Sometimes I think about the “If you were stranded on a desert island…” question, but with food. Instead of “What three things would you take with you?,” I ask myself, “If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
Mine would be ice cream, hands down. Cupcakes and cake aren’t even contenders. Pie, meh. I would have a hard time giving up cookies. But I don’t have to choose just one flavor of ice cream, right? So I can still get cookies ‘n cream ice cream every once in a while to get a fix of both? Also, by “ice cream,” I assume that includes gelato, frozen custard, and dairy-based popsicles. Sounds perfect.
In the category of Foods I Could Eat All The Time And Not Get Sick Of, peanut butter is right up there with ice cream. This could be genetic—my dad’s breakfast is not complete until he has had a Triscuit (or two) with crunchy peanut butter. Me, I’m a creamy girl myself, and I like to get my breakfast PB fix on a toasted English muffin with sliced banana. I’ve also been known to mix a spoonful of that peanutty goodness into a bowlful of granola. (It’s like a peanut butter granola bar in cold cereal form. You just have to smoosh the peanut butter into the cereal real good before you add the milk. Try it.)
I have tried the powdered peanut butter thing. While I firmly believe that it makes a crappy substitute for regular peanut butter when you reconstitute it and use it as a spread, it’s pretty dynamite for making banana-peanut butter smoothies. (Which are also in the PB-for-breakfast rotation.)
So, imagine how much my mind exploded when I made some spectacular fudge pops from Smitten Kitchen and realized I might be able to tweak the recipe a bit and get the same pudding-y mouthfeel but with peanut butter instead of chocolate. It could just be the perfect trifecta: Peanut butter? Check. Pudding pop that’s basically a single serving of ice cream? Check. Icy cold dessert on a swelteringly hot summer day? Check.
The recipe from is pretty simple: you cook milk, sugar, cornstarch, and some flavorings until the mixture thickens, then pour it into some popsicle molds; the texture turns out pretty amazing, really smooth and rich. I subbed creamy peanut butter and powdered peanut butter for the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder, reduced the sugar a bit, and took out the butter. It turned out exactly as I had hoped: fudge pop texture, peanut butter flavor.
I use plastic popsicle molds. Sometimes it can be a pain to get the pops out of the mold. The method that works most consistently for me is to remove the frozen popsicles from the freezer, let them rest at room temperature for 3-4 minutes, and then run the mold under warm water before gently removing.
Peanut Butter Pudding Pops
makes 4 pops, plus a little leftover (my molds are about 2 1/2 oz.)
- 1 1/4 c. whole milk
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. powdered peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Put all of the ingredients except the vanilla into a medium saucepan. Set aside the liquid measurer that the milk was in—you’ll need it again.
- Turn the heat to medium and start whisking.
- Continue whisking frequently until the mixture thickens, about 5 or 6 minutes. For me, it started bubbling after 2 or 3 minutes and thickened up another 2 minutes or so after that.
- Remove from heat and pour back into the liquid measuring cup. This will make it easier to fill your molds.
- Add the vanilla extract and let the mixture cool a little—10 minutes or so.
- Fill your molds and let freeze until solid. I let them freeze overnight.