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Sophisticated or sweet, frozen pops are summer’s hottest DIY treat

Frozen Pops – the original fun food on a stick – are making a splash this summer as the cool, must-have treat. Making your own pops at home is the hottest food trend this summer.



They’re cool, delicious, fun and easier to make than virtually any other frozen treat. Plus, with the right combination of ingredients, they can as easily be a sophisticated dessert for a grown-up soiree as they are the perfect snack for a kids’ party.



“Whether you want to celebrate the Fourth of July with Red, White and Blueberry Lemonade Pops or use garden-fresh fruits and veggies to make Strawberry Green Smoothie Pops, these flavorful treats are the perfect complement to any summer occasion,” says Jennifer Kalinowski with the Betty Crocker Kitchens.



People are making frozen pops for a number of reasons. They’re a fun do-it-yourself treat-one that allows for lots of creativity. Plus, they give a chance to make use of flavorful summer fruits and even veggies. New ice pop molds and quick-makers have also boosted interest in making frozen pops at home.



If you would like to try this hot food trend, the pop pros at The Betty Crocker Kitchens offer some tips for pop-producing success:



* Do-It-Yourself. You don’t need special equipment to make homemade pops. Small paper cups make great DIY pop molds. Simply fill, cover tops with foil and insert a stick before freezing. Remove pops from cups by snipping top of cup and tearing away from pop.



* Play with shape. Ice pop molds come in all sorts of fun shapes and sizes. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for filling and removing molds. If a pop is stuck in a mold, run warm water on outside of mold for a few seconds and then gently move stick back and forth to loosen pop.



* Get creative with the stick! Use colorful straws, lollipop sticks or different shapes of wooden craft sticks. Just make sure whatever you choose is safe for use with food.



* Swirl, layer and stripe. For a swirled look, start with thick mixtures like pudding or yogurt and gently stir. To make multilayered pops, be sure each pop layer is frozen before adding the next layer.



* Keep it cold. The temperature of your freezer should be zero degrees or colder so that pops freeze solid. Place pops in the back of the freezer where it’s coldest.



* Serve ‘em up! Homemade pops are best enjoyed within a few days of making them. Store pops in molds until ready to serve.



Go wild with your pop ingredients-traditional staples like fruit and yogurt make an appearance in Red, White and Blueberry Lemonade Pops or Fresh Fruit Fo-Yo Pops (look for the recipes at BettyCrocker.com). Others, like Strawberry Green Smoothie Pops mix the sweetness of summer strawberries with the nutritional punch of vitamin-packed greens. Veggies are also the star of Crazy Carrot Pops.



For a more grown-up treat, try Berry White Sangria Pops that mix white wine, orange liqueur and fresh berries, or Watermelon Mojito Cocktail pops that feature the quintessential summer melon with a splash of light rum.



Traditionalists will love Double Chocolate Swirl Pops, Lemon Meringue Pie Pops and Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Pops. And for something truly new and unique, sample Cherry Hibiscus Tea Pops or Peach Chai Spice Tea Pops.



Here are three pop recipes to try, courtesy of The Betty Crocker Kitchens:



Strawberry Green Smoothie Pops



Prep time: 15 minutes

Start to finish: 8 Hours 15 Minutes



Ingredients:



1 container (6 ounces) Yoplait Original 99 perrcent Fat Free French vanilla yogurt

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 container (6 ounces) Yoplait Original 99 percent Fat Free Key lime pie or French vanilla yogurt

1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves

1/4 cup apple juice



Directions:



1. In blender, place one container French vanilla yogurt and strawberries. Cover and blend until smooth. Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture into each of five 5-ounce paper cups. Cover cups with foil; insert craft stick into center of each pop. (Or fill ice pop molds according to manufacturer’s directions.) Put remaining mixture in bowl; cover and refrigerate. Freeze pops about two hours or until frozen.



2. In blender, place Key lime pie yogurt, spinach and apple juice. Cover and blend until smooth. When first layer is frozen, remove foil from pops. Pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons of spinach mixture in each cup over frozen layer. Put remaining mixture in bowl, cover and refrigerate. Return foil to pops to support sticks. Freeze about two hours or until frozen.



3. Repeat with remaining strawberry and spinach layers, freezing at least two hours between layers.



Makes five pops.For that great layered look, freezing completely between layers is necessary so that colors do not mix into each other.



Fresh Fruit Fro-Yo Pops



Prep time: 10 minutes

Start to finish: 6 hours 10 minutes



Ingredients:



2 containers (6 ounces each) Yoplait Original 99 percent Fat Free French vanilla yogurt

2 cups cut-up fresh fruit such as blueberries, bananas, cherries, grapes, papaya, peaches, oranges or raspberries

1 tablespoon honey



Directions:



1. Place all ingredients in blender, . cover and blend until smooth.

2. Divide mixture among six 5-ounce paper cups. Cover cups with foil and insert craft stick into center of each pop. (Or fill ice pop molds according to manufacturer’s directions.) Freeze about six hours or until frozen.



Makes six pops. This pop can also be made with strawberries, grapefruit, plums, mango or pineapple.



Berry White Sangria Pops



Prep time: 10 minutes

Start to finish: 8 hours 10 minutes



Ingredients:



1 cup hot water

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup chilled white wine such as Pinot Grigio

1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup fresh berries, such as blueberries and thinly sliced strawberries



Directions:



1. In medium bowl, stir hot water and sugar until dissolved. Stir in wine, orange liqueur and lemon juice.



2. Divide fruit among seven 5-ounce paper cups. Pour wine mixture into cups. Cover cups with foil and insert craft stick into center of each pop. Freeze eight hours or until frozen.



Makes seven pops. These pops take longer to freeze because of the alcohol.

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