Monday, August 01, 2011
People always talk about the transformative power of smell, how it can wordlessly tug at your memory and transport you back in time. But I think this power isn't limited to scents, the smoke that wafts from fall leaf piles or summer barbecues. It can come from something you see, or a song, or the words that someone says. You're moving through time in the usual one-foot-after-another fashion, forgetting how different things used to be. And then you hear a voice just like your grandmother's, or walk up a staircase just like in your childhood home, and all of a sudden time collapses. Or not collapses, really. It's more like you step outside of it for a moment, seeing how things move and change, hugely, and how you'll only see this sliver of it (and even that slips away from you all the time), and how it's terribly sweet and terribly sad but somehow okay in the end.
It doesn't hurt that I ate this fudge popsicle on a warm summer evening, the kind that are made for stretching time. But still. It's exactly like childhood, like those pops your mom got you that you haven't slurped in a couple decades. It's really a bit of a frozen pudding, which you lick and slurp and chew off little bits of when you can't hold back any longer, and you alternate between remembering, feeling what it's like to be a kid, and just wholeheartedly appreciating how delicious it tastes. Whether you're looking for a rich-yet-light chocolate dessert, or a time machine, or just a way to cool off in summer, I can't recommend this enough.
adapted from Matt Armendariz's On A Stick, via Smitten Kitchen
yields 4 standard (3 ounce) popsicles
2 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped semisweet chocolate)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 Tbsp butter (I omitted this, and all was still well)
Place the chocolate in a saucepan, and heat over a very low flame until just melted (to avoid scorching, it's easiest to just turn on the burner for a minute, then turn it off and let things sit while you gather other ingredients, by which time they should be softened). Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and milk, whisking until smooth. Raise the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens (~5 minutes). Remove from heat, and add the vanilla and butter. Set aside to cool slightly (if you have plastic molds, you'll want to be sure the mixture doesn't have much heat at all left).
Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. If you have the kind with stick handles attached, simply freeze until solid. Otherwise let freeze half an hour, insert popsicle sticks into the semi-frozen mixture, and freeze completely.