I’m relishing LA’s 70 degree weather this week. It’s simply perfect. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and there’s a slight chill in the air to refresh and rejuvenate. The relentless California summer will be here soon, which in recent years feels like it begins weeks before its calendar start date. With Roasted Blueberry Matcha Pops on-hand, I’ll be ready with a healthy, cooling snack whenever the first heat wave hits. These pops are made with fresh blackberries, slow-roasted to thicken their juices and bring out their sweet-tart flavor. I’ve tried the simpler method of cooking the berries over a stove top, and must say that the oven-roasting route creates a far superior result. Top the pops off with coconut milk infused with soothing honey, earthy green tea, and vanilla beans scraped straight from the pod. Use only best-quality, natural ingredients to make these and they’ll satisfy and your not-too-sweet tooth all spring and summer long.
Roasted Blackberry Matcha Pops
Makes 8 ice pops.
2-6 oz. packages organic blackberries
5 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp matcha powder, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
paring knife, to scrape seeds from vanilla pod
small baking sheet, lightly oiled with non-stick spray
medium mixing bowl
liquid measuring cup with spout
8 popsicle sticks, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes then blotted with a paper towel
1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix together the blackberries, 3 Tbsp of honey, and the seeds of one vanilla bean, then place this on a lightly greased baking sheet. When the oven comes up to temperature, roast the berries for 25 minutes. Remove the berries from the oven and lightly smash them with a fork. Set the berries aside to cool a bit. As the berries cool the juices will thicken.
2.) In a medium mixing bowl, vigorously whisk the coconut milk, sifted matcha, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 Tbsp of honey together. Transfer this mixture to a liquid measuring cup. Spoon the cooked berries, about 2 Tbsp, equally into each of 8 popsicle molds. Carefully top the matcha coconut milk mixture over each of the fruit-filled popsicle cavities. Leave a 1/4″ allowance at the top of each cavity to allow the pops to expand during freezing.
3.) Place the lid on the popsicle molds, then carefully insert the popsicle sticks, straight down, into each of the open slots. Leave 1″ of each popsicle stick above the lid. Let the popsicles freeze for at least 4 hours or until completely hardened. If you have difficulty removing them from the molds, run the outside of each popsicle mold under warm water to help the popsicles release.