Spiced Hojicha Pudding Pops
Ah, September. September is that awkward month where EVERYONE is coming down from a high of Labor Day Weekend and have pumpkin spice lattes pumping through their veins… but I’m over here still making popsicles and cold noodle salads because summer is actually just starting in the Bay Area. Hopefully… I’m looking out my window right now the sky is pretty grey and I’m looking for my sweater. I bet you a pudding pop that the Sun will come out and I’ll be all sweaty after my grocery store run this afternoon.
Before I rant about how I’ll be cooking recipes in a seasonal limbo this month, tell me how your LDW was! Reuben and I rarely plan to leave town during holiday weekends because we have a fear of holiday traffic and large groups of people trying to do the same thing… BUT we actually booked a weekend away without realizing that it was in fact Labor Day Weekend. Silly us. It worked out for us because it turns out not that many people know about Placerville, CA! We were looking for nature-y Airbnbs with a pool or access to water without the Lake Tahoe price tag or mass of people. So we found this lovely spot called Reverie Retreat complete with an insane pool, an edible garden, and some yurts! We stayed in the cottage though because I’m too much of a wuss to stay in a yurt right now.
It couldn’t have been more perfect. The mountains and views were like a Bob Ross painting, the pool was crisp, the rivers were chilly but refreshing and not too far, and the closest city was quirky and weird. We swam every day, got a little tan, watched a Reggae Dance Hall show and a Folky Bluegrass concert without even trying, ate the best coconut shrimp and hush puppies, and consumed enough chips and beer cheese for the rest of the year. I would say it was an A+++ weekend! We started looking at property around the area and day dreaming about having our own land with yurts and a garden. Could you imagine a mountain dumpling workshop?!!!! We will see…
Let’s get back to these pudding pops! These Spiced Hojicha Pudding Pops are going to help me transition during this weird season of Summer/Fall flip flopping. Popsicles are summery for obvious chilly reasons, but I feel like pudding pops are a great medium for bolder and deeper flavors. The creamy milky consistency is just calling for some spices to cut through the richness of the milk!
Hojicha is a roasted green tea. I love it so much! It’s nutty, smokey, toasty, and a little caramel-y. For people who say that tea is just not their thing and they must have coffee in the morning, I recommend giving hojicha a shot. It has a similar deep richness as a cup of coffee, especially if you brew it strong! When you add in a dash of cinnamon and cloves elevates all those cozy flavors even more!
How To Make Hojicha Pudding Pops
I’ve historically been a icy popsicle person because those recipes require almost no effort at all. But when I first started making pudding pops I realized that pretty much all popsicles are super easy to make! Pudding pops require maybe 1 extra step of cooking the milk to thicken the consistency, but that step only takes a few extra minutes! I also forgot how satisfying having creamy popsicle can be!
The step in making these Hojicha Pudding pops is infusing the tea with the milk. I use this method in all my tea based recipes. All you do is simmer the milk with the tea leaves to extract as much tea flavor as you can. In this case, we simmer the tea and milk for 5-7 minutes. The milk will have a nice caramel color to it. You then strain out the tea leaves and place the milk back in the pot to continue cooking with some cornstarch (as the thickener), some spices, and sugar. Once the mixture is thick you pour it into the molds and freeze until solid. THAT’S IT.
If you want to be extra fancy, you can drizzle on some chocolate and add a sprinkle of sea salt. I highly recommend this extra step because the bites with a big salt chuck are just soooooooo good!
These popsicles can keep in the freezer for a few weeks! Until freezer smell starts to creep in or until you invite some friends over and they disappear in a few minutes! I’m having some ladies come over tonight so the few pudding pops left in my freezer might be gone by tomorrow. I’m going to bake my first pumpkin thing today because I’m not a monster. I really do love Fall, I just wish our weather wasn’t so silly and crazy! Happy Fall and transitional popsicle making, friends!
Also! Below are some snaps from our sunny weekend : )
Spiced Hojicha Pudding Pops
makes 10 - 3oz popsicles
3 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup loose leaf hojicha tea leaves
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate - optional
1 tsp coconut oil - optional
flakey sea salt - optional
Add milk and tea leaves to sauce pan or medium pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Watch the milk because it has a tendency to boil over. Turn off the heat and pour the milk and tea mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into a heat proof container. Discard the tea leaves.
Add the tea infused milk back into the pot. Turn the heat onto medium low - barely simmering. Whisk together cornstarch and water and pour into the milk while continually whisking. Add spices and sugar. Whisk for an additional 3-4 minutes until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup and allow to slightly cool for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid - about 4 hours.
optional decoration step:
Melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler until smooth. Or melt in the microwave in 15 second increments, mixing in between. It’s important to only microwave in 15 second increments so the chocolate doesn’t burn.
Remove the pudding pops out of the molds and place on a parchment paper line baking tray.
Drizzle the chocolate over the pudding pops and sprinkle with flakey sea salt. Place pudding pops back in the freezer to firm up or until ready to enjoy.