Written by Jenny
All the tantalizing recipes that Chris, Robyn, Liz and Ani have posted in recent weeks have provided me with some great ideas for meals at home and for parties we’ve been invited to. My husband knows better than to ask me if we need to bring something along other than a beverage offering, and we might as well leave the cooler and picnic basket (for transporting these dishes) in the kitchen instead of on the shelf in the basement!
For me, hot days and warm evenings call for cool and refreshing desserts and drinks; I really crave them. Below are some favorites of mine that I hope will soon be yours.
I think everyone screams for ice cream in the summer but sometimes I want something lighter. Granitas are just the thing. These semi-frozen Italian treats can be served after dinner but also are used as palate cleansers in between courses. They are elegant enough to impress guests, yet simple enough to enjoy any day and time of the week. They can be made in a variety of flavors- most common are lemon, lime, orange, coffee, chocolate, almond, mint and wild berries. Surfacing now in summer magazines and menus, are more unique combinations like cucumber-mint- lime, watermelon-raspberry and mango-chili powder. One of my favorite flavor combinations is pumpkin, orange and cinnamon. That’s right, pumpkin! Tasting this Oh-So-Refreshing Pumpkin-Orange Granita shown at top on a very hot day makes me think of a cooler fall day as we commonly think of pumpkin, orange and cinnamon in those months.
Some bonuses to this recipe are: Pumpkin is a fat-free source of vitamins A and C, you get delicious and nutritious in every bite and no ice cream maker is needed to make granitas. An 8-inch-square baking pan is the only special equipment you need. The hardest part about this recipe? About 3 hours is needed in the freezer but not to worry – when you stir it every thirty minutes or so, you can taste! Stirring the granita helps break up the ice crystals and gives it a lovely texture that is often described as being close to icy snow flakes.
Brownie Fruit Pizza shown above is a cool dessert that will be ordered again and again. Very easy to put together, this recipe can be customized to your family’s preferences. Our Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels and a brownie mix make for a rich chocolate base that takes just 20 minutes to bake. Covered with whipped topping, fresh fruit and berries of choice plus a sprinkling of some more morsels and coconut, if you like- all yum! To keep the kitchen cool later in the day, the brownie crust can also be baked in the cooler morning hours and covered to be assembled later in the day.
Ingredients for 12 servings:
- 1 package (18.3 oz.) traditional 13 x 9 chewy fudge brownie mix
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup (6 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
- 2 cups thawed fat-free whipped topping
- 3 cups fresh fruit and berries of choice (blueberries, sliced grapes, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries)
- 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 15-inch-round pizza pan or 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
COMBINE brownie mix, oil, eggs and water in medium bowl until blended. Stir in 3/4 cup morsels. Spread onto prepared pizza pan.
BAKE for 20 to 22 minutes or until edges are set. Remove to wire rack and cool for 3 minutes; loosen edge of brownie crust from pan with knife. Cool for 1 hour on wire rack.
SPREAD whipped topping over brownie crust. Top with fruit. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup morsels and coconut. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 1 hour before serving.
• 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce can be substituted for the vegetable oil. Bake at 350° F for 15 to 17 minutes.
• Brownie crust may be made in advance. Allow to cool completely and cover with plastic wrap for up to 1 day.
One of the most quenching summertime drinks for me is iced tea. A common sight at our house growing up was a large jar of sun tea on the front walkway in the full sun. Besides having a cold glass myself, I loved to deliver a glass to my Dad while he cut the grass. Our Carnation Green Tea Cooler delivers this same refreshing note. What makes this cooler one of my favorites besides the benefits of green tea, the fresh squeezed lime hit and honey sweetness? The Carnation Instant Nonfat Dry Milk that’s in it! It helps round out the flavor of the tea, is fat free and also provides another excellent way to get calcium into our bodies. I know, the addition of the dry milk to the tea may be treading into new territory for some of you but I encourage you to give it a try.
- 4 cups boiling water
- 6 green tea bags
- 1 tablespoon honey or more to taste
- 1 cup dry NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Instant Nonfat Dry Milk
- Ice cubes
- 4 fresh lime wedges
POUR hot water over tea bags in glass or ceramic pitcher. Let steep for 10 minutes; remove tea bags. Stir in honey. Cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir in dry milk.TO SERVE, pour cooler over ice in glasses. Serve with lime wedges. Coolers can be sweetened with additional honey if desired.
- Oh-So-Refreshing Pumpkin-Orange Granita
- Brownie Fruit Pizza
- Carnation Green Tea Cooler
- Get a Toll House coupon
Related hot-weather recipes:
Frozen Fudge Pops
Creamy Fruit Smoothie