Kids like to witness transformation, which is why they enjoy baking so much. Blobs of dough turn into round cookies. And batters rise to lofty cakes. So when I'm cooking with my kids, I try to focus on recipes that will completely change from start to finish.
But I was not about to turn on the oven last weekend; it was the freezer's turn in the spotlight. Mission: popsicles. First a layer of blackberry and blueberry puree, sweetened with rosemary syrup (leftover from piccantedolce's Boozy Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade). After a few hours in the freezer, we topped the fruit with a layer of yogurt sweetened with vanilla sugar. A few hours more and we had torpedo-shaped treats. And the three of us sat on the floor of the magical kitchen, eating our popsicles. —Amanda Hesser
Combine the rosemary, sugar, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan now and then to help dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, then let cool for 20 minutes.
Pile the berries into a medium saucepan and add a splash of water (2 tablespoons if you must measure!). Set over medium heat and crush the berries with a potato masher as the pan heats. You want the heat to help the berries juice, but you don't want to cook the berries.
Once the berries begin to weep juice and are mostly crushed, scoop the berry goop into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Press the berries with the back of a spoon until all you're left with is pulp; throw away this pulp. Add the rosemary syrup a tablespoon at a time to the berry puree, until it's sweetened to your liking. Fill 6 popsicle molds halfway with this berry puree. Freeze until slightly firmer than slush, about 3 hours.
Mix together the yogurt and vanilla sugar (or sugar and vanilla extract), sweetening it as much as you want. Fill up the top halves of the popsicle molds with this mixture. Press the popsicle sticks into the center. Freeze until very firm. To unmold, suspend the popsicle molds in a bowl of hot water, just until the popsicles are loosened.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.