.  It's sturdy.  It's comfortable in your hand.  And the unique spatter shield helps keep the carnage to a minimum!
  • 9 Piece Nesting Bowl and Colander Set: Okay, these are great.  Small, medium, and large bowls - each with its own colander sitting comfortably inside.  Pop your cherries into them as the pits are removed, and then easily lift out the colander to rinse them off.  Once they've drip dried a bit, you can easily weigh the fruits of your labor and portion them out.  Snap on a lid for storage.
  • 11 lb. Food Scale w/ Pull-Out Display:  Where have you been all my life!?  I love you, I love you, I love you (Buddy the Elf-style)!  I've mentioned before that a kitchen scale is probably my numero uno, must-have tool in the kitchen.  From weighing flour for bread, to weighing cherries for ice pops...this sleek scale gets the job done.  A very cool feature is the pull-out display - this helps from having to bob-and-weave if you have a large bowl on the scale that happens to be casting its shadow right over the display.  Simply pull it out for easy reading.  I know it will become an indispensable part of my kitchen.
  • 10 lbs. of Northwest Cherries: Now, I am a Michigan cherry lover...I grew up climbing those trees and filling my shirt with as many as I could carry (and then some)...eating them until my belly was bursting and my fingers were stained red.  So in good conscious, I cannot say that these Northwest cherries were the best (because no cherries beat Michigan cherries) - but I can say that they came as close as another cherry is going to get.  They were sweet.  They were juicy.  They were bright red (as opposed to the brownish-tinge that I've seen some cherries get).  And they were perfectly delicious.    
So, that's the stone fruit part.  Enter idiosyncrasy...

Cherry Mojito Ice Pops
The bold, bright color and flavors of summer cherries combined with the flavors of a Mojito, and then frozen. Enjoy your cocktail on a stick!
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Cherry Mojito Ice Pops
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes (+ time to freeze)
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: dessert snack vegan soy-free nut-free dairy-free alcohol cherries mint rum frozen popsicles summer

Ingredients (6 (3 ounce) Ice Pops)
  • 1 pound pitted fresh sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup minty simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces good rum
Place cherries, simple syrup, and lime juice into the jar of a blender, and blend until smooth.

Set a strainer over a large, glass measuring cup with a spout and strain the mixture, pushing down to extract all of the juice. Stir in rum.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid, at least 6-8 hours, adding popsicle sticks at the correct time for your molds.

to make the Minty Simple Syrup (yield ~3 cups):
Combine 2 cups water with 2 cups sugar, and a huge handful of fresh mint (leaves and stems...packed down, will equal about 1/2 cup) in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble for one minute, stirring to be sure all of the sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and cool to room temperature. Strain into a jar with a lid and store in the fridge.

Use the extra minty simple syrup to sweeten cocktails, tea, or lemonade.

You can make "virgin" mojito ice pops by leaving out the rum.
Cherry Mojito Ice Pops
Also check out the #10lbCherryChallenge Pinterest board!

I received 10 pounds of NorthWest cherries and some OXO tools at no cost in exchange for my participation in the 10 lb. Cherry Challenge, sponsored by OXO and NorthWest Cherry Growers.  I received no compensation for this post, and all thoughts and opinions stated within are 100% my own.
Summer of the Popsicle 2