The chocolate mixture for these popsicles is essentially a simple pudding (albeit somewhat thinner than a typical pudding) that is poured into pop molds. (Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post)

The chocolate mixture for these popsicles is essentially a simple pudding (albeit somewhat thinner than a typical pudding) that is poured into pop molds. (Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post)

These 100-calorie chocolate pudding pops will take you back

Enjoy one on a hot day just like when you were a kid — but these taste better than the store-bought.

No matter how old I get, I will always have a childlike enchantment with summer and all its joys: jumping waves in the ocean, biking around town, biting into big wedges of watermelon, watching the fireflies come out at dusk.

One of those pleasures is the refreshment of a frosty popsicle on a hot afternoon. I remember my mom used to put orange juice into paper cup pop molds and freeze them for us, and I loved those. But it was the occasional splurge on the package of chocolate pops that really excited me.

This recipe taps that same summertime thrill in a way that is fairly healthful, as desserts go, since it is made with low-fat milk (or plant milk), minimal added sugar and dark chocolate. The chocolate mixture is essentially a simple pudding (albeit somewhat thinner than a typical pudding) that is poured into pop molds. Once frozen, they come out creamy, icy and refreshing, amply rich with the intensity of good dark chocolate, and clock in at just 100 calories apiece.

Although enjoying one in the shade on a sweltering day brings me right back to my childhood, they taste so much better than the store-bought ones I remember, and they make me glad I’m all grown up.

Chocolate pudding pops

This is a sweet treat you can feel good about serving. Dairy milk is called for, but a plant-based milk can be substituted.

You will need eight 2-ounce popsicle molds or small paper cups and popsicle (craft) sticks.

Make ahead: The pops need to set up in the freezer until solid, about 6 hours.

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups cold, low-fat (1-percent) milk, or unsweetened plant-based milk such as coconut, almond or oat

2 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids), finely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth.

Set the saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is gently bubbling and thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low; continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Add the chopped chocolate and stir until it has melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the salt until well incorporated.

Distribute the mixture evenly among your popsicle molds or small paper cups and place in the freezer. If using paper cups, place a popsicle stick in the center when the mixture is frozen enough for the stick to stand up straight, about 1 hour. Allow to freeze completely, about 6 hours.

Makes 8 servings (makes 8 popsicles). Nutrition per serving: 100 calories, 3 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, no cholesterol, 75 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber, 12 grams sugar.

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