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May 22, 2017
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Creamy Mocha ICE POPS ---YUM!
        I GUESS THE GODS COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE because after all of my WHINING about HOW COLD IT’S BEEN, we’re gonna get boomeranged into A BIG BLAST of sweltering heat.
        THE TIMING, of course, IS LESS THAN IDEAL. The annual GARDINER CUPCAKE FESTIVAL is this weekend, and I have to TRANSPORT A TON OF CUPCAKES IN MY CAR, IN THAT HEAT. I’m not happy. I’ll be WEARING MY WINTER COAT in the car, WITH THE A/C CRANKED. So the ones inside the car will be fine. But the ones in the trunk? That’s another story. I can only PRAY, that after being holed up in that hot box for an hour, that they don’t arrive like SOGGY LITTLE PUDDLES OF CAKE. WHY COULDN’T THE HEAT WAIT JUST ONE MORE WEEK TO ARRIVE?   I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT I’M ACTUALLY SAYING THAT.
        Since it’s going to be hot, ice pops of any sort are always welcome. I LOVE this mocha version inspired by Gabriele Corcos’ recipe. You basically infuse some chopped chocolate with hot water and ground coffee, fold in some whipped heavy cream, and pour it into molds to freeze. THEY’RE CREAMY, RICH AND MORE THAN A LITTLE DECADENT. But it’s MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, so WE ALL HAVE A PASS. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

LESSONS Learned:
1. If you’ve ever chopped chocolate, you know that it can get pretty messy. I always place a piece of parchment on top of my cutting board, and then use a serrated knife to slice through the ch0colate. Once it’s chopped, it’s easy to just pick up the paper and slide the chocolate into the pot or bowl you’re using.
2. Once the pops are frozen, I like to individually wrap them up by placing them in snack size sandwich bags.
3. Alternatively, you could freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. They make a cool addition to a glass of seltzer, or a fun sweetener for hot or iced coffee.
4. This is a great do ahead dessert for a picnic or summer party too. How about pouring a little Kahlua or other mocha like liquid in a glass, add the ice pop, stick up and dunk away.

Creamy Mocha Ice Pops
(Inspired by Gabriele Corcos)
2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground medium-roast coffee
1 ¾ cups water
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
a tiny pinch of sea salt
Chopped toasted sliced almonds or chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Make the pops:
       Put the chocolate in a medium size bowl. Line a strainer with cheesecloth, and place it over the bowl of chocolate.
       In a medium-size saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup of sugar with the coffee and water. Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, it will bubble up. Strain the coffee through the cheesecloth over the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Let the mixture cool, and then refrigerate for 1 ½ to 2 hours or overnight.
       In a medium bowl, using a hand or stand mixer with the wire whisk, beat the cream with the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt at medium speed until soft peaks form. Whisk the chilled mocha mixture until smooth, and then whisk in half of the whipped cream until completely incorporated. Gently stir or whisk in the rest of the whipped cream. Pour the mocha mixture into the ice pop molds (I use a glass measuring cup to fill them), and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you’re using the nuts, press the frozen ice pops into the chopped nuts, returning them to the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 10 pops.     YUM!
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