Welcome to Cooking Skool, a four-week series designed for young cooks. Each week serves up three themed recipes and how-to videos. Your kitchen guide is LNP | LancasterOnline food writer Kim O’Donnel, who walks you through every step of the way. Together, we’ll try new things, get creative and learn some math, science and history in between. Belly up to the counter and join us for our kitchen adventure!

Raise your hand if you love dessert! In the final installment of this series, we are serving up three ways to sweeten your summer. 

To beat the heat, we vote for homemade ice pops. The hard part is in choosing: Will you make blueberry or fudgy wudgy? Decisions, decisions.

For more fruity goodness, consider the parfait, a mix of mashed fruit (your choice) and whipped yogurt, layered in a glass like a tower. As my husband likes to say, “Everybody loves a parfait.”

And for chocolate lovers, you need to stop what you’re doing and make this pudding right now. Inspired by my efforts to make stovetop pudding a zillion years ago when I was about 8 years old, and um, the bowl exploded, I came up with this recipe that you can make in the blender. 

Just remember; sweets are treats and should be thought of as such. Don’t forget to eat your vegetables.

On this week's menu: Chocolate blender pudding, ice pops and yogurt and fruit parfaits.

Check out last week's recipes and videos:

Homemade chicken strips

Beans and rice

Zucchini Boats

Make your own ice pops

In Mexico, ice pops are known as paletas, derived from the Spanish word “palo,” which means stick. 

Essentially, ice pops are made from flavored liquid — fruit or milk or yogurt and sweetener — poured into a mold and frozen.

You can sweeten ice pops with sugar, honey or something called a simple syrup, which is equal parts water and sugar cooked until the sugar dissolves.

Tool Kit

Saucepan to make the simple syrup; whisk; liquid measuring cup or pitcher with a spout; blender or food processor; handheld citrus juicer; measuring cups; ice pop molds.

Tips

  • You can use the extra simple syrup to sweeten iced tea, lemonade or other kinds of cold drinks.
  • No ice pop molds? No problem. Use paper cups or ice cube trays. You do need sticks, however.
  • To unmold pops, hold by the stick and dip the mold in a bowl of hot water for about 15 seconds. Lift out of the water and tug on the stick to release.
  • For more ideas on making ice pops, check out: “Paletas” by Fany Gerson and “People’s Pops” by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell & Joel Horowitz.
Cooking Skool Pops

Homemade ice pops made from blueberries, sugar and lemon juice pureed in a food processor.

 

Blueberry Ice Pops

Makes about ten 2 1/2-ounce pops.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice

Directions:

Make the simple syrup, which can be done in advance: Place a saucepan on top of the stove and add the water and the sugar. Adjust the heat setting to medium and stir the mixture together. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool. 

Measure out 3/4 cup of the simple syrup (you can store the extra in the refrigerator). Pour into a food processor or blender. Add the berries and the citrus juice and puree until extremely well blended and maybe even a little frothy. 

Pour into a liquid measuring cup and into your ice pop molds, making sure to leave about a 1/4 inch of space at the top. Place in the freezer without sticks for the first hour, then insert sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours.

Chocolate Ice Pops

Makes about ten 2 1/2 ounce pops.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Place a saucepan on the stovetop and add the water, sugar and cocoa powder. Adjust the heat setting to medium-high and stir the mixture together. Heat until the mixture actively bubbles, stirring to make sure the sugar is dissolved. 

Turn off the heat and add the chocolate chips and the vanilla, whisking until the chocolate is completely melted. Cool completely before pouring into ice pop molds and freezing.