For me, summers in Oklahoma used to mean sweating it out in the great outdoors, cooling off in the pool or the sprinkler, and sitting on the porch with a drippy ice pop. Maybe, if I were feeling generous, I would break my ice pop in half and share it with my sister. Maybe.
Fortunately, Tulsa’s streets are scattered with frozen treat options. Boutique ice cream shops have popped up around town, tiny snow cone houses have been erected throughout the city, and home cooks are churning batches of ice cream and ice pops in their kitchens.
Some of the best options around come on a stick. Ice pops and paletas (traditional Mexican frozen treats) are available in dozens of creative flavors, from several locations in town. Here are a few of our favorites.
104 N. Greenwood Ave., 918-949-9879
12:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Frios Gourmet Pops started with just a few ice pop molds and a freezer pushcart and has grown into a national dessert franchise with more than 40 locations throughout the United States. Founded in 2013 in Gadsden, Alabama, Frios had the vision to share the pure joy of a summery dessert with the world. Frios pops can also be found in many other establishments, stadiums and restaurants.
Frios Gourmet Pops opened its first Oklahoma storefront in the historic Greenwood District on July 1, 2017. Tulsa’s Frios Gourmet Pops’ local franchise owner is Angela Myrick.
“Our unique flavors are developed by a team of passionate foodies, chemistry geeks, artsy pixel pushers, and organic farmers dedicated to producing the best pop possible,” says the company’s website. “We are our own biggest critics and are satisfied with nothing less than phenomenal. We stress about the details and obsess over quality.”
Frios Gourmet Pops offers 15 flavors a day, with several others that rotate seasonally.
The pops are either milk-based or fruit-based. Among the current flavors are mango orange, cookies and milk, banana pudding and root beer float. Vegan and gluten-free pops are also available.
Antoinette Baking Co., Beatrice Ice Cream Co.
Antoinette Baking Co., 207 N. Main St., 918-764-8404,
Beatrice Ice Cream Co.,
11 E. Reconciliation Way
Antoinette Baking Co. and its newest sibling, Beatrice Ice Cream Co., have ice pops and ice cream bars available.
“Our ice cream truck will be out in front on Saturday selling stuff all day,” said co-owner Molly Martin. Push pops come in an assortment of sorbet flavors, and semifreddo bars are a bit fancier. Other offerings include vegan ice cream bars dipped in peanut butter magic shell and other (nonvegan) ice cream pops dipped in different magic shells.
“The flavors depend on the day,” Martin added.
Jared Toay created the original ProPop, a probiotic ice pop, to combine his expertise on probiotics and fermented food with his love of frozen treats. ProPops are made with probiotic cultures and all-natural ingredients. Toay urges new customers to “become a gut-bacteria nerd and find out why probiotics are the key to better health.” With flavors like Vietnamese coffee, toasted coconut, pineapple and strawberry, ProPops pique the interest of all, young or young at heart.
ProPops are available Saturday mornings throughout the Tulsa Farmers’ Market season or by special order through Toay’s website.
Mexico has its own type of ice pop, called the paleta. Paletas are different from a regular ice pop because they are made with an abundance of fresh local fruit and are considerably less sweet than their American cousins. It might be tempting to describe paletas as ice pops, but that’s selling them short.
All-natural, fresh ingredients are the stars, specifically fruit juice and chunks of fresh fruit, such as pineapple, mango and banana. It’s no wonder paletas are described as “summer on a stick.”
In the early 1940s, La Michoacana, a family-run business based in Tocumbo, Michoacán, first made ice cream before adding paletas to its lineup of treats. Paletas caught on in Mexico and spread throughout the country. La Michoacana frozen treats are sold in an estimated 15,000 locations, including outlets in the U.S.
La Michoacana products are available locally at many Walmart stores and Las Americas grocery stores.
Its popular milk-based paletas include a variety of unique flavors: coffee, coconut, prune, pine nut, chocolate, blackberry cheesecake and chongos zamoranos (based on a Mexican dessert made with curdled milk).
Nondairy varieties come in flavors such as tamarind and soursop, guava, watermelon and cantaloupe, mango, strawberry, lemon and grape with cucumber and chili powder as accents.
Paletas may also be dipped in chocolate and rolled in crushed nuts, graham cracker crumbs, crushed wafers, shredded coconut, chopped herbs and sea salt.
La Tropical Neveria y Paleteria is known for its incredible variety of ice creams, milkshakes and other exciting snacks, but paletas are the star attraction. Yesenia Marín runs La Tropical, along with three generations of her family. Choose from nearly three dozen paletas — flavors include Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, strawberry-kiwi, oatmeal, watermelon with Tajin (a chili, lime and salt blend), to name but a few. All ice creams and paletas are churned in-house, and fruit snacks and other food offerings are made fresh daily. And don’t pass up on the chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick. It’s not frozen but still delicious.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
3151 S. 129th East Ave., 918-861-4045
1181 S. Aspen Ave., Broken Arrow,
HOMEMADE BOMB POPS
Makes 8 pops
Whether you spent summers chasing down the ice cream truck or raiding the freezer in your home, these fruity, frozen treats are for you.
2 cups hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
½ cup vanilla or coconut-flavored whole-milk yogurt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups fresh blueberries
1. Process strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon each of the lemon and lime juices in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids; discard solids. Pour about 3 tablespoons strawberry mixture into each of 8 (4-ounce) ice-pop molds. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
2. Stir together yogurt, heavy cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon each of the lemon and lime juices in a bowl. Remove molds from freezer; top each with about 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Process blueberries, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon each lemon and lime juices in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids; discard solids. Remove molds from freezer; top each with about 3 tablespoons blueberry mixture.
4. Insert wooden sticks into molds; freeze until solid, about 6 hours. Just before serving, run molds briefly under hot water to release ice pops.
COATED ICE CREAM BARS
Special equipment: 8 wooden craft sticks
1 quart of your favorite store-bought or homemade ice cream, softened
1¼ pounds bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons mild olive or vegetable oil
Chopped almonds, cookie crumbs, shredded coconut, crushed English toffee, jimmies, funfetti or toppings of your choice
1. Line a 9-inch square metal baking pan with plastic wrap, allowing the wrap to hang over about 4 inches on two opposite sides. Smooth the plastic wrap so that it fits the pan’s contours and is as unwrinkled as possible.
2. Using a rubber spatula, spread the softened ice cream in the prepared pan, smoothing it evenly. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the ice cream, then wrap the pan securely with more plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the pan from the freezer and unwrap the outer layer of plastic wrap. Using the overhanging plastic wrap, lift the ice cream slab out of the pan and place it on a cutting board.
4. Use a sturdy knife and cut the ice cream into eight equal rectangles. Use a metal spatula to separate the rectangles and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Insert a wooden craft stick into a short side of each rectangle. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
5. In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and oil. Place over, but not touching, a pan of barely simmering water and heat, stirring gently until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is barely lukewarm, 15 to 30 minutes.
6. Place your desired toppings in separate bowls. Remove the ice cream bars from the freezer. Working quickly, lift one bar by its stick and dip in the chocolate, turning to coat the ice cream and letting any excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Sprinkle with any desired toppings, return the bar to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ice cream bars.
7. Freeze the ice cream bars, uncovered, until the ice cream and coating are firm, 2 to 3 hours. Serve immediately or wrap each bar individually in bags or plastic wrap and return to the freezer.
NOTE: If using store-bought ice cream, you want to select a hard, dense ice cream rather than one that has a lot of air whipped into it.
— Adapted from Williams-Sonoma