Cherry blossom popsicles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)1
It’s been one HOT summer, save for a week of (much welcomed) cooler weather… and I have NO complaints about any of it. :) Being in Canada, we actually get our fair share of heat and humidity, because it isn’t always the Great White North. One way I’ve been cooling off lately is making different frozen treats – so many, in fact, that I recently partnered with Jennifer Robins of Predominantly Paleo to make a whole book of them. What sets our book, ‘We Can ALL Scream for Ice Cream’ apart from many others, however, is that our treats are all Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) friendly! For me, these recipes are purely selfish, since I’m among the growing number in the Paleo community who have found even further improvements to health by cutting out inflammatory foods like eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades.
Now these popsicles aren’t in the book, but they are AIP friendly! (Thankfully, I can actually tolerate chocolate, but I know that many who follow AIP can’t successfully re-introduce chocolate, so these are actually made with carob powder. If you can tolerate cocoa, you can certainly use it instead).
This recipe came about because of a conversation I had with my husband about one of his favorite chocolates as a kid: ‘Cherry Blossoms’. It turns out that Cherry Blossoms are a Canadian thing apparently, because my discussion of these with my American co-author had her wondering what the heck I was talking about – not uncommon in our discussions though ;). A good Canadian Cherry Blossom is essentially a very non-paleo, cloyingly sweet, corn-syrup-filled, candied cherry, covered in chocolate, coconut, and pieces of nuts. These Cherry Blossom popsicles are AIP-friendly, and they aren’t cloyingly sweet, but they’re still very, very good. I’ve skipped the nuts for all of us on AIP, but if you can tolerate them, you can certainly sprinkle nuts on top of the chocolate coating for that extra crunch. The toasted coconut in the chocolatey coating is quite excellent with or without the added nuts. If you’ve never tasted a cherry blossom, these popsicles are a bit like a good black forest cake. YUM! If you’re vegan, you can omit the gelatin – but if you can, include it because not only does gelatin add plenty of gut-healing nutrition, it also adds to the creaminess of the popsicle.
Sarah Ballantyne (aka The Paleo Mom) does recommend that those of us following AIP should limit fructose intake to no more than 20g per day. So, while these popsicles are AIP-friendly, they do contain 11.6 g of fructose per popsicle (with 8.5g of that in the coating). If you’re very concerned about the fructose, you can skip the coating, or spoon it over your popsicles sparingly. The coating can be quite thick if you just dip it in, like I did in making them.
- 1 can (400ml) of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp gelatin (omit if vegan)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2/3 cup fresh cherries, chopped
- 1 cup coconut oil (melted to clear liquid)
- ¾ cup carob powder
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup vanilla
- Optional: Toasted coconut flakes and/or finely chopped almonds or cashew pieces (about ¼ cup)
- Add coconut milk, gelatin, vanilla extract and maple syrup to a small saucepan on low-medium heat, and stir to combine evenly.
- Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it over the coconut milk mixture, then stir or whisk in the gelatin, to dissolve. It should only take a few minutes to completely dissolve the gelatin at low to medium heat.
- Add in about half of the chopped cherries, and using an immersion blender, blend the mixture together until fairly uniform.
- Divide the mixture up between your popsicle molds. If you have any extra, you can chill it in the fridge and eat as a cherry pudding. Add your reserved chopped cherries into the popsicle molds.
- Freeze the popsicles for at least 1-2 hours, or until completely frozen.
- In a blender cup, mix the coconut oil, carob powder, maple syrup and vanilla with an immersion blender. You should have a thick, chocolatey paste.
- Loosen the popsicles from the mold and dip each popsicle in the coating, turning the popsicle in the coating until all sides are covered. If necessary, you can smooth the coating with a small rubber spatula. Sprinkle with coconut flakes or chopped nuts, if desired.
- To harden the coating, re-freeze the popsicles briefly, about 15-30 minutes. To do this, stand the popsicles upright in the popsicle molds, making sure you have enough clearance in your freezer. Serve when the coating is set.