I love to bake. Nothing is quite as comforting as the scent of cinnamon and caramelized sugar wafting though a cozy kitchen. During the summer, however, this scene is a distant memory as the only things baking are outside in the sun, and the prospect of turning my oven on is extremely unappealing. But I still like to indulge my family’s sweet tooth during these warm months, and I prefer to do this with treats that incorporate unprocessed ingredients, using fresh and dried fruits for sweetness along with nuts and seeds for a creamy, rich, satisfying texture. Here are some of my family’s favorite summer treats.
Fortunately when it is too hot to bake, summer provides us with some of the most delectable desserts imaginable. Stone fruits, berries, cherries and melons at their peak are the perfect way to indulge. To make them even yummier, try pairing with rich nuts as in this Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad and this Raw Berry Crisp. Both these recipes are versatile and easy. Use whatever ripe succulent fruit you have on hand.
Adding a little lime juice, fresh herbs or a pinch of spice to fruit is a delicious way to dress up those summer gems. Instantly transform a bowl of cut fruit into a delectable dish with a squeeze of lime juice. Adding some fresh mint or basil makes it even more elegant and flavorful. Or try one of my absolute summertime favorites: cubed watermelon, lime, mint, a little ancho chili powder and a touch of smoked sea salt. I could eat it all day.
Frosty drinks are another way to celebrate the scorching season. Strawberry Watermelon Gazpacho is a delightful warm weather soup, and try pureeing the whole batch and serving over ice too. Milkshakes are also a hit in my house this time of year. Coconut milk, banana, nut butter, a pinch of salt and some malty carob powder is my daughter’s drink of choice, while smoothie popsicles are my son’s favorite summer snack. (And sometimes mom even puts kale in them!) With the right equipment, slushy drinks can also be transformed into popsicles, sorbets and ice creams. Try Double Grape Slushies — great as is or lovely as a sorbet too.
Another good one either over ice or made into an ice cream: Chai Almond Smoothie. Creamy, spicy, with the perfect amount of sweetness. Hankering for a small sweet bite? Easy to make and to transport, Lemon Treats are my go-to sweet snack. Depending on what combination of dried fruits, nuts and seeds I have in the pantry, I am continually varying this recipe, creating new flavor blends and pairings. Experiment with what you have on hand. One of the great things about no-bake desserts is that you can taste as you go, adjusting seasonings and ratios to suit your liking.
Hempseed Apricot Chews is another easy treat that you can add different kinds of seeds and fruit to, creating your own variation. And while you have the food processor out, try making Raw Fudge. Incredibly simple and extremely rich and delectable. Give a summer twist to No-Bake Thumbprint Cookies by adding fresh berries or cherry halves, placing the berries right on top of the jam. They look lovely and are so delicious too.
Take a look at my previous blog post for some other no-cook ways I feed my family and still keep my cool during the heat of the summer.
What are some of your favorite summertime sweet treats that don’t heat up you or your kitchen?