Popsicle lovers have all probably seen the Zoku Quick Pop maker by now, a neat gadget that churns out multiple batches of popsicles in a very short period of time. The pop maker is pricey, and so are the accessory sets that are available for it. It gets great reviews, but the cost might not make it worth the investment unless you really love your popsicles! As stores (Target, specifically) were clearing out their summer inventory, I saw a popsicle maker by Hamilton Beach that promised a similar delivery to the Zoku, but at a much lower price (and discounted, too) and I wanted to see how it performed.
The Hamilton Beach FastPop Gourmet Pop Maker makes two popsicles at a time and promises that you can make up to three batches of popsicles without needing to refreeze the base. The base needs to be frozen at least 12 hours in advance, and is designed to retain the cold for an extended period of time – thus allowing you to freeze pop after pop. It comes with reusable metal popsicle “sleeves,” which make the pops easy to remove after freezing, several sticks and funnels/bases that hold the sticks upright while the pops freeze. It makes very traditional looking, single popsicles, rather than the wider and flatter pops that the Zoku puts out.
The pop maker worked just as promised for the first pops I made. The funnel-shaped bases let me pour my popsicle mix in easily and without any mess, and they held up the popsicle sticks perfectly. The pops were ready after about 10-12 minutes, and came easily out of the reusable “sleeves” with a very quick rinse under warm water. I put the sleeves back into the maker for another round and tried again. The second batch froze much more slowly than the first, taking almost 20 minutes to set and never quite setting up at the uppermost part of the pop. They still came out easily, but there was some dripping that I didn’t encounter with the first batch. Granted, the box mentioned that the second batch would take longer than the first, but it was clear that there was no way you could make a third batch with this pop maker and have it turn out.
I tested a few more batches (after more freezing) and found that you will always get the best results with that first batch, and that having the mixes (especially for the second batch) be as cold as possible helps speed the process up even more. The recipe for the orange pops is coming soon, but you can try the Coffee Popsicles in the mean time, or whip up a batch of Strawberry Margarita Popsicles or Homemade Fudgsicles instead.
Overall, the pop maker worked as advertised, but it did not work quite as long as advertised. It was still a fun thing to play with and I definitely enjoyed being able to eat homemade popsicles without needing to wait hours for my traditional popsicle molds to freeze. That said, I am more of an occasional popsicle eater, so I know that I will stick with my traditional molds rather than relying on something like this because I don’t really need to speed up my popsicle-making. That said, the fun factor of making ice pops so quickly would probably be enough to get me to shell out for the pricier pop maker if I really wanted to make a lot of popsicles and do it fast.