I couldn’t very well title this “Instant Gratification” because obviously that honor belongs to successfully chasing down the tinkly ice cream truck. And by the way? Our summertime treats-on-wheels would come chiming through at 9 – 9:30 at night. I would always wonder if they made a magical switch and started selling margaritas. But I digress…
Today we are here to talk about the Zoku pop maker. Yes, this thing:
I ended up getting one of these due to a series of interweb purchases gone wrong. Long story short, I ended up with a gift card that gave me $40 to spend at Williams-Sonoma. And since the next thing on my NEED list is a new fridge, I had to skip over to the ‘interesting idea’ list. Basically, I let the kids pick and Zoku was the result.
First, the product itself is adorable. And embodies a very cool idea — i.e., let’s get crazy with popsicles! And it is super easy to use and VERY kid-friendly (just be careful about tiny bits sticking to frozen bits). What you see is pretty much what you get. It’s really just a mold that you pop in the freezer; the key difference being that it freezes pretty much while you watch and only goes into the freezer empty. It’s like the freezer bowl part of a newer ice cream maker – heavy and full of some thick sludgey mystery fluid. Out of the box, the Zoku comes with one 3-chamber mold, six sticks, six drip guards, one “super tool,” and a directions pamphlet.
I will go ahead and express my sole irritation with the product, which is that it sells recipes separately. If you just paid $40 for a popsicle mold, the least they can do is throw in some recipes. Yeah, I know duh popsicles, but this is the first food prep product that I have EVER owned that did not come with at least a few recipes. Seriously, even my damn $4 dog biscuit cutter came with 4 recipes. It just seems kind of tacky to sell recipes separately (though I should note that there are a handful of recipes on the cute Zoku Blog). There are other extras you can buy, but I didn’t get any, because $40 seemed like enough to spend on popsicles.
K, Luli and I tested this out the other day to great success. The mold froze in less than 24 hours, as expected. We were prepped to make 6 popsicles using pineapple juice and greek yogurt with honey and lemon sugar (add honey to plain yogurt, add lemon zest to sugar). We put the sticks in the mold and went to town.
Because the instructions are adamant that the sticks MUST go in first, there was a bit of an issue with getting thicker ingredients into the mold, as there is only about a half inch of pouring space on either side of the stick. I ended up putting the yogurt into a zip-loc baggie, snipping off a tiny corner, and effectively piping it into the mold. Worked like a charm.
And then we waited…
We made two sets of three pops back-to-back. Zoku says your popsicles shall freeze in about 7 – 9 minutes. I found this to be accurate, though the kids said it was taking forEVER and wandered off. With just unlayered juice, the pops were ready in 7 minutes. Layered pops took a little longer (duh). The second set we made immediately after the first did not take any longer to freeze. And they freeze HARD. Mega-hard. As in, I can hold this in the sun for a while before it drips all over hard.
Both of my assistants claimed the treats to be perfection.
Aside from the voice of Alton Brown in my head telling me that it is silly to buy a product that only does one very simple thing, I found the Zoku to be good fun – and I suspect Mr. Brown would, too, though he might not admit it. We didn’t have any issues with the yogurt pops not freezing as solid. And we didn’t have any issues with removing the pops from the mold — even those with yogurt. No fuss. And very little clean up. When we were done, we popped the mold back in the freezer (no, we didn’t clean it first, the instructions say it is unnecessary to do so). We pulled it out again the next day and made more popsicles.
All in all, an adorable product that serves its single function exceptionally well. The kids love it and I like that it takes up very little space and gives me something creative and culinary to do with the kids. Just scroll through the Zoku website to see how serious I am about the creative thing. We’ve already tried striped pops and filled pops to great success.
So, if you’ve coveted the Zoku and have $40 to spend, I say go ahead and get it. Is it necessary? Hell no. Is it fun? Hell yes.
I can’t WAIT to try margarita and mojito pops…