One of my favorite desserts at Trader Joe's are the Strawberry Fruit Floes, basically fruit put into a blender and frozen into bar-form. There's another similar frozen dessert bar I get from Meijer every once in a while, but I prefer Trader Joe's for its simple ingredients. So simple, in fact, that I decided to make them myself!
Of course, my favorite place to find recipes is Pinterest, so I immediately headed there. And boy, did I get results! All of the recipes were quite similar, if not identical, so I don't see much point in linking to any one in particular as I will be repeating the very same thing here with my own small variation. (More sugar.)
I really would liked to have used fresh berries, preferably from a farm. I just didn't have the time or resources at the time I decided to make these, so I went ahead and picked up two 1lb bags of frozen berries from Meijer instead. After they thawed in a bowl in my fridge, I drained away a lot of the juice. I then added two tablespoons of sugar, mixed thoroughly to coat the berries, let it sit for one episode of the Daily Show covered (so as to deter the bugs that have invaded my kitchen), then pulled out the blender.
All of the recipes I checked said to do this, though I don't know why: add a small slosh of lemon juice. What is the lemon juice for? Is it a preservative? *shrug* Anyway, following that into the blender was the bowl of sugar-coated berries. It took about 5 seconds to reduce it all to liquid, making it quite easy to pour into my popsicle molds. I was a bit leery of how this would turn out given the less than ideal results from my last attempt at using these molds, Nutella Creamsicles, which did end up very tasty, they just wouldn't stay on the stick and had to be dug out with a butter knife.
I let the mold stay in the freezer for about 4 or 5 hours. I usually prefer to leave things overnight, but I really wanted to try one! And it seemed solid when I squeezed it. Maybe the water-base was more ideal than the milk-base since these were very solid in 4 hours and I only had to run the mold under hot water for a few seconds before the frozen bar slid right out.
It wasn't exactly like store-bought, but it was close. A little tart, I thought. It was real fruit, though, and that is what I wanted. For the next batch (because 4 popsicle molds isn't enough for any recipe I try, apparently), I added a couple more tablespoons of sugar and blended again in the blender. This time, it tasted a lot like homemade strawberry jam, and I was very okay with that.
Strawberries are my favorite berry after blueberries, so I am happy with these frozen strawberry bars. I just can't help wondering what else I can make. Could I make a blueberry frozen bar? Maybe a frozen blueberry lemonade bar. I never see blueberry lemonade. Raspberries would probably lend themselves well to this treat, though I am not a huge fan of raspberries because of their high seed count. Maybe peaches, or mangoes! Papaya? The more I think about it, the more ideas come to me. Now that I have confirmed there is nothing wrong with my popsicle molds, this should be an interesting summer.