From left to right: cranberry-lemonade pop, strawberry-lemonade pop, plain lemonade pop.
Remember the agony of waiting for popsicles to freeze when we were kids? Using technology similar to an ice cream machine, the folks behind the Zoku Quick Pop Maker have all but eliminated that wait time. Instant gratification is ours!How It Works
The Zoku consists of a sturdy hard-plastic base filled with the same kind of liquid found in ice cream makers. There are three individual wells for popsicles set into the base. These are made of non-stick cast aluminum so the pops are easy to remove once frozen. The popsicle sticks are made from plastic and specially grooved to grip the popsicles. (Six popsicle sticks are included.)
You first have to freeze the base overnight. Once it's frozen solid, you insert the one popsicle stick into each well, pour in your popsicle base of choice, and wait for it to freeze. A special device called the Super Tool screws into the popsicle stick and helps to lift the frozen popsicles from the mold, which are otherwise difficult to remove by simple pulling. Snap on a drip guard and the popsicles are ready to eat.
Testing It Out
Check out the slide show above for a visual walk-through of the product.
Just as the instructions said to do, we froze the base overnight and took it out when we were ready to make our pops. Shaking it, the base felt completely solid and we heard no sloshing of the liquid inside.
We made a variety of popsicles to really put the Zoku through its paces. In the first round, we did a basic lemonade pop, one with slices of strawberries, and one with some of our leftover cranberry jelly. In the second round, we tried making yogurt pops layered with pomegranate juice following the recipe we talked about yesterday.
All of the lemonade pops froze solid in about 9 minutes. The yogurt pops took a little longer, about 12 minutes for the swirled pops and 20 minutes total for the layered pops. We were able to do two batches of the lemonade pops before the base needed re-freezing. With the yogurt pops, we only got one batch.
Both the lemonade and the yogurt pops were easy to remove from the mold using the Zoku Super Tool and made perfectly formed popsicles.
The instructions recommend not washing the device between each use, but it was pretty darn sticky after our few batches! We couldn't help splattering the top while pouring and the outside also filmed over with frozen condensation. The insides of the wells stayed pretty clean, though. Since the Zoku instructions are also adamant about making sure the Zoku is completely dry before putting it back in the freezer, we used a plastic spatula to scrape off the splatters and condensation, and then used paper towels to make sure everything was dry before re-freezing it.
This device really was as simple and straight-forward to use as promised. There are no cords to plug in, and no fancy parts to figure out. Using the Zoku is almost completely self-explanatory. Kids can definitely use it, though we'd recommend having an adult around for children under the age of 8 or so.
It made lovely popsicles and seems to work well with a lot of different base ingredients. Since the results are so instantaneous, it was really fun to play around with adding fruit, making layers, and combining flavors.
The texture of the pops was really amazing. Since it freezes so quickly, the ice crystals stay very small. This makes for a smoother, more evenly-textured popsicle. Biting off a piece was almost like eating a spoonful of ice cream or sorbet.
The Zoku was also trickier to use in some ways than we expected. Anything that touches the sides of the mold freezes instantly. So if you're making a layered pop or adding fruit, it can be challenging not to drip on the sides and to position fruits where you want them. Our pops definitely did not look as perfect as the pictures!
The instructions also say to insert the popsicle sticks before pouring in any of the ingredients, but we found that the sticks were really in the way and made things messier. It was far easier to fill the mold nearly full and then insert the sticks. The middle doesn't freeze for several minutes, so as long as you leave a little headroom to allow for the stick, this was fine.
The promise that pops will freeze in 7-9 minutes and that the base can be used for three batches before re-freezing is a bit misleading. This might be true if you are making three batches of all-juice pops in very quick succession. But if you're doing anything more complicated (like layers or making pudding pops), if you don't take the pops out as soon as they're ready, or if you wait a little too long between batches, a second batch starts to become iffy.
Subsequent batches also take much longer to make. This is expected as the base thaws in your warm summer kitchen, but can be frustrating if you have a line of neighborhood children wanting to know why they have to wait so long!
This is a good product with a solid design and lots of fun applications. We think it's ideal for small family gatherings or an afternoon play-date with a friend or two.
Since you can only make three popsicles at once and since they have to be eaten right away (meaning you can't make pops in advance or save ones that aren't eaten), we think this is less ideal for larger parties and gatherings.
Do you have a Zoku? How have you liked it?
Check It Out!
Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Zoku
Zoku Quick Pop Maker, $49.95 from Williams-Sonoma
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Williams-Sonoma and Emma Christensen)