The second it heats up outside I know it’s time to cool things off in the kitchen. We usher in the salads, usher out the oven-cooked dinners, and together the kids and I make good use of the ice cream maker and the Popsicle mold. At my house and for my family, an ice-cold dessert is pretty much the main attraction of any meal.

I love heat and sunshine, but I still think summer desserts are one of the best parts of summer. Because we’re celebrating my daughter’s elementary school graduation this weekend, I’ve been in the kitchen with kids and up to my elbows in summer desserts. Here’s what’s been chilling out in my kitchen this week.

Pink Lemonade Pie

My kids absolutely love this pie, and it’s easy to involve them with tasks like crushing the graham cracker crumbs. I think it tastes better than ice cream cake, and the beauty of this recipe is you can use it with almost any frozen juice concentrate. I’ve created Raspberry Pie with this too.

Ingredients:

For the Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter

For the Filling

1 8-ounce packet of cream cheese, softened
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup pink lemonade concentrate (not mixed with water)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Red food colouring

For the Topping

1/3 cup shredded coconut
red food coloring
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Mix the crumbs, sugar, and butter in a nine inch pie pan or spring form pan.  Mix until the crumbs have absorbed the butter and the mixture is uniform.

Press the crumbs across the bottom of the pan and up the sides. We’ve found using a drinking glass to press the crumbs up the sides works well.

Bake for eight to ten minutes at 350 degrees.  (If it’s a hot July day, you can choose not to bake the crust.  A baked crust holds together better because the heat melts the sugar to help hold the crumbs together.)

Using the whip attachment and your stand-type mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, mix the cream cheese until softened. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk very slowly while mixing to avoid clumps, scraping the bowl as you go.

Slowly add the lemonade concentrate and lemon juice and continue beating.  Color with red food coloring as desired.

Pour the mixture into the pie shell or springform pan and place it in the freezer while you mix the topping.

Place the coconut in a small plastic zip top bag. Add a drop of food coloring and seal the bag, trapping air inside. Shake until the coconut turns pink.

Whip the cream until stiff, adding the sugar and vanilla in the process.

Wait until the pie filling is slightly stiff on top, and gently spoon the cream over the pie filling. Garnish with the pink coconut.

Freeze the pie until firm. Slice the pie with a warm, wet knife for smooth cuts.

Frozen lemonade

The first time I ever had frozen lemonade I was living down South in Georgia. One cup and I was hooked, but when I came home to Canada I found it hard to find a frozen lemonade that was as good. This recipe is pretty close to the old fashioned southern lemonade I remember, and kids absolutely love it. If you want to cut down on the amount of sugar, you can sub stevia and it tastes just as good.

Ingredients:

2 lemons

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 9 lemons)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Directions

Peel the skin off of the lemons with a vegetable peeler. Chop up the peels until you have about 2 tablespoons of peels.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup water, sugar, and lemon peel to a boil until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear.

Remove from the heat, stir in 1/2 cup water, fresh lemon juice and salt to bring the temperature of the liquid down. Chill completely in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Oreo Cheesecake Popsicles

I did a review of the Zoku Quick Pop Maker recently, and now the kids and I are hooked on making all kinds of popsicles. We tried this Oreo Cheesecake Popsicles this past weekend and it was so good, we made another batch the next day.

Ingredients:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
2 c. heavy cream
10 Oreo cookies, chopped

 

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Mixing on low speed, pour in the heavy cream. The goal here is not to whip the cream, so take care not to over-mix.

Fold in the chopped Oreo cookies.
Pour batter into popsicle molds. If you use a traditional popsicle mold, freeze for 4 hours. If you use the Zoku Quick Pop Maker, you can make up to 9 popsicles before you need to refreeze your Zoku Pop Maker.

Dole Whip Recipe

Anyone who goes to Disneyland as often as my family does will have had a Dole Whip or two, and one of our summer dessert standards involves a cup of our own homemade Dole Whip. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the original, but it’s pretty close.

Ingredients:

2 20 ounce cans Dole crushed pineapple with juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup sugar

1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped

 

Directions

Drain pineapple; reserve 2 tablespoons juice. Set aside.

Place pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and reserved pineapple juice in blender or food processor container; cover and blend until smooth. Pour into two 1-quart freezer zipped bags and store bags flat in freezer. Freeze 1-1/2 hours or until slushy. Stir pineapple slush gently into whipped cream until slightly blended, in large bowl.

Return to freezer until completely frozen, about 1 hour and serve.

Ice cold summer desserts are a favourite with my family, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re fun to make together too. Plus, creating a few of these summer desserts with your kids will definitely make for an hour or two of summer fun.

Need a kitchen tools to make these recipes? Check out all of the speciality kitchen appliances on Bestbuy.ca, and keep an eye out for a few of my favourites:

 
Imagine all the cool popsicles you can dream up and create with the Zoku Quick Pop Maker

 

The Norpro Ice Cream Maker is perfect for kids because they can turn the handle to create ice cream.

 
The Hamilton Beach Elite Blender will grind up your graham crackers or puree your pineapple for easy summer desserts.