Healthy cherry popsicles that are simple to make, have a spicy magic chocolate shell, boost your immunity, providing energy, iron and even help you sleep!
Cinnamon Cherry Popsicles
Healthy cinnamon cherry popsicles are the best way to boost the immune system, beat the hankering for a sweet snack and to use cherry and chocolate in one recipe - always a goal of mine, haha.
Our family lately has become obsessed with cinnamon and mayan chocolate.
I think it started when we saw a Mayan exhibit at the Smithsonian this week. How we leaped from history to chocolate, I don't know, but these flavors are awesome and turn any recipe into an exciting adventure!
And healthy of course.
How Healthy is Magic Shell Chocolate?
Well, if you buy the processed bottle at the supermarket, not so much.
But if you make it yourself using coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup, it's pretty healthy. Let's break it down by ingredient:
1. The coconut oil provides healthy fats. They boost fat burning and provide quick energy. They also raise the good HDL cholesterol in your blood, supporting your heart.
2. The raw cacao powder - the powder achieved from breaking down the cacao bean - has high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These include magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron, all needed to help your body perform properly. It also contains anandamide, a natural euphoric compound, that helps boost your mood. And even has high chromium which is known to support weight loss.
And heart health from cacao is well-known. Experts (see report here) suggest that 2 teaspoons of cacao powder a day improves blood vessel width, which reduces stress on the heart and improves blood flow body-wide.
3. The cayenne pepper contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese, and flavonoids. It also has capsaicin, which boosts metabolism.
4. The maple syrup is still sugar but at least it's from a plant and contributes antioxidants, and nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
How Healthy is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon, in both the pop and the magic shell, has antiseptic properties, is considered an anti-fungal and is perfect at balancing blood sugar, especially if you've just eaten something sweet!
A quick side note about cinnamon - there are recipes that call for a stronger cinnamon (Saigon for instance) to create the spicy Mayan flavor. I use Ceylon cinnamon in all my recipes however because some cinnamon types have a high level of coumarin, a substance that is toxic at high levels.
Since I love cinnamon, I want it to be safe. Ceylon is more expensive and milder so you must use more to get comparable flavors, but it is the one cinnamon type lowest in coumarin. Read more here.
How Healthy Are Cherry Popsicles
And shall we talk about the nutrition in cherries?
Cherries, especially tart ones, are strong anti-inflammatories, and contain melatonin which improves sleep.
And I put a ton in this recipe. When I say "cherry popsicles", I mean probably ¾ of the entire pop is pure cherry. Which is good because they also reduce belly fat, and help repair muscles after a workout!
They actually do more but I can't stand here all day (Yes, standing, haha. I have a standing desk!) writing about cherries -- we have popsicles and a magic shell to make!
And shall I remind you that these pops are healthy, raw, vegan, plant-based, and delicious? Go buy some fresh cherries, and come back and make popsicles!
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Cinnamon Cherry Popsicles
Cherry Cinnamon Cream Popsicles
- 1 ¼ cup cashew milk Buy a creamy one or make your own!
- 2 cups fresh cherries pitted of course
- 2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon (I use this brand) (I use Ceylon, not the stronger-flavored Saigon cinnamon more typical of Mayan chocolate recipes to keep the harsh coumarin levels lower - see explainer in post)
- ½ tsp beetroot powder for color
Mayan Chocolate Magic Shell
Make the cherry cinnamon popsicles
- Blend up the cashew milk and only 1 ¼ cup of the cherries (hold back the rest, chop them, and prepare to stuff into the mold) until the mixture is speckly pink.
- Since this combination doesn't really pink up the mixture, I added a pinch of beetroot powder. Adds healthy and beauty!
- Pour mixture into popsicle mold, about half way up each pop at first.
- Stuff in chopped cherries. If some stick along the side, that's fine!
- Fill the pop mold to the top.
- Freeze one hour and insert sticks.
- Freeze 6 hours or overnight!
Make the Mayan chocolate magic shell
- Make this the next day as it will harden fast.
- In a pyrex measuring cup, stir up the coconut oil, cacao, syrup and spices - all at room temperature.
- Add a little cayenne at a time and taste-test in between until you achieve the heat you want.
- If the mixture seizes (probably because of temperature differences), just put the measuring cup in a hot water bath and the mixture will become smooth and shiny and ready to dip pops.
- To remove the pops from the mold, I actually just hold the mold sideways under warm running water, turning so each side gets a few seconds of running water over them. Probably total of 15 seconds.
- Then I put the mold on counter and tug at popsicle sticks. They should slip right out.
- Another option is to dip the mold into a bowl of hot water. I just don't have a large enough bowl.
- Either way, don't get water on the top of the popsicles, obviously.
- I normally put them straight onto a cooling rack and put them back into the freezer for 15 minutes to refreeze since the outside melted slightly from the removal process.
Dip the pops.
- Dip the pops at an angle or tip-straight down into the melted chocolate, and immediately sprinkle crushed almonds and edible rose petals.
- Put them back in the freezer until ready to eat!
- Unless of course you have to photography them - then prepare for a race against time.😍
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients and another immunity-boosting smoothie shot book, 4-Ingredient Smoothies + Juices , due out in January 2021. On this blog you'll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in sciences and journalism, editor at The Feedfeed and a nutritional expert at WikiHow. More about Dee Dine here.