Cap off your holiday celebration with a treat

Warm-weather desserts can be simple and fun and don’t require a lot of preparation to enjoy

It’s the Fourth of July weekend, and for many people that means celebrations.

That can mean a family reunion, picnic in the park or community gathering.

But there’s one constant in these celebrations — food. After all, when people gather it’s often around the dinner table, be it a formal dining room set or a picnic table or even just a blanket on the ground.

The menu is often simple — grilled food such as brats and burgers, ribs or something a bit fancier, side dishes like potato or pasta salad, chips and veggie trays, perhaps a watermelon or fruit salad and dessert.

But when the weather’s warm, it’s not time for a heavy dessert. Try something lighter, preferably something that doesn’t require much time in the oven.

You can churn homemade ice cream, either in an ice cream maker or, especially if you have kids, make it in a plastic bag.

To make it, pour one cup half and half into a small zipper-lock bag, then add 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and one tablespoon sugar. Seal the bag tightly and press any excess air out.

Fill a larger zipper-lock bag about halfway with ice and 1/4 cup salt. Place the small bag inside the large one and add some more ice on top, then seal the large bag.

Shake the bag for six minutes. You’ll probably needs gloves since the salt makes the ice extra cold. Then take the small bag out and rinse the outside with cold water, making sure to rinse the top part of the bag above the seal.

Carefully open the small bag making sure not to get salt from the outside of the bag in the mixture. The ice cream will be a little icy looking, so use a spoon to soften it up a bit before serving.

But there are other delicious dessert ideas that are ideal for your holiday celebration. Make banana split kabobs, or s’mores — or a s’more brownie. There are no-bake options such as ices and cheesecakes. And, of course, you can still opt for familiar favorites such as cakes and pies.

Just relax and enjoy Independence Day, since summer never seems to last long enough.

Following are some warm-weather treats fro


Berry Parfaits


2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 cup blackberries

1/4 cup agave syrup or 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

1 frozen pound cake, thawed and cubed

1 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, gently mix strawberries and blackberries with agave syrup. Set aside at least 30 minutes.

Combine whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Whip with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Layer the berries, cream and pound cake in wine or parfait glasses.



No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bites



Cream cheese, softened

Powdered sugar

Vanilla extract

Graham cracker crumbs or crushed graham crackers


Cut off the tops of the strawberries and hollow the inside with a paring knife.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.

Fill each strawberry with the cheesecake filling using a spoon, knife or a piping bag.

Dip the strawberry, cheesecake side down, into the graham cracker crumbs.

Keep refrigerated until served.



Watermelon Ice


2-1/4 pounds watermelon flesh, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Lime zest


Place the watermelon, lime juice and zest into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a shallow, freezable container and place in freezer.

After two hours, gently  scrape the top layer with a spoon. Once you get to the unfrozen mixture, pop it back in the freezer. Repeat after another 2 hours.

Continue until the entire mixture is solid, around six hours.

Scrape with a spoon into bowls or glasses and serve



Raspberry and Pistachio Semifreddo


1/4 cup cold sour cream

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup cold heavy cream

1/4 cup pistachios, chopped

2 pint raspberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves


Line an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on all four sides.

Beat sour cream with an electric mixer on medium speed one minute, until smooth. Add sugar and beat to combine. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in heavy cream. Increase speed to medium and beat two to three minutes, until stiff peaks form.

Fold in pistachios and one pint raspberries, then transfer to prepared pan. Freeze at least four hours or as long as one week, until set.

Whisk lemon juice and honey in a bowl until dissolved. Add remaining raspberries and toss to combine. Let sit 18 to 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Invert semifreddo onto a platter and discard plastic. Top with raspberries and mint leaves.




S’mores Brownies


6 graham crackers

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients called for on box

1 cup chopped chocolate bars

1 10-ounce bag marshmallows


Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, then layer graham crackers in the pan.

Make brownie mix according to the directions, then fold in chopped chocolate bars. Pour brownie batter over graham crackers. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes, until almost done.

Remove from oven and top with marshmallows. Bake another 20 to 25 minutes, until brownies are cooked through and marshmallows are golden. To check brownies with a toothpick, you can gently push marshmallows to the side with a knife or offset spatula.

Turn oven to broil and broil two minutes, if desired.

Let cool 10 minutes then slice into squares and serve.



Swirled Meringues With Blueberry Sauce



For meringues:

1/2 cup blueberry preserves

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 large egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups whipping cream

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

For blueberry sauce:

1/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Pinch kosher salt

1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Microwave preserves in a microwave-safe dish about 30 seconds, until just warm. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl and discard solids.

Whisk together sugar and cornstarch.

Beat egg whites on medium-high speed with an electric mixer about one minute, until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt, beating until blended. Reduce mixer speed to medium and gradually add sugar mixture, one tablespoon at a time, beating one to two minutes, until mixture is glossy, stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. Beat in vanilla.

Drizzle one-quarter of preserves in a zigzag pattern onto meringue. Scoop two portions of meringue mixture, about 1/3 cup each, onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make an indentation in center of each meringue to hold filling. Repeat procedure three more times.

Bake in a 225-degree oven for 75 to 90 minutes, until pale golden and outsides have formed a crust. Turn oven off and let meringues stand in oven with door closed and light on for 12 hours.

Make blueberry sauce by stirring sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in fresh blueberries, water and fresh lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook one to two minutes, stirring often, until a few blueberries pop. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Cool completely.

Beat cream and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer on high speed about one minute, until medium peaks form. Fill meringues with whipped cream and sauce. Serve immediately.




Banana Split Kabobs


2 bananas, cut into 1-inch pieces

24 1-inch pieces pineapple

12 large strawberries, rinsed, dried and halved

2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanuts, chopped


Thread two pieces each banana, pineapple and strawberry onto skewer. Repeat process to assemble 23 more skewers. Place skewers on parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until completely smooth.

Drizzle chocolate over fruit kebabs and top with chopped peanuts. Freeze until ready to serve.




Key Lime Pie


For crust:

1-1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling:

2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk

1 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or whole milk)

1 tablespoon grated lime zest

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

For topping:

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

8 to 10 thin lime slices


In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Stir with a fork first, then your hands until the mixture is well combined. Using your fingers and the bottom of a glass or dry measuring cup, press crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. The crust should be about 1/4-inch thick.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, yogurt, lime zest and lime juice. Pour the mixture into the warm graham cracker crust. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set. It should wobble a bit.

Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate about three hours, until thoroughly chilled.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until medium peaks form. Top the pie with the whipped cream. Decorate with lime zest and lime slices.

Store the pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

You can make the crust a day ahead of time, but the filling should be added on the day of serving, otherwise the crust will get soggy.






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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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