Coconut Almond Chai Popsicles

Kaki, this popsicle (number 2 of 3 for Popsicle Week!) was inspired by one of my very favorite food blogs, TheKitchn.  I think probably one in four of my posts on this blog links over to them, and it’s with good reason: they are thorough, insightful, and offer a wide variety of food perspectives (from choosing vegetables at the market, to how to correctly brew green tea and what all those tea terms mean, to reviewing cookbooks, to, of course, recipes from all cultures and for all dietary needs).

That said, for some reason my first thought when I read their recipe for Chai Creamsicles was, “Whoa, that’s a lot of dairy.”  Now, I’m a fan of dairy in all its butter, cheese, milk, cream, yogurt, and ice cream forms.  But I suppose really what I was looking for was a popsicle version of their creamsicle.  Enter: coconut-almond milk.

Coconut milk is really good; I’ve used it before, both the canned and carton-ed varieties,  in cooking and baking and loved it.  Almond milk is really good, too, especially in the protein department.  That’s really where the blend of the two shines: good fats from both ingredients, but also good protein from the almonds.  Silk and Blue Diamond are both making cartons of just such a blend these days, and HEB had a coupon when I was shopping for ingredients, so, you know, that quickly sealed the deal.

Plus, once again, I’ve accidentally vegan-ized a recipe.  People are going to talk if we keep this up, Kaki.

Coconut Almond Chai Popsicles

makes about 9 Zipzicles

adapted from TheKitchn

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups coconut-almond milk, divided
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teabags black tea (I used Constant Comment, since that already has so much clove flavor)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger (no need to peel)
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom pods, crushed (place a heavy pot on top of the pods then press the pot into the counter to crush the pods until they open)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 3-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Pour 3 cups of coconut-almond milk into a medium saucepan with a lid.  Add the sugar and teabags to the milk.

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Heat this mixture over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally so the sugar dissolves.  (You can cover between stirrings to help the mixture warm more quickly.)  Once simmering, let simmer for one minute, then remove from the heat, letting the tea steep for 3-5 minutes.*

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Remove the tea bags from the milk, and add the ginger, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, and black peppercorns to the milk.

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Heat the milk and spices over medium heat and return the mixture to a simmer.  Again let simmer for one minute, then remove the pot from the heat and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes.

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Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the spices.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup coconut-almond milk to the mixture, stirring to combine.  Cool the mixture in the refrigerator for at least a few hours; it should be fully chilled.

Once the mixture is chilled, pour it into your popsicle mold of choice, or into about 9 Zipzicle baggies.  Place in the freezer for about 8 hours, or overnight, until solid.

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These were the most involved of all of the popsicles I made, but their flavor was great.  They froze up with larger ice crystals that I’d expected, but that comes from the decreased fat content, I’d wager.  I didn’t mind their texture one bit.

I saved my favorite popsicle flavor for last, Kaki.  It’ll be posted on Friday for our final installment of Popsicle Week 2014!

–Caitlin

*Be gentle when you’re poking the tea bags to make sure they’re steeping thoroughly.  Because otherwise one is going to pop open and you’re going to have tea leaf specks floating in your milk that you’ll have to strain out and it’ll be a regular pain.

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