You can't talk about breakfast in Cuba without talking about coffee, a truth that still holds strong when you talk about breakfast in Miami. Be it cafecito or café con leche or any of the coffee drinks that fall in between, coffee is an important part of the morning meal, with café con leche, a drink of sweetened espresso and lots of steamed milk, being the most popular choice as the first drink of the day. With its milky sweetness, café con leche can even feel like dessert, so why not take it all the way there, turning the drink into an ice pop for a cooler take on your morning buzz?
Café con Leche Pops: Watch the Video
These pops require a good, strong batch of coffee so track down a can of Pilon or reach for the Café Bustelo you have stashed in the cabinet. Both of these brands are espresso roast; they come with a pronounced flavor that can veer into bitterness, which is why they take so well to tempering with milk and sugar. For our ice pops, we're using both evaporated milk, which carries a cooked milk sweetness of its own distinction, and condensed milk, which is viscous and intensely sweet. Both help to mellow out the coffee while ensuring the pops freeze into a dense, almost fudgy treat.
These little powerhouses are made in small dixie cups. It's not quite like the large cups you see café con leche served in, but think about it — when the pops are this small, nothing's stopping you from seconds.
Café con Leche Pops
Makes 8 (3-ounce) ice pops
(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
strong brewed Cuban coffee, such as Pilon brand
sweetened condensed milk
Place the evaporated milk, coffee, and sweetened condensed milk in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup and whisk to combine.
Pour 3 ounces into each of 8 ice pop molds or 8 (5-ounce) disposable cups. Attach the sticks to the molds, or cover each disposable cup with aluminum foil, cut a slot through the center of the foil, and insert a wooden popsicle stick into each slot. Freeze until solid, about 6 hours. To remove the ice pops from the molds, run the outside of the molds or cups under warm running water until they loosen.
Make ahead: The cafe con leche mixture can be made ahead of time, and any remaining mixture can be warmed up and served as café con leche. It's amazing!
Storage: The popsicles can be kept for up to 1 week.
Recipe by Sara Martinez