The other day, a friend asked me what I was making for dinner. The truth was that I had no plans for dinner at all. I was still sore and exhausted from non-stop gardening and had been so busy that I had forgotten to think about dinner, much easier to do since it is just the two of us these days. I had spent the day sewing with a friend, trying to finish a quilt I started almost a year ago. So, I had no plans for dinner and was sure I could make do with a salad or some scrambled eggs. My husband would understand — I hoped.
As we talked, she said, “I just want ice cream for dinner.” My eyes lit up! YES.
I remember those days. Sometimes, when it was brutally hot and my husband was working at his second job, I would take our three cranky kids out for ice cream for dinner. They would be so excited, the air conditioned ice cream parlor felt so good and the naughtiness of this treat made them all co-conspirators! We would go home, run under the sprinkler, shower and get into bed. Sometimes, you just need to have ice cream for dinner!
So here’s my ice cream philosophy. If I kept ice cream in the house too often, there is a good chance I would eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed. NOT a good idea! But that is how much I love ice cream. So I indulge occasionally and never have ice cream for dinner anymore! But anyone who knows me well, knows that if they bring me some great mocha chip ice cream, I will be their friend forever.
We are in the hottest part of the summer. Time to splurge on that ice cream and enjoy some icy cold treats. Too soon it will be winter and who wants ice cream when it’s near zero.
S’mores Ice Cream Pie (Dairy)
Who does not love S’Mores? This is an icy take on the old scouting favorite.
1-3/4 to 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2/3 stick butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 pints chocolate or chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips or your favorite
3 extra large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup marshmallow crème (fluff)
Hot fudge or chocolate syrup (your favorite kind)
Place the ice cream on the counter to soften while you make the graham cracker crust.
Place the graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the butter and the sugar to the cracker crumbs and mix well. Firmly press the mixture into a 9- or 10-inch, broiler-safe, pie plate. Place in the freezer.
Place the ice cream in a large bowl and either mix with a large spoon or use a gloved hand to work the ice cream into an even consistency. Place the ice cream into the pie shell and spread evenly over the crust. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the ice cream and place in the freezer until very hard, several hours or overnight.
Preheat the broiler to high. Place the room-temperature egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Turn the mixer on low and as the whites get frothy, increase the speed to high. When the egg whites turn white, slowly add the sugar while the mixer is running. Add the vanilla and mix until stiff peaks form. Add the marshmallow cream and beat until evenly incorporated and thick.
Spoon the marshmallow mixture over the ice cream making sure to “seal” all the ice cream under the merengue. Place in the broiler for 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Watch carefully and don’t let it burn. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Heat the fudge and drizzle over each slice of pie. Serves 6 to 10.
Red White and Blueberry Ice Cream and Sorbet Dessert (Dairy)
I make this over two days for ease, but it can be made the same day if you have enough time to let the blueberries chill.
1 lb. blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
2 cups vanilla ice cream
2 cups raspberry sorbet
1 store bought pound cake (loaf shape)
1 pint raspberries
1/3 cup good quality seedless raspberry jam
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh berries for garnish
Optional: 2 to 3 cups whipped cream
Wash the blueberries and choose the best looking ones for garnish, about 1/4 of the berries. Place the rest in a saucepan and add the sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook until all the berries are softened and broken and the mixture is dark and slightly thickened. Set aside to cool and then refrigerate overnight.
Let the ice cream and sorbet soften at room temperature while you do the following:
Remove the pound cake from the pan it came in and slice horizontally so you have three long slices. Set aside. Line the Loaf pan with plastic wrap so the wrap overhangs the sides. Place the first slice of cake back into the pan. Set aside.
Pour half the blueberries into the softened vanilla ice cream. Mix well and spread over the cake in the pan. Place the middle slice of cake over the ice cream and press gently. Place in the freezer while you mix 2/3 of the raspberries with the raspberry sorbet. (Reserve the rest for garnish.) Spread that over the cake and place the top slice of cake over the sorbet. Press down gently. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
A few hours before serving, place the jam and the lemon juice in a small saucepan and whisk over low heat until melted and well combined.
Remove the cake from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving. Remove the plastic wrap and place on a serving dish. If you like, you can spread the whipped cream over the cake and decorate with the berries. Spoon the sauce over each slice of cake and garnish late with the reserved fresh berries. Serves 6 to 8.
NOTE: You can frost this with whipped cream and decorate with berries.
PB&J Ice Cream with Graham Cracker Crunchies (Dairy)
My kids used to love my homemade graham crackers with peanut butter and drop of jam on top. This is a close second to that treat made better by the addition of ice cream.
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. whipping cream
2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1 quart vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, or other ice cream, softened
3/4 to 1 cup good quality strawberry or grape jam
Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat until bubbly and the sugar is smooth and melted, about 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly. Remove from the heat and add the graham cracker crumbs. Mix vigorously with a fork. Small clumps will form. That is good. Let cool.
Place the peanut butter in a small bowl. Add the cream and mix with a fork until well-blended. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix well. Set aside.
Place the jam in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 20 seconds. Mix until smooth and pourable.
Place the vanilla ice cream in a large bowl. Add dollops of peanut butter and jam and gently fold in. OR layer in a parfait glass. (My kids liked to do both!) After all the PB&J is added, add the graham clusters and crumbs and mix just to blend. Place back in the ice cream container, cover with plastic wrap and freeze, or serve immediately. Makes a little over a quart.
Ice Cold Never- in- the- Oven Strawberry Pie (Dairy)
24 plain chocolate cookies (if you cannot find them, use Oreos with filling scraped out and discarded. Use 36 of them. Kids can help with this part)
3-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or grated
2-1/2 tsp. canola oil
6 to 8 oz. cream cheese (low-fat is fine)
1/3 to 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, to taste
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
2 cups whipped cream or low-fat whipped topping, ice cold
1 lb. strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in half
3 Tbsp. seedless strawberry jam or jelly
1 Tbsp. Chambord Liqueur
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cane syrup or corn syrup
Process the cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Place the chocolate in a small bowl and microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Add the oil and stir to mix. Pour the chocolate into the food process and pulse to blend evenly. Pour the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Press into the bottom and up the sides. Freeze for about 20 minutes.
Place the cream cheese, sugar and extracts in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix until smooth. Taste and adjust sugar, adding more if you like. Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the whipped cream or whipped topping, mixing until well-blended. Pour into the crust and spread evenly. Refrigerate. Wash, hull and cut the berries in half from point to stem. Set on a paper towel to dry.
Place the jam in a small bowl and microwave to melt. Add the Chambord and mix well. Add the lemon juice and the corn syrup and mix.
Place the berries in a bowl and add the melted jam mixture. Toss to coat. You can place each berry artistically around the pie or you can mound the berries on top. Pour any remaining sauce over the berries. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serves 6 to 10.
Strawberry or Raspberry Granita (Pareve)
A granita is an icy dessert that is like slush only fresher and better. You make it in the freezer and use a fork to achieve the desired texture. A fun activity for older kids. A great dessert for sultry nights.
1 cup very hot water
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 lb. fresh, ripe strawberries or raspberries, washed, hulled and chopped
Mix the hot water, sugar and lemon juice together and mix until the sugar is melted.
Place the berries in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the sugar syrup and mix to blend. If using raspberries, pour the mixture through a strainer to strain out the seeds if you like. Discard the seeds.
Pour the mixture into a non-stick 9x13 metal pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place on a flat shelf in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, use a large fork and scrape the frozen edges of the mixture into the unfrozen middle. Mix the crystals, spread evenly, cover with the plastic and place in the freezer. Do this about 4 or 5 times until the entire mixture is icy. Mix the crystals one last time and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight.
Before serving, let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Scrape again with a fork and scoop into bowls. You can top with fresh berries and mint sprigs or, for adults, a dash or balsamic vinegar or even a splash of berry liqueur. Serves 6 to 8.
Ginger Peach Yogurt Fruit Parfaits (Dairy)
16 oz. plain Greek or other good quality yogurt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, more or less, to taste
15 to 20 good quality ginger cookies (I like the kind that has bits of candied ginger)
2 to 3 very ripe, very sweet peaches
OPTIONAL: Fresh raspberries or candied ginger for garnish
Mix the yogurt, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk until smooth.
Place the cookies in a plastic, zipper bag. Crush with a mallet or rolling pin until small pieces, but not crumbs. Set aside. Boil a pot of water (enough to cover the peaches).
Place the peaches in the boiling water and let boil until the skin splits, about 1 minute or a bit more. Remove to a bowl of cold water. Let cool for about 5 minutes. The skins should slip easily off the peaches. Discard the skins.
Slice the peaches in half and discard the pits. Scoop out any hardened area where the pit was and discard. Place the peaches cut side down and slice pieces about 1/2 inch thick. Place in a bowl.
Place about 1/4 cup of yogurt in a parfait glass. Add about a tablespoon of the cookies. Add several peach slices. Add more yogurt, more cookies and more peaches. Top with yogurt, sprinkle with cookie pieces and add some fresh raspberries or candied ginger pieces. Makes 4 parfaits.