The desserts below are perfect for summer. They are refreshing and keep well in the freezer. I like to make these types of desserts to have on hand in the freezer for family and company. They can be made on cooler days and they taste so good on a hot day. Of course, what could be better than a cookies and ice cream combination.
Watermelon Basil Sorbet
- 5 cups yellow watermelon cut into small cubes (outer skin and seeds removed)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large sprig of fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons meringue powder plus 2 tablespoons water
Cut up the melon and place in a big ziplock bag. Freeze overnight.
Whisk together the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium/high heat until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat, add the basil and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove the basil and chill the syrup.
In a small bowl, whisk together the meringue powder and water. Whisk until you create a lot of foam.
This is an egg white substitute. You could use egg whites if you prefer, but since they are not cooked in this recipe, it is safer to use the substitute. This adds a creamy texture to the sorbet.
In a food processor, combine the frozen fruit, chilled syrup and egg white mixture. Blend just until smooth.
Sorbet is ready to serve right out of the food processor. If you don’t plan to consume it right away, be sure to store it in the freezer.
Brown Sugar Shortbread Rounds
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup finely ground pecans (pecan meal)
Heat to oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar.
Add the remaining ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the kitchen counter. Turn the dough out onto the plastic wrap. Form the mixture into a log on the plastic wrap.
Wrap the dough in plastic and roll the dough a few times to make an even log. Refrigerate for an hour.
Cut the log into ¼ inch slices and place on the prepared baking pans an inch apart.
Bake the cookies 20 minutes, switching the pans on the racks after 10 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the pans ten minutes and then remove them to a cooling rack.
Easy Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 18 large cookies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the dry ingredients (flour through fruit) in a large bowl.
Combine the wet ingredients (butter through egg) in a measuring cup.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until combined using a wooden spoon or spatula.
Using a small muffin scoop or 3 tablespoons for each cookie, form into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the cookies slightly.
Bake 10 minutes, switch the pans on the racks and bake for 10 more minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Peach Almond Sundae
- 4 cups vanilla frozen yogurt, softened
- 2 cups chopped peaches, peeled
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- 8 amaretti cookies, crushed
- 1 cup whipped cream
Cut the peaches into 1/2-inch-thick slices and cut the slices in half.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar and amaretto. Cover and chill until serving time.
In each of four dessert dishes, layer the ingredients in the following way: 1 cup frozen yogurt, ¼ of the peach mixture and 1/4 cup whipped cream. Sprinkle a crushed amaretti cookie on top.
In my area of the world, it is often too hot at this time of year to spend a great deal of time baking when guests are coming for dinner. So during the cooler months, I like to make a few simple sponge cakes to keep in the freezer. That way I can make a refreshing dessert for company in the summer without a lot of fuss.
During the summer months, ice cream desserts can really “hit the spot”. It is easy to pull together a really great tasting dessert when it is hot with just a few simple ingredients. Here are a few ideas.
Simple Sponge Cake
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup cake flour
Cut parchment or wax paper to fit two 9″ round cake pans.
Separate eggs, putting whites in large mixer bowl and yolks in small mixer bowl.
Add 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of salt to the whites and beat until very stiff.
Add 1/2 cup sugar to the yolks and beat until very thick and light yellow in color.
Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites.
Fold flour in using 1//3 cup each time until well mixed.
Do not over-mix.
Divide the cake batter and pour into the prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
Cool for a few minutes, remove from pan and remove paper.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Parfaits
- 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee, cooled
- 4 cups (1-inch) cubed sponge cake (you could also use angel food cake or pound cake)
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
- 1 (3-ounce) dark chocolate bar, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
In a bowl mix the cake cubes with 2/3 of the coffee until well soaked.
Stir ice cream in a second bowl until spoonable, then layer cake cubes and ice cream in parfait glasses. Top each with a drizzle of coffee, a generous amount of chocolate shavings and a few cherries. Serve immediately.
Pineapple Ice Cream Sandwiches
- 2 (1/4-inch thick) fresh pineapple slices, cut in circles
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream, softened
- Toasted flaked sweetened coconut
Grill pineapple slices over low to medium heat for 90 seconds on each side. Allow to cool briefly.
Sandwich the softened ice cream between the 2 grilled slices of pineapple. Coat sides in toasted coconut. Slice in half and serve immediately.
Affogato is an Italian drink that makes a wonderful alternative to iced coffee on a hot summer day. Affogato literally means “drowned”. It generally consists of gelato (Italian ice cream) that is topped with hot espresso or a liqueur. You can use freshly brewed espresso or instant or decaffeinated espresso, if you prefer. You may also top your drink with a liqueur such as Kahlua, Grand Marnier or Frangelico. You can also add a little powdered chocolate milk mix to the coffee for a mocha flavor. Traditionally, affogato is served with a biscotti on the side.
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 pint vanilla gelato or ice cream
- Shaved chocolate
Beat the cream until stiff peaks form.
Cover and refrigerate.
Stir the espresso powder into the boiling water until dissolved.
Place one scoop of gelato into 4 tall glasses or large coffee mugs.
Pour 2 to 4 tablespoons hot espresso over each.
Top each with a dollop of whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Serve immediately.
Tip: If you don’t have an espresso maker, use instant espresso powder and water; store the powder in your freezer after opening. Instant coffee will also work in a pinch, it just won’t be as full-flavored.
- 3 cups freshly brewed espresso
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Stir hot espresso and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Place on a level surface in your freezer and freeze for 2 hours, stirring and scraping with a fork every 20 minutes to break up the ice crystals. Cover and freeze for at least 1 hour more.
Beat cream and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high-speed until medium peaks form, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Scrape the frozen granita into ice crystals using a sturdy fork.
To serve, layer the granita in dessert goblets and top each with a tablespoon of whipped cream.
Italian Coconut-Coffee Bites
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder or 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
- 2 ½ tablespoons boiling water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 ¼ cups finely crushed biscotti crumbs
- 5 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Line twenty-four mini muffin cups with paper baking cups; set aside.
Dissolve espresso powder in the boiling water; set aside.
For the crust:
In a medium nonstick skillet melt butter over medium-low heat. When butter is bubbling, add coconut. Cook and stir until coconut is toasted and golden brown. Stir in finely crushed biscotti crumbs. Remove pan from heat.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of the crumb mixture into each prepared muffin cup; press firmly to pack down. Place the muffin cup pan in the freezer. Keep remaining crumb mixture at room temperature to use for topping.
For the filling:
In a medium bowl beat mascarpone cheese with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy, Beat in the sugar, cinnamon and salt until smooth and well mixed. Beat in vanilla and espresso.
Divide filling among the crumb-lined muffin cups. Top each cup with the reserved crumb mixture. With a fingertip, gently press topping into filling.
Freeze until firm, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.