Mr. Mom’s Kitchen thinks I’m a real wimp when it comes to coffee. He’s a guy so passionate about his cup-of-Joe that he’ll wait in a 20 minute line for his preferred brew and look for beans roasted within days of buying them. He drinks it black, no sugar, and can down a double espresso minutes before laying his head down for the night.
These Café Con Leche Ice Pops are for sissies like me: Sweet, creamy, light, with a whiff of vanilla…frozen, for goodness sake. I’m all over it.
The recipe was inspired by a ladies lunch some months back at Nopalito, a charming Mexican eatery that relies on excellent ingredients (this is not your mystery meat-slinging taco truck). For me, dessert was the highlight of the meal: a single café con leche ice pop shared amongst the five of us. Can you get more girly than that? One bite in, though, and I wished I had ordered my own.
After a bit of tinkering, I’ve come up with a homespun version of the Café Con Leche pop. It’s not as rich as Nopalito’s. I imagine they use a hefty splash of cream or half and half, or maybe both in theirs.
Mine calls for whole milk, so it’s a little lighter in flavor and texture, but also more refreshing as a result. It’s also only about 75 calories, which is pretty lean when it comes to frozen treats (a Haagen Daz bar weighs in at about 300 calories).
These pops are better suited to grown ups than kids (the caffeine may have them up until the wee hours). Alternatively, you could seek out decaf espresso (which will still have a tiny bit of caffeine) or fill a separate set of pop molds with fruit juice.
Wimpy or not, these ice pops are pretty delicious. Even Mr. Mom’s Kitchen lapped up every sweet, creamy bit. Then he had a cup of black-as-tar, unsweetened coffee made from freshly-ground beans imported from a tiny organic coffee farm in West Panama and roasted in a Portland garage-based start-up funded from the sale of fair-trade hemp tee shirts.
And then he went straight to bed.
P.S. Speaking of pops, congratulations to the winner of our Perfect Pops cookbook and set of ice pop molds. For more inspiration on summer pops, check out the comments section of the giveaway. So many of you chimed in with terrific ideas.
This milky coffee is also fairly heavenly poured over ice and enjoyed as a cold drink. You can find instant espresso in the coffee section of specialty markets and some supermarkets.
• 2 cups whole milk, divided
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso
• ¼ cup very firmly packed dark brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put ½ cup of the milk and the sugar into a small saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, about a minute. Don’t let it boil.
Remove from heat, immediately add the instant espresso, and stir until it dissolves. Add the vanilla and stir again.
Pour the coffee into pop molds and freeze for at least 6 hours.
Unmold and serve immediately.
Makes about five 3-ounce pops