I‘d been thinking about the Zoku Quick Pop Maker since the first time I saw it at Williams-Sonoma. I sent a tweet asking if anyone owned it, and everyone replied with praise regarding how great it is (Everyday Mama put it on her list of June Must Haves). Later that day, we found ourselves at Fashion Valley mall so I decided to buy it. I knew it was $49.99 and at the outer edge of what I consider a popsicle to be worth. But in the store, she had eyeballed the Character Kit so I had to at least get that too. But here’s how it all went down:
Sales Associate: “You can’t buy the machine without the tool set!”
Me: “Um, ok,” as La Jolla girl was already adding it to our pile.
Sales Associate: “You must also buy the recipe book. You won’t know how to make the fancier popsicles otherwise. There’s a promotion if you also buy the book.”
Me: “Ok, fine.”
Sales Associate: “The popsicle maker only makes 3 popsicles at a time. You need the storage case to store them, while you make more. The recipes are for at least 6 popsicles at a time. I’d recommend several.”
Me: “I’ll take ONE.” I don’t even eat popsicles.
He was right, but at the time I felt like someone punched me in the stomach after I saw the total which was…
These had better be the best popsicles on the planet. The recipes in the book are fancy with everything from key lime pie (with graham cracker layers), to popsicles colored like the American flag, and more.
Blending the juice: We blended a fresh strawberry mixture and a mango banana mixture. To be honest, if you used bottled juices, it would be WAY easier and the colors would be more vibrant. I can’t bring myself to use food coloring as suggested in some of the recipes. However, by cutting up all the fruit (and making a total mess) La Jolla Girl snacked on it the entire time and was very interested in the entire process. I think it’s important that she sees what goes into her food. And, if you have good quality fruit, there is absolutely no need to add sweetener to it.
Practice has to make perfect (let’s hope): I will tell you that the fancy popsicles are harder to make than you might think. To make the shapes, slice an apple or pear very thinly and use the character cut outs to make your face. The tool set comes with a star and a heart shape cutter.
After the Zoku Quick Pop Maker is ready, put your design on this spatula and smash it on the side of the popsicle mold. The fruit should freeze to the side. This is hard. The fruit can’t be too thick otherwise when you pull out the spatula, it will knock the fruit off. And sometimes it just doesn’t stick.
Insert the popsicle stick and pour in the juice. Pour half way, freeze and then pour in another color, if you like. If you do this, you must be so careful not to get anything on the sides so that there’s no spots of orange in the red and vice versa. It’s really difficult.
I think mango is too thick unless you juice and strain it. See what happened here when we tried to make the triangle design.
Ugh. We’ll see. Here is the final product of round 1. We need to practice. But popsicles are ready in just over an hour, which is pretty cool.
Other do’s and don’ts: Hard alcohol doesn’t freeze well so don’t even think about putting that daquiri in, unless it’s really diluted. And what’s the point of that? Beer will freeze (from what I read). Sugar free drinks don’t freeze well either.
Do you need all of the gadgets: I got caught up with following the recipes in Zoku Quick Pop Maker exactly, which totally isn’t necessary. I think you can wing it. If it tastes good in the blender or juicer, it’s going to taste good as a popsicle. The book is great for inspiration, because I would have never thought to make a key lime pie popsicle, for example. You will need a few storage containers and I’m not sure if you need the Character Kit, if you have small cookie cutters lying around or older kids that can shape the fruit with a knife. The big green spatula that comes with it is helpful though. You will need the tool set for the fancier popsicles.
Despite the expense, the Zoku Quick Pop Maker is a very good activity that will keep kids busy while school is out. I like being in control of what goes into the popsicle and the result can be extremely healthy. That being said, we’ll try the cake style popsicles next and let you know how it goes!