My biggest regret in life is not eating more popsicles in these twenty five years of living. When I stop to think of all the frozen pops I could’ve been eating all these years, I get sad. It saddens me. I might even start to cry a little. A single tear from my left eye falls to the ground. In a slow dramatic way, too. Popsicles do that to me. What, have I been living under a rock or something? I obviously haven’t been thinking clearly. My mind has been somewhere else. Perhaps on ice cream. Not that I blame myself, because ice cream happens to be unbelievably delicious. But popsicles, popsicles are even better. Personal frozen treats that you can take with you on the go. Individual chilled desserts that you can use as a microphone while you sing out loud at the top of your lungs, like no one is watching. Like you don’t even care.
I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to make and eat as many popsicles as humanly possible this summer. It’s taken something incredibly awesome like Popsicle Week to deter me from my wrongful ways. Those wrongful ways being, the serious lack of popsicles in my life. But that’s all about to change because I’m on the brink of going full on obsessed with popsicles from this day on. We’re starting with these horchata pops because I’m a sucker for anything loaded with cinnamon.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with horchata (you really should be), it’s a delicious drink made of rice and cinnamon. Think rice pudding but in drink form without all of the chunky rice. It’s served chilled and over ice. Perfect on a hot summer’s day. I’m not doing the drink justice so I’ll just let you experience the amazing taste of it for yourself with these popsicles. Hint hint. And for those of your who are familiar with it, let’s go out and celebrate with a few of these frozen pops. I promise to share.
Let’s have a real discussion for a second, shall we? I want to get personal with you. I’ve never made horchata before. Other than the basic facts that it’s made with rice and has my all time favorite spice in it, cinnamon, I had no other knowledge of it. It’s a drink, yeah. It’s delicious, okay. That’s as far as it goes. So I had to do a bit of research and I found out that it’s not even made with any milk! (What the what!) Authentic horchata has no dairy in it, but that wasn’t going to work for me with these pops because I wanted them to be thick and creamy, like ice cream, so I cheated a bit and added some dairy. Sue me.
Pour the rice into a large bowl, and add a couple of cinnamon sticks.
Pour in the sweetened condensed milk (shhhh), and the heavy cream (Don’t give me that, these aren’t authentic look) and some hot water. Give it a stir and allow to sit, covered, for about 1 hour, or until completely cooled to room temperature.
**Note: It’s important that the rice sit in the hot water, condensed milk, cream and cinnamon sticks. It’s essential to the flavor and taste of the pops. The heat from the water will waken up the cinnamon sticks and begin to infuse the liquid and rice with the spice.**
Once the mixture has cooled down, remove the rice (with a slotted spoon), and place it into a blender or food processor. Reserve the milk liquid for later.
**Tip: You can add a bit of the liquid to help the rice blend more smoothly.**
Blend until completely smooth. You might have to stop the blender or processor and give it a mix with a spoon to ensure it’s all blended perfectly. Go for about 3 minutes.
**Note: The rice mixture will be very thick and creamy. That’s okay! It’s the starch in the rice that makes it thick.**
Pour in the reserved milk liquid back into the puréed rice, and blend once more until well combined. Pour the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher. You might have to help the liquid through the sieve with a spoon. You’ll have a lot of pulp (or rice gunk) left over in the sieve. Toss it.
**Tip: You can run the horchata liquid a few times through the sieve if you want it super smooth. One time was enough for me, mostly because I was lazy to keep doing it. But you can decide what you’d like!**
Once all the rice gunk has been sifted out, you’re almost ready to freeze the mixture into pops. Almost. The last step is to sprinkle in the cinnamon and add the vanilla extract. Give it a stir and then pour the mixture into a popsicle mold.
**Tip: Don’t have a popsicle mold? You can pour the mixture into small paper cups, freeze halfway and then insert the wooden popsicle sticks. Continue to freeze until fully frozen.**
Depending on the size of your mold, you might have some horchata leftover. You can totally chill it in the fridge and serve it over ice to drink!
Freeze the popsicles for at least 4 hours or until completely frozen.
Once ready to serve, run the bottom of the mold under warm water for a few seconds to help you loosen the popsicles. They should slide out easily after that. You can sprinkle the pops with a bit of ground cinnamon right before eating, for optimum cinnamon flavor.
If you feel like being really incredibly awesome, you can add a small splash of rum to the horchata before freezing. Don’t tell anyone and then you can enjoy some boozy pops all by yourself. Just keep in mind that you can’t add a lot of rum because then the pops won’t freeze all the way because of the alcohol. A tablespoon or two will work perfectly!
Next time you’re in the mood for a delicious cinnamony (yes cinnamony) frozen treat, give these a try. They’re really easy to make. Enjoy!
I just wanted to take a moment to thank my friend Billy (From Wit and Vinegar) for organizing another amazing popsicle week! Thanks Billy! He’s kind of the bee’s knees and knows how to throw a party. If you’re in the mood for even more delicious popsicles—which I just know you are—you need to check out the rest of the recipes, from some awesome fellow food bloggers. Get the full #popsicleweek list here. It’s updated daily!
- 1½ cups long grain rice
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl combine the rice, hot water, condensed milk, heavy cream, and cinnamon sticks. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit until completely cooled to room temperature, about 1 hour.
- Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Transfer the rice, with a slotted spoon, to a blender or food processor. Reserve the liquid. Blend on high until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved milk liquid to the blender or food processor, with the puréed rice, and blend until completely combined, another 2 minutes.
- Pour the blended mixture through a fine mesh sieve, into a large bowl or pitcher. Use a spoon to help you pass the liquid through the sieve. There should be a rice paste left over, toss that out. Pass the liquid a few times through the sieve, if you want a smooth popsicle.
- Add the ground cinnamon and vanilla to the horchata and stir. Pour into a popsicle mold. Place the mold in the freezer for about 1 hour and then insert the wooden popsicle sticks. Return to the freezer and continue to freeze for another 3 to 4 hours, until they are completely frozen.
- When ready to eat, run the bottom of the mold under warm water to help loosen the popsicles. Serve with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!
- yields: 10 popsicles