OK, so they don’t exist in the grocery store freezer section any more, and haven’t for quite a while. But you can easily make a close copy.
I don’t remember exactly when they stopped existing, but I’m guessing it was about 18 years ago. If the internet had been around in any real way back then, the internet would have been all over it: petitions would have been electronically signed, blog posts and status updates would have flown around like crazy, the evening news would have picked up the story, and there’s a good chance that Pudding Pops would have been saved. But without the internet, Pudding Pops just disappeared.
Life went on, but just a little less great than it could have been.
And then a couple weeks ago, my friend Kelby posted about Pudding Pops. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she was lamenting their nonexistence. And somewhere in the discussion, someone posted a link to this: a recipe for Pudding Pops.
It had never occurred to me to look for a recipe. I had just accepted my Pudding Popless existence without a fight. Surely there was magic involved in making Pudding Pops, or at least elves. Maybe Bill Cosby had to spit in them. There had to be some secret that kept them from being made in kitchens everywhere. But there it was. A recipe. (I don’t remember who posted it and I can’t find the thread – let me know who you are! I want to kiss you!)
I gathered the ingredients: Jell-o Instant Chocolate Pudding, 2 cups of cold milk (I used 2%), and a cup of Cool Whip.
These were ridiculously quick and easy to make. It took about five minutes, plus freezer time.
Pour the instant pudding mix into a bowl. Whisk in the cold milk and continue whisking for a full two minutes. Stir in the Cool Whip. Divide into paper cups (my cups were very small – I was able to make nine pops). Then you’re supposed to stick a popsicle stick into the cup, ideally. I didn’t have any popsicle sticks (I’m not crafty!), but plastic spoons worked great.
I put them in the freezer. Then I licked the bowl. The mixture tasted…right.
As soon as dinner was over (after about five hours of freezer time), Fiona grabbed four of the pops from the freezer and we peeled the paper cups off. They didn’t stick at all.
The kids tasted theirs and smiled, but Omer and I were the testers who mattered: we knew what the real thing tasted like.
I took a small bite of my pop. The texture was right. Smooth. Much smoother than a fudgesicle. And the taste was good. Omer agreed.
But after eating about half of it, I had to admit that it wasn’t quite chocolaty enough. Adding the Cool Whip is absolutely necessary in order to nail the texture, but it dilutes the flavor a bit too much.
I looked on the Jell-o website for other options, and I found two: Instant Chocolate Fudge flavor, and Instant Devil’s Food flavor. I’m going to try this again sometime soon with both of those. I’m hoping that their stronger starting flavors will survive the Cool Whip with more chocolate taste intact. I will definitely report back.
In the meantime, I proclaim these more than good enough.
If you want to get fancy, or if you want something reusable, you could get pudding pop molds, but personally I liked how easily the paper cups came off.
There are still five pudding pops in my freezer. Not for long…