Jun 27, 2014

Coconut Sugar Banana Pudding Pops

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pops above

So far this summer, I’ve made good on my promise to slow down and recalibrate a little after finishing my cookbook manuscript. And just as I was getting stuck, thinking about what kind of recipe I might want to share with you now that I can make ANY RECIPE I WANT TO, EVER, the always entertaining and so-hilarious-somebody-ought-lock-this-boy-UP Billy Green of Wit and Vinegar announced the second coming of Popsicle Week. And BAM, I suddenly had the glittering inspiration to pull together a frozen tasty treat for all y’all. Internet friends can really be the wind beneath your wings like that sometimes, I’m telling you.

coconut sugar and bananas

Taking part in Popsicle Week is no easy task. You’re basically joining a crew of people who not only develop great recipes, but fabulous photos on the regular. (I made these babies last year, which I’m realizing look a lot like the ones I made this year but believe me, they taste quite different.) I’m not even going to try and compete with all the other fantastical pops and posts out there this time around, but I can at least feel confident that my post is (probably) the only one that will mention Bill Cosby.

Children of the 80s, holla if you hear me. Would our lives have been as delicious without Cosby, his sweaters, and his Jell-O Pudding Pops? I dare say no. Even though we’re now living in unsure times where The Cosby Show only airs in reruns and Jell-O pudding pops have long been discontinued (whhhyyy?), I still find myself drawn to the wisdom of Cosby and the gems he likes to drop during his speeches and appearances:

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I MEAN. That’s Cosby serving some Oprah-level realness, right there. That quote alone has gotten me through more than a few life moments where I find myself wanting to retreat to my closet with a box of Crunch n’ Munch.

pudding pot

But before I get too heavy on you, let’s get back pudding pops. Those cold, creamy, strongly-tasting-of-gelatin-but-somehow-oddly-pleasing Jell-O pops were everything to me as a girl. No Midwestern summer pool party was complete without a pudding pop. And although the summer weather in San Francisco is far too cold and much too foggy for a real pool party, I decided to make my own version, at home. With all-good ingredients, coconut sugar (which tastes nothing like coconut, I promise), and no funny stuff. And you better believe I had on my craziest, raunchiest, Technicolor sweater while I did it. Keep it Cosby, my friends.

pops side

Coconut Sugar Banana Pudding Pops
Makes about 10 2-ounce pops

This recipe beings with making a simple coconut sugar stovetop pudding, which if chilled all on its own is caramelly and sweet-salty and just divine. I’m just saying. My milk of choice here is whole milk, but with the cornstarch in the mix, even low fat milk with have a creamy mouthfeel. Almond would be my runner-up, for a non-dairy option.

My favorite popsicle mold is this one, right here.

2 cups (8 ounces/224 grams) whole milk
2/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces. 100 grams) coconut sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (8 3/4 ounces/250 grams) sliced firm-ripe bananas (about 2 large)

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, coconut sugar, cornstarch, and salt until the cornstarch has completely dissolved. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Once the pudding has come to a bubble, whisk constantly and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let the pudding cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Into the pitcher of a blender, pour the coconut sugar pudding. Add the sliced banana. Puree on high speed until completely smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.

  • Girlfriend, I love that quote. And these pops. AND that you used coconut sugar which I have yet to experiment with, though I do have some lingering in my pantry.

    • GET ON IT, GURL! Really, you’ll become kind of addicted.

  • lady, i LOVED this post! pudding pops rock! and your cosby quote: gold!


    • Thank you!! I love your whole thing.

  • I’m down for anything banana pudding related. These sound amazing!

    • Thanks so much, Cindy!

  • True story: When I was in kindergarten I had a best friend who was always on a diet — she was extremely overweight and the poor girl had to cut back on sweets. But when I went to her house we would sneak off to her cellar because there was a freezer full of pudding pops in it!! We would seriously have marathon Pudding Pop eating sessions. Chocolate/Vanilla swirl ALL THE WAY.

    Your version looks even better than the Cosby version. Love.

    • This is the saddest/best story I have ever heard. And God, I loved those chocolate/vanilla swirl ones. THE BEST.

  • I know it’s probably right here and I’m missing it – Or my brain is just not computing it – but how/where do you get/make the coconut sugar?

    • Coconut sugar is a natural sugar that’s all the rage right now, and totally delicious. Sometimes labeled “coconut sugar” or “coconut palm sugar” look for it at natural foods stores or in the natural foods section of most supermarkets. I order mine online for a great price, or even find huge bags of Madhava brand coconut sugar at Costco now! It’s not only super flavorful, but low-glycemic and has some good nutrients to boot. Great for baking, and a big part of my next cookbook, coming out next Spring! ūüôā

  • I love that quote…and the looks of these pops. I am really impressed with the taste of coconut, who would have thought it would be so brown?!

    • So good, right? It’s actually the sap of the coconut palm tree, not from the coconut itself, so that’s where the dark color comes from!

  • I can still taste the pudding pop ice shell. I’m going to hide a banana from my baby to make these.

  • That sounds amazing, my kids will love them.

  • Kids will definitely love these pops. But I am actually here little confused with coconut sugar. Is it easily available? Can I replace it with grated coconut and brown sugar or white sugar?

    • You can replace it with brown sugar, though the flavor will be a different!

  • Can I make these with brown sugar or raw sugar? If so, would I use the equivalent weight?

    • Brown sugar would work well, and I’d use a similar volume (brown sugar weighs more than coconut sugar).

      • Thanks for the response. I’m going to wrap up the summer (Labor Day) with these pops!

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