RECIPE: Cold, creamy and dairy-free avocado frozen pops

Avocado frozen pops are a creamy and refreshing nondairy summer treat. (Virginia Willis for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Virginia Willis

Credit: Virginia Willis

Avocado frozen pops are a creamy and refreshing nondairy summer treat. (Virginia Willis for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The subtle nutty flavor and creamy consistency of avocados works well in dips, sauces, salad dressings, sandwiches and salads. Their rich and silky mouthfeel also makes them an excellent ingredient in a dairy-free frozen pop.

The good-for-you fat in avocados can satiate and satisfy, making them an ideal choice for a frozen treat. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Avocados are a good source of fiber, and contain more fat (the good kind) than carbohydrate, so are popular on lower-carbohydrate diets such as with diabetes. Their heart-friendly fats do not increase blood cholesterol, which can provide satisfaction on a traditional cholesterol-lowering diet that is often low in fat and cholesterol.”

Avocados can be different sizes, depending on the variety. The Hass avocado is the most common type found in grocery stores and is available year-round. Hass skin is dark green or black, typically bumpy and the flesh, when ripe, is pale green, smooth and buttery.

Avocados will continue to ripen after harvest. If you are planning to use an avocado immediately after purchase, choose a ripe one with dark green or almost black skin. It should yield to pressure when squeezed. Avocados with light green skin that are very firm are unripe and will need to sit at room temperature on the countertop before eating. If the avocado has dark shriveled skin, dents or spots of mushy flesh, it is likely overripe, bitter and unpleasant to eat.

Years ago, my friend and cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez told me her very helpful technique for determining an avocado’s ripeness. She examines underneath the “belly button” where the avocado was once attached to the stem. Once removed, it will reveal the flesh of the avocado. The avocado is not ripe if the stem is difficult to remove and the area underneath is nearly colorless or tinted yellow. The avocado is ripe if the button comes off easily and the area underneath is pale green. The avocado is overripe if the stem comes off easily and the area underneath is brown.

These frozen pops are best made with ripe avocados, but slightly underripe will work, too. Simply make certain to puree the mixture until completely smooth.

Avocado Frozen Pops

Frozen pop molds come in all shapes and sizes. This mixture makes about 2 cups. If you don’t have frozen pop molds you use ice cube trays and toothpicks or wooden skewers.

1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 ripe Hass avocados

Pinch of fine sea salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Halve the avocados lengthwise. Remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a blender, along with the cooled simple syrup, salt and lemon juice. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Divide the mixture among the frozen pop molds, snap on the lids, if using, and freeze until solid, about 4 hours.

Makes 8 4-ounce frozen pops.

Per frozen pop: 116 calories (percent of calories from fat, 58), 1 gram protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams total sugars, 4 grams fiber, 8 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 23 milligrams sodium.

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