I can’t stand our kitchen cabinets. Although made of solid wood and relatively enormous in size, they drive me batty on a daily basis. Yes, I realize this is a First World Problem of the highest order, but still. I can count on one hand how many of the drawers and doors actually line up and/or close neatly. I can also count on one hand the number of times I’ve been whacked in the head by turning into a cabinet that has somehow swung itself open after I’d closed it just seconds before. They are Attack Cabinets.
As it happens, said cabinets were designed and built decades (and decades) ago by a former owner of our house, who apparently fancied himself a cabinetmaker. When I picture this man building the cabinets, I also picture his wife, who was apparently a much more supportive and tolerant spouse than I, occasionally passing through the kitchen, observing her husband’s work, shaking her head a little, and yet somehow never once reminding him of the mantra “measure twice, cut once“. I wish I could go back in time, find that woman, and beg her to please speak up because those cabinets would be driving me crazy 50 years later.
The one thing I don’t mind about the cabinets? Their color. Sure, I’d love to have a tricked-out, modern, bright, and airy kitchen with gleaming white cabinetry (that actually stays closed, and opens with a glide rather than a sputter). But I guess the one bonus to having cabinets designed during the Mad Men era is that it’s been long enough that their golden hue could almost be considered Retro Fabulous. If you squint. And also if you stop calling the color Totally Nonfunctional Ancient Cabinet Maple Stain, and instead call it something like Mid-Century Modern Dulce de Leche Gloss.
I’m trying to work with what I’ve got, people. I’m really trying, here.
Also on the subject of dulce de leche–I recently acquired a new jar. And after I realized that it’s the exact same color as my freaky kitchen cabinetry, I started thinking about what I might like to do with it. Cookies? Candy? A rework of some epic cheesecake bars? Nah. Coming up short and lacking the necessary inspo, and in the interest of avoiding just eating the whole dang jar with a spoon, I put it away on one of the more reliable cabinet shelves up in this place, and promptly forgot about it.
Then a few days ago, while hangin’ with my BFF, we came up with the answer while brainstorming popsicle ideas. See, some friends sit around lamenting their post-baby body changes and then gossiping about people’s Facebook updates, but not us. (Okay, we totally did all of that, but I was in town all week so obviously we’d moved on to popsicles at that point). After many, many possible Lady Flavor combinations (“Prosecco? Mint and Prosecco? Peach and Raspberry and…Prosecco?”), we landed on something else entirely, with Greek yogurt and dulce de leche, super simple in the spirit of late summer laziness, and easily dressed up or dressed down.
Once I got into the kitchen with the idea, I opted to throw in some vanilla bean paste because I can’t seem to stay away from the stuff, a sprinkling of finely ground coffee beans (for textural interest, a flavor boost, and a little bit of pretty), and a good hit of salt to balance the whole thing out. The resulting pops are magical–cool, creamy, sweet, with some seriously layered flavor action going on. And dead simple to throw together! Just what a proper pop should be.
Speaking of proper pops, I have to give pop propers to Billy Green, the hysterical mind behind my latest food blog obsession Wit and Vinegar, and the evil genius behind Popsicle Week. As long as you’re stalking food blogs right now, why not check this link and visit some of my popsicle-loving blog friends and see what they’re freezing up this week?
Coffee-Dulce de Leche Frozen Yogurt Pops
Makes about 10 3-ounce popsicles
For best results with the coffee part, I recommend a really fine grind on the coffee beans. Because we are coffee snobs around here and grind our beans fresh everyday, I was able to grind some beans to the really fine texture I was looking for. But if you want to avoid the ground beans altogether, just add a little instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals–they’ll dissolve into the mix and you won’t get the flecks of beans in the finished pops.
I like this popsicle mold for getting results like the ones in the photos here.
2 cups 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup jarred dulce de leche
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon finely ground coffee or espresso beans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large zip-top plastic bag. Snip one corner off the bag and fill the wells of a popsicle mold, stopping every so often to give the mold a few firm raps on the countertop to compact the mixture into the molds and avoid air pockets. Freeze until firm, at least 8 hours. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before attempting to remove the pops from the molds.
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