Growing up, one of my very favorite treats during the summer was Lemon Italian Ice. I just couldn’t get enough. I loved the combination of the sweet and tart flavors, along with the refreshingly icy feel. To this day, I still love any kind of lemon dessert, but especially in the summer months.
As the days are getting a little longer and warmer here in Connecticut, I decided it was time to try and recreate a little piece of my childhood. So this is my grown up version of the Lemon Italian Ice I used to love – a lemon, mint and raspberry popsicle.
We make a lot of popsicles in our house. But this was the first time I made them with me in mind (sorry kids). It’s the perfect balance of sweet, tart and refreshing. We had them for the first time on our patio last night, and surprisingly my two older kids devoured them (I guess they can handle those little specks of “green” after all 😉(Sloan wanted nothing to do with us, and had his own “berry” popsicle we made earlier)
If you’ve never made popsicles before, it couldn’t be easier. You can really put just about anything in a popsicle mold. We use a lot of our left over smoothies, but there are so many great combinations I’ll share later this month.
For this recipe I made a simple syrup and used fresh squeezed lemon juice as the liquid. A simple syrup is really just equal parts sugar to liquid, and is heated until the sugar is dissolved. For the rest of the liquid base I used sparkling water. However, you could also try a flavored sparkling water (I was tempted to try champagne, but when I was making this at 8 am with two toddlers at my feet, it felt a little inappropriate. But could be so fun for a cocktail party. If you try it, please let me know how delicious it is.).
I first started making popsicles for my kids years ago and there weren’t that many great mold options. Now I see them everywhere. They even sell them at our local grocery in some really unique shapes. Amazon also carries a few great options. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker (This is the one I used for this recipe) 2. The Kitchen Paradise popsicle molds 3. CHICHIC Popsicle Molds 4. Foodworks Silicon Ice Molds (We love these for the kids “smoothie” pops)
There are a lot of great options out there, so have some fun with it. Lucky for us there are plenty of long summer days ahead, so you’ll have plenty of time to try them all out.
- Popsicle mold of your choice
- 3-4 lemons, juiced and zested
- 4 Tbsp of granulated sugar
- ¼ cup of fresh raspberries
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh mint, julienned
- 4 cups of sparkling water (either lemon flavored or unflavored)
- In a sauce pan over low heat, combine granulated sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Slowly heat over low heat until the liquid begins to simmer. Turn off heat and allow sugar to dissolve, and the mixture to come to room temperature.
- Working with the popsicle mold, add two tablespoons of the lemon/sugar mixture to the bottom of each mold.
- Add 2-3 raspberries, and a few pieces of mint.
- Add any remaining lemon/sugar mixture to the molds, distributing evenly.
- Slowly pour sparkling water into the molds until the liquid reaches the top of the mold. If any excess liquid pours over, be sure to wipe the top of the mold clean so the popsicles are easily removed.
- Place in you freezer for 6-8 hours (or overnight).
- When you're ready to remove popsicles from their mold, gently run the mold under warm water (not hot) for a few seconds (just a few - don't overheat the mold)
- Remove lid and gently wiggle the popsicles free from the mold. You can place popsicles in a tupperware container and store in your freezer until ready to serve.