Maple Cocoa Popsicles

I hate to sound like a party pooper, but I think I’m about to jump on the anti-sugar bandwagon. After educating myself on the health benefits of whole foods and watching Dr. Robert Lustig’s lecture on the damage caused by sugary foods, I’m starting to lose my taste for it.  Last year I tried out a plant-based vegan diet for a month, and I quickly realized that I had a sugar addiction.  My body actually went through withdrawal symptoms – it was a wake up call, to say the least.  Based on our country’s massive consumption of it, I’d say we all have a bit of an addiction to sugar.

About four months ago we cut processed sugar out of Mack’s diet, and ever since we’ve noticed a SIGNIFICANT and DRASTIC improvement in his behavior.  Sure, he has the occasional melt-down, but without sugar they are few and far-between.  And, when we do indulge his sweet tooth with a bit of the white stuff, we can almost guarantee that he’ll have a tantrum at some point in the following hours. It seems like sugar really does affect his body’s chemistry.  Perhaps we’ve all had too much of a good thing.

While the occasional birthday cupcake or homemade chocolate chip cookie is fine (I don’t want to ruin all the fun, afterall), there’s no reason we all need to be consuming so much processed sugar every day. So, I’ve been tinkering with fun ways to sweeten a moment with natural sugars that don’t offend my sensibilities.  Last week I made an “ice cream” sweetened with honey and cinnamon, and today I made fudgy homemade popsicles with maple syrup. They were truly delicious and the kids could not have been more delighted!

Maple Cocoa Popsicles

4 cups milk (I used whole raw milk from our co-op)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract (I love homemade vanilla extract)

2 egg yolks (our eggs also come from our co-op), beaten

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Bring milk and vanilla extract to a simmer over medium heat.

Beat egg yolks in a small bowl, and add a few spoonfuls of the warm milk. Whisk well and add to milk in pan.  Add cocoa powder and maple syrup.  Whisk well and remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, then cool in the fridge for a couple hours.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. We use a Zoku popsicle maker.


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6 Comments for this entry

  1. Elizabeth Bruen says:

    Perfect timing Maureen! I just got new popsicle molds! Love your blog 🙂

  2. Courtney says:

    I loved/hated this post. I’ve always believed anything in moderation is okay, but as my kids get older, it’s harder to maintain moderation! Charlie has sugar on the mind all day, every day. How are you able to cut out sugar for Mack and not the rest of you? Lastly, in your research, what did you find about agave nectar? We like to use it when we don’t want something to taste like honey (smoothies, coffee…) but I don’t think it’s it raw like honey is. Do you think it’s okay? Good luck!

    • Maureen says:

      Actually, we have dramatically reduced the amount of sugar all of us are consuming…but we noticed a real difference in Mack especially. He is so much calmer and not as high-strung. He did have sugar on the brain – big time! – but since we don’t offer it anymore he doesn’t ask for it as often. I had to remind myself that he is the kid and I am the mother – if I don’t give him something, he won’t have access to it.

      I haven’t done anything with agave…I’ll look into it. I have easy access to raw honey and real maple syrup from our co-op, so its what I’ve been using.

      • Elizabeth says:

        You can buy raw agave at many stores now – I actually just saw it at my local grocery store. I’ve had a lot of success substituting agave in many recipes that call for honey/sugar.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I have just started doing some research about this and found this blog interesting. I think she goes a little bit crazy with it all but I have found some good ideas and recipes on there,

  4. Zak says:

    My non-scientific anecdotal observation is that different sugars definitely affect different people in different ways. I think corn syrup is one of the worst. We use mostly maple syrup & honey, and when we get pop we go for the cane sugar variety. If you haven’t tried maple sugar in your morning coffee/tea, you are in for a treat. I do wish every event with children didn’t turn into an excuse to load them down with treat bags–every birthday party and holiday at school leads to a bagful of cheap candies, most of which I end up throwing out. We started giving out novelty pencils at Halloween a couple years ago and the response has been very positive from the trick-or-treaters. I think the expectation for candy is something that’s imposed on children, but they are just as happy with alternatives when they are offered.

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