The Zoku Quick Pop Maker is a neat gadget that allows you to make popsicles in minutes, rather than hours. It works because it has a super cold canister that you freeze in advance – much like the canister for certain types of ice cream makers. The slot for the popsicle is at the center of the canister and is designed to create a pop with a lot of surface area, so any liquids you pour in will freeze very quickly.
There are several different designs of Zoku Quick Pop Makers available, with one, two and three slots. Each can make about three batches of popsicles before needing to refreeze, so there is no waiting for ice pops like there is with a traditional mold. I resisted getting a pop maker for a long time, although I do make quite a few popsicles, because they’re bulky and take up a lot of space in the freezer. I was finally won over into trying one when I saw the Zoku Single Quick Pop Maker, which makes one pop at a time (for a total of three before you need to refreeze). It doesn’t take up much space and it is perfect when you want a quick popsicle for one or two people on a hot day.
To use the Zoku, it must be thoroughly frozen (preferably overnight). Then, you insert one of the included sticks and fill the pop slot with your popsicle mixture. You can freeze anything from juice to an ice cream-like mixture, so you can easily make pops in any flavor you like. It works exactly as advertised and I was able to make three perfect pops with one freezing of the canister. The first pop froze the quickest, and the third took a few minutes longer. If you were really fast and your popsicle mixture was very well chilled in advance, you could probably squeeze in two more.
One of the Zoku’s big claims to fame is that it is easy to make filled pops and pops studded with frozen fruit slices or other decorations. It takes a bit of practice to work these techniques (and it can get a bit messy at first). To make a filled pop, for instance, you need to freeze the outside of the pop, dump out the inner liquid quickly and refill the mold with a second flavor. I found that I liked making traditional one-flavor pops simply because they were so fast an easy – and that was exactly what I wanted the Zoku for in the first place.
For making popsicles for a crowd, I would rather have traditional popsicle molds. They all you to make as many popsicles as you want with very little work and very little mess. I don’t want to stand over the popsicle maker to pull out batch after batch when I am entertaining – just like I prefer to have my other desserts prepped in advance. But for a single pop, you cannot beat the speed or convenience of the Zoku and if you stick one of these in your freezer, you just might find yourself indulging in homemade popsicles anytime you’re in the mood for a cool treat.