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4 Dessert Recipes to Sweeten Up Your Summer

Published:
December 14, 2023
July 17, 2023
Try these four summer dessert recipes we came up to make the season extra sweet.

There’s nothing as sweet as summertime — figuratively and literally. Summer seems to bring out the sweet tooth in all of us, whether it's a cold ice cream propped against a humid summer night or a freshly baked pie made with ingredients picked straight from the garden, dessert just tastes better in the summer. Dessert is more than just a sweet treat. It can stand alone as a meal or serve as the finale to a dinner party, but either way, we all seem to gather when dessert is served. Whether you are hosting a summer party or attending many BBQ’s this season, we have some great dessert recipes that will be sure to make your summer extra sweet. 

Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream is kind of the quintessential dessert when it comes to summer: cold, creamy, and delicious. And it's hard to improve on the perfection that is ice cream, however, this ice cream cake recipe combines layers of hot fudge, candy, peanuts and whip cream, creating a dessert that will become a definite favorite at your next family gathering. 

Before starting, you will need some sort of cake mold or square pan that will be able to fit inside your freezer. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Ice cream (your choice, one flavor or multiple)
  • Hot fudge
  • Crushed peanuts 
  • Candy (again, your choice: mini Reese's cups, chocolate chips, etc). 
  • Whipped cream

Instructions: 

  1. Prior to beginning, take out your ice cream and let it melt slightly, making it easier to use later in the process. 
  2. Begin by crushing 8-10 graham crackers. The easiest way to do this involves placing the graham crackers in a plastic bag, and then using a spoon, break up the graham crackers inside the bag. Next, melt the butter and combine with the smashed graham crackers. 
  3. Taking the graham cracker and butter mixture, make a crust by pressing the mixture into your cake pan. 
  4. Once you have your base layer of graham crackers, cover it with a scoop of ice cream, spreading it to all sides of the pan. 
  5. Next add a layer of hot fudge, followed by crushed peanuts and your candy. 
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5, continuing to layer ice cream, hot fudge, peanuts and candy. 
  7. When you get to the top of the cake, layer whipped cream.
  8. Place cake in the freezer until all layers are completely frozen. Once ready, cut and enjoy!

Tip: If you do not enjoy a graham cracker crust, baked brownies work just as well as a base for your ice cream cake. 

Chez Panisse’s Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry picking is a favorite summer tradition in my family. And when I bring my children, chances are strong that I will end up with an exorbitant amount of blueberries. After we’ve snacked on this summer fruit, I like to use extra blueberries for a dessert. And blueberry cobbler is a great way to utilize the seasonal blueberry — whether you serve it alone or with a scoop of ice cream, this New York Times cobbler is sure to be in recipe rotation. 

Ingredients: 

For the berries…

  • 4 ½ cup of fresh blueberries
  • ⅓ cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

For the dough…

  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¾ cup of heavy cream, plus more for serving

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then, put the berries in a bowl and cover with sugar and flour, tossing to combine. 
  2. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a bowl in order to make the dough. Mix in the butter until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Next, add the heavy cream and stir gently until all the dry ingredients are moistened. 
  3. Place the blueberries in a baking dish. Using the dough, make patties that are about 2 to 2 ½ inches in diameter and about ½ inch thick. 
  4. Lay the dough patties on top of the berries. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the blueberry juices bubble. 
  5. Let the blueberry cobbler cool. Serve warm with heavy cream or ice cream. 

Tip: Making your own whipped cream is easier than it seems. Whip together 2 cups of heavy cream, half a tablespoon of vanilla, and ¼ cup of powdered sugar until peaks form in the mixture. Then top off your homemade blueberry cobbler with some homemade whipped cream, creating the perfect summer dessert. 

Fresh Fruit Popsicles

Popsicles are an underrated summer dessert: simple, classic, and always perfect on a hot day. With a variety of molds to choose from, making your own popsicles can be a healthy way to enjoy dessert. This recipe from Pure Wow captures the ease of summer with its minimal list of ingredients and the use of fresh, seasonal fruit. 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups of fresh fruit (peaches, raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries work well)
  • Juice of one lemon 
  • ¼ cup of agave 

Instructions: 

  1. Using a blender, puree the fruit, lemon juice, and agave until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, use 1 tablespoon of water at a time to dilute. 
  2. Next, pour the mixture into the popsicle mold, filling within ¼ inch of the top of the mold. 
  3. Place the molds in the freezer, for at least 2 ½ hours or until the popsicles are completely frozen. These popsicles are safe in the freezer for up to two weeks. 

Tip: Having a party with just adults? Try adding your favorite alcohol to your homemade popsicles, making boozy pops for the over 21 crowd. 

Key Lime Pie Bars

Nothing says summer vacation like a tropical dessert. And key lime pie is a treat that can make you feel like you are on a perpetual vacation. Tart, sweet, and light, this recipe from Brown Butter Blondie reimagines key lime pie and turns it into a shareable treat that can be easily passed around your next summer soirée. 

Ingredients:

For the cookie base…

  • 2 cups of vanilla wafer cookies, ground finely
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar 

For the key lime pie filling…

  • 1 tablespoon of lime zest (6-7 key limes)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 22 ounces of sweetened condensed milk (Use one 14 ounce can and ¾ cup of second can)
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar

Instructions: 

Cookie base 

  1. Place your oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. Line parchment paper on the bottom and sides of an 8x8 inch pan. Allow the parchment paper to hang over the sides about 2 inches to make for an easier removal of the bars. 
  3. Grind the vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. If you do not have a food processor, place the wafers in a ziplock bag and use a spoon to crush the wafters into crumbs. 
  4. Mix together the ground vanilla wafers, the melted butter, and brown sugar in a bowl. The mixture should look like wet sand. 
  5. Move the cookie mixture to the pan. Using a spatula, spread the cookie mixture evenly into the square pan. 
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookie base to cool for 30 minutes. 

Key lime pie filling

  1. Pour the egg yolks and the lime zest into a large bowl. Beat using a hand mixer or a standing mixer for 4-5 minutes. This egg mixture should become thicker in texture. 
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat on a medium speed for 3 minutes. 
  3. Whisk in the lime juice. 
  4. Pour the lime filling on top of the cookie base. Put back in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until the filling is set. It should be noted that the filling will still move when you gently shake the pan. 
  5. Remove the key lime pie bars from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or even overnight. 

Whipped cream topping

  1. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or standing mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream and sugar until it thickens and forms peaks. 
  2. Spread the whipped cream on top of the chilled key lime custard and then chill again for 20 minutes.

Tip: Make sure to store the key lime bars in the refrigerator. 

Find the sweet spot this summer by tapping into your culinary skills and trying out any of these recipes (maybe you’ll find a new favorite!). From the celebratory family picnic to a friend’s pool party, summer is such a fleeting season — so why not make the sweet moments a little sweeter?

Creators:
Lauren Lawson
Published:
December 14, 2023
July 17, 2023
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