date-night-baking1.jpgIt’s easy to plan summer date night. Just grab the person you love, hit a patio somewhere to enjoy a few ice cold drinks, and watch the sunset. Spending a hot summer night relaxing outside is simple and fun, but if you do it every single time you go out, couple time is going to get a little boring really quickly.

That’s why you need a summer date night plan, and I’ve got a great summer date night idea for you if you’re ready for one. If you want to stay home and have fun, why not try a summer baking date night?

Yes, I realize it’s hot outside, but I swear you don’t even have to turn on the oven if you don’t want to. Summer time baking is a great time to expand your baking skills and try something new, and it’s really fun to kick back and be creative together.

Because we have kids and can’t just head out the door whenever we’d like some down time, my husband and I have had quite a few bake nights. Sometimes we do it because we didn’t want to just sit in front of the TV again and other times because we needed a batch of cookies for a school function. We turn off the TV and turn on the tablet for streaming music and just enjoy how relaxing and fun baking is. It’s a great way to reconnect when everyone is busy.

If you’re ready to plan a summer bake night/date night, here are a few ideas for a great summer night in with your loved one.

Chill out with a cold treat

 

This one is more about making and less about baking, but how many date nights end up at the local ice cream shop? On a hot summer night, ice cream is a must-have, but did you know it’s just as easy and even more fun to make it in your own kitchen?

Ice cream makers are one of those small kitchen appliances I used to consider a luxury, but once my husband and I discovered how easy it is to make ice cream of all types in our Cuisinart ice cream maker, we were hooked. It’s so fun to create something ice cold and delicious together, and there are a lot of recipes online for different types of ice cream you could make on your next date night.

Simple ice cream is easy, but if you want to branch out and test your culinary skills on your stay home and bake date night, why not try an ice cream cake or an artic roll? This Peach and Red Berry ice cream cake from BBCGoodFood.com will have you both feeling like culinary experts before the night is over.

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Ingredients:

For the cake

75g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

175g golden caster sugar

175g self-raising flour

3 medium eggs

100g soured cream (from a 300g pot, use the rest in the ice cream layer, below)

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ice cream layer

200g raspberries, plus extra to serve

100g redcurrants, plus extra to serve

100g icing sugar, plus 2 tbsp

300ml pot double cream

250g tub mascarpone

200g soured cream (leftover from the cake)

3 peaches, stoned and chopped

 

Directions

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm deep cake tin with baking parchment. Put the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, soured cream, vanilla and 1⁄4 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl and blend together using an electric hand whisk. Once smooth, scrape into the cake tin and bake for 50-55 mins until golden and risen, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Clean the cake tin, and line with a double layer of cling film. Tip half the raspberries, half the redcurrants and 2 tbsp of the icing sugar into a bowl and lightly crush with a fork, set aside. Pour the double cream, icing sugar and mascarpone into another bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk until softly whipped and just holding its shape. Fold through the sour cream, peaches, and whole and crushed berries.

Split the cake into 3 even layers. Flip the top layer into the cake tin, so the top now becomes the base. Scrape half the cream and fruit mixture into the tin, spread to the edges and level the top. Flip the middle layer of cake into the tin, top with the remaining cream and fruit mixture, then flip on the final layer of sponge. Give the sponge a gentle press to expel any gaps between the layers, then overwrap and place in the freezer. You can also freeze some extra raspberries and redcurrants to serve alongside. Freeze the cake for at least 4 hrs.

Expand your cookie repertoire

 

If you’re anything like me, you’ve baked a cookie or two in your time. I usually do all of my baking solo, so it’s a lot of fun when my husband and I hang out in the kitchen for the evening and bake cookies.

Now that summer is here, why not spend your next date night trying new cookie recipes? All you’ll need is a cookie sheet and a little imagination. You won’t even need to use your oven if you try these Martha Stewart Lemon Spice Butter refrigerator cookies. Just roll them up, toss them in the freezer for an hour, and you’ll both be enjoying an icy cold cookie.

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Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, divided

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/3 cup colored sanding sugar

 

Directions

Beat together butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in zest, whole egg, and vanilla. Add flour, nutmeg, and salt; beat on low speed until incorporated.

Divide dough in half, and roll each piece into a log. Place each log crosswise in the middle of a 12-by-16-inch sheet of parchment, and fold top half of parchment over log. Place a ruler on parchment and, pressing it against side of log, pull on bottom half to round log and narrow it to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap logs in parchment; slip into 2 paper-towel rolls (see above note), and freeze 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly beat egg white. Remove rolls and parchment from logs. Brush each log with egg wash, and roll in sanding sugar, covering completely. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and arrange 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool.

I know, going out for a summer night on a patio somewhere is relaxing, but couple time is fun when you stay in and try something new too. I love the idea of a summer bake night: there are so many different recipes you can try and working together in the kitchen keeps your relationship fun.

If you’ve got a great summer recipe you make as a couple or a tried and true date night idea, post it in the comments.

Main image from soulsnacknyc.com