Top pops: icy treats for summer heat

Review of 'Pops!" cookbook

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Single-topic cookbooks, like shrimp deveiners and other one-task gadgets, rarely find a place in my kitchen. The reason? More often than not, they end up collecting dust.

Not so with Krystina Castella's new book, "Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone" (Quirk Books, $15.95). Of course, this is summer, and the only kind of "cooking" I really want to be doing involves the use of my freezer. But Ms. Castella's recipes offer enough variety that I may be making popsicles well into winter.

Her professional credits include industrial design work and an ongoing stint as a faculty member at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., and her icy treats show it. Some, such as her Peanut Butter and Sesame Raspberry pops, in alternating stripes of opaque peanut butter and glassy raspberry, are feats of art and engineering.

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But Castella also has cooking credentials. In 2006, she took on cupcakes in "Crazy About Cupcakes."

"Pops!" offers similar range within a single subject, but even this time of year, it won't have you breaking a sweat.

That's because the book is well-organized, and Castella's pops, although occasionally complex, come with clear instructions for relatively easy execution.

Choose from six categories and within each, discover a selection of treats simple enough to be made (and appreciated) by a kid, or fancy enough to wow friends at a summer get-together.

Because the best part about popsicles, of course, is that they're more fun when they're shared. And with this book's 60-plus recipes, you'll find plenty of inspiration to do so – if not all year long, at least summer after summer.

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