When you’re trying to beat the heat and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time, reach for desserts made with summer in mind. Take advantage of seasonal produce and find recipes that can stand up to warm weather.
No summer barbecue, picnic or al fresco dinner is complete without something sweet. It’s also possible to indulge in delicious summer treats and add a sprinkling of good-for-you, too. Find the best of both worlds, where dessert can keep up with the heat and keep you feeling healthy.
Editor's note: This article was sponsored by New Seasons Market.
'Tis the season
One of the best parts about summer is the variety of fresh fruits available. Reach for seasonal stone fruits, melons and berries to bake into pies or bars, top ice cream, and eat as-is.
Here in the Pacific Northwest we are lucky to have our pick (pun intended) of stone fruit throughout the season. Choose from peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, pluots and so much more. Chock full of fiber and vitamins, not only do they taste great, but they are nutritious.
- Blueberry and nectarine caprese: We usually think of caprese salad as an appetizer or first course. This version, with fresh blueberries and nectarines, is drizzled with a fruity balsamic vinegar resulting in a perfect not-too-sweet dessert.
Use what you’ve got
If you already have the barbecue fired up for burgers, brats and ribs, keep the fire burning. Grilling fruit gives it an extra layer of sweetness from caramelization and a wow-factor for presentation.
- Grilled peach poundcake: Bright peaches are paired with creamy ricotta cheese and sweet poundcake. You can time and energy by buying a store-bought poundcake, instead of preparing your own.
Cupcakes and cakes topped with beautiful frosting will turn into a mess once exposed to the sun. Avoid toppings or fillings that are prone to melt, or will go bad if there’s to too much heat. Instead, pick items with sturdy fillings, like bars, cookies and pies.
- Plum chia bars: Homemade plum jam is set with chia seeds, which help trap moisture and set a perfect gel. These bars, which are naturally gluten-free, will travel well to the park or summer camp.
You can absolutely serve frozen desserts, like popsicles, gelato and ice cream, with a little preparation. Use coolers or large buckets of ice or dry ice to keep frozen items cold, and put them out right before serving. Frozen treats like popsicles, gelato and granitas are best made with fresh, local fruit.
- Cherry peach power pops: Two stone fruits meet in this popsicle that’s more than just dessert. Protein powder makes it a great cool down and power up after a hard day playing in the sun. For even more flavor, add chopped cherries into the molds.