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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Frozen Treats Of My Youth

Do any of you remember the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine?

If you aren't sure of what one of these is, have a look at this commercial below.

Or, you can watch THIS LINK here to watch a funny clip from the popular CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory” where the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine makes an appearance.

I'll just get this out of the way right off the bat. I owned a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, and I loved it. I really can't remember when I got it. For some reason, I want to say that I got it for a birthday present when I was really small, because my birthday is in May, and May is closer to the summer months than Christmas.

Whatever the case, I can still recall the excitement and anticipation each time we brought out the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine. My mom or my older sisters would help me put ice cubes inside the machine, and then I would crank the handle to crush the ice into a fine powder. Then, we'd add the packet of Kool-Aid or Freshie into the mix to give the Sno-Cone some flavouring (I was always partial to cherry, grape, or lemon lime).

And then came the best part. The eating of the Sno-Cone. I reckon that I ate about a thousand Sno-Cones that summer.

Alas, all good things came to an end, and one day, my Snoopy Sno-Cone machine ended up losing a piece, and it became unusable. I was absolutely devastated over the loss of one of my favourite toys. It wasn't so much the fact that I would never be able to enjoy another Sno-Cone ever again that made me sad. I could get a Sno-Cone any time I wanted whenever a summer carnival came to town. It was more along the lines that something that I loved playing with was no longer available.

I'm tempted to go on eBay to check and see if there are any Snoopy Sno-Cone machines for sale. I know that I've seen some on there, but when people are bidding upwards of $150 for them, that's a price that I'm not prepared to spend! I suppose that I'm not the only one who has such fond memories of the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, if people are willing to shell out a lot of money to buy one.

But, you know, all this talk about Sno-Cones makes me think about all of the cool summer treats that I used to eat. Well, that, plus all of the wacky summer-like weather we've had this past week. Mid-May in Ontario, Canada felt more like mid-August this year.

And, it dawned on me that before I got the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, my mom would make homemade popsicles. Back when I was a really small child, money was tough to hold on to, and it wasn't in the budget for us to go to the corner store to buy a popsicle every day. So, she would get an ice cube tray, fill it up with orange juice or fruit punch, stick toothpicks inside the tray, and after a few hours, we'd have instant popsicles.

Here's the funny thing. I always liked the homemade popsicles my mom made me a lot better than the expensive store bought ones. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that those popsicles were made with love and care every single time. I think that's why I liked them so much.

Actually, did you know that the first popsicles that were invented were homemade ones as well? And that at first, they weren't originally named popsicles?

We'd have to go back to the year 1905, in San Francisco. An eleven-year-old boy by the name of Frank Epperson mixed a white powdered flavouring for soda with water, and left it out on the front porch with a stirring stick inside. He completely forgot about it, and that night, the temperatures in San Francisco dipped down quite low. To Frank's surprise, he went to retrieve the drink and found that the drink was frozen to the stick.

Eighteen years later, at the age of twenty-nine, Epperson began selling his new creation at Neptune Beach in Belmar, New Jersey. Initially, he marketed the creation as the “Epsicle”, and originally filed the patent for the frozen confectionary item in 1924. But, there was just one problem with this. By this time, Epperson had fathered children, and when he ran the name by his children, they hated it! So, Epperson retooled the name, and came up with the “Popsicle” name, which was a portmanteau of the words “pop” and “icicle”.

In 1925, Epperson sold the rights to the Popsicle to the Joe Lowe Company of New York, and in 1989, Good Humor bought the rights to the “Popsicle” name, which by then, was a million dollar industry.

Today, Popsicles have expanded their brand to include other tasty treats. There's the Creamsicle, which is a vanilla ice cream bar that is dipped in a fruit-flavoured ice coating. A variation of this bar substituted ice milk instead of ice cream, and are called Dreamsicles.

TRIVIA: If you enjoy a Creamsicle, make sure you buy one on August 14. In the United States, August 14 is known as National Creamsicle Day.

There's also Fudgsicles (a personal favourite of this blogger), which are frozen treats that have a similar texture and flavour to chocolate ice cream. Over the years, several versions of Fudgsicles have been created, including 100 Calorie Bars, No Sugar Added Bars, Sugar Free Bars, and Triple Chocolate Bars.

They even have a new treat known as Slow Melt Popsicles. These are Popsicles that have a small amount of gelatin included in the mixture that prevent them from melting as quickly as a regular popsicle. I can attest to this fact because whenever I have to do a cold pickup for frozen foods and the popsicles happen to have sat out too long, the Slow Melt ones are still solid, while the regular ones are a smushy box of liquid.

(Of course, by this point, both are too warm to sell, so I have to claim them anyways.)

So, that's a brief history of the Popsicle, and other frozen treats that have been created over the years, and I find it interesting.

But, despite all of the wonderful innovations that have come out of the world of frozen fruit treats, I still maintain that the homemade popsicles and Sno-Cones that I used to make at home as a little boy tasted better than any old store bought popsicle. In fact, I'm actually starting to feel a bit nostalgic about homemade popsicles so much that I just might place a bid on a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, or make my own homemade popsicles.

And, with this recipe that I found online, you too can make your own homemade popsicles.

And, yes, I'm posting a recipe that a four year old can do. It's my blog. I can do what I like in it. :)

Here's a recipe for Homemade Fudge Pops, courtesy of the official website of the publication “A Taste Of Home”. Enjoy!



¼ cup butter, cubed
½ cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 Popsicle moulds or disposable plastic cups (3 oz. Each) and Popsicle Sticks


In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Stir in the brown sugar, cocoa, and salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool for 20 minutes, stirring several times.

Pour ¼ cupfuls into Popsicle moulds or plastic cups; top moulds with holders or insert Popsicle sticks into cups. Freeze until firm.

Makes 20 servings.

(Oh, and for the record, each pop is worth 121 calories.)

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