Cool Comfort
The Scoop on Frosty Desserts

Whether it’s a lick-the-drips cone from the dairy farm outside Chapel Hill, a cup of sophisticated refreshment from the gelato place in Raleigh or an icy confection from a cart anywhere in the Triangle, June is prime time for indulging in frozen desserts.
Excitement in a spoon can come directly from your kitchen, too. The following six books feature chilly finales you can create in a flash.


The Complete Book of Pies
200 Recipes From Sweet to Savory
by Julie Hasson
Published by Robert Rose

Mississippi Mud Pie

Ice cream pies were all the rage for dessert in the ‘60s and ‘70s and they’ve never really gone out of style. Although this dessert is related to the humble ice cream pie, it has been taken up a notch.

20 chocolate sandwich cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 quart premium-quality coffee ice cream (may substitute cookies and cream or mint chip), softened, divided
1 cup store-bought chocolate fudge or caramel sauce or Bourbon Fudge Sauce, Chocolate Caramel Sauce or Hot Fudge Sauce (see below)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1-1/2 cups whipping (35%) cream
1/4 cup confectioner’s (icing) sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process cookies until crumbs form. Add butter and process until finely ground. Press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch, greased, deep-dish glass pie plate. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.

Spread half of the ice cream in prepared crust. Drizzle evenly with fudge sauce and sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips. Return to freezer until ice cream firms up a bit. Spread remaining ice cream over pie and return to freezer.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, whip cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

Spread whipped cream over pie and sprinkle with almonds and remaining chocolate chips. Return to freezer for several hours or until completely frozen.

Makes 8 servings.



Bourbon Fudge Sauce

3/4 cup whipping (35%) cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons bourbon

In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and bourbon and whisk until melted and smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave as needed.

Makes 1-1/3 cups.


Chocolate Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light (white) corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whipping (35%) cream
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, it will look like bubbling lava. Boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and whisk in cream. Add chocolate chips and whisk until melted and smooth. The sauce will look like it’s separating but will smooth out after a minute or so of whisking. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups.


Hot Fudge Sauce

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping (35%) cream
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon dark rum

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cream and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in cocoa powder, whisking continuously.
Remove from heat and whisk in rum. Let cool until thickened. Fudge sauce will become very thick as it cools. Spoon over pies and tarts.

Makes about 1-1/4 cups.


Frozen Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

20 chocolate sandwich cookies

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 quart premium-quality chocolate ice cream softened, divided

1 large banana, peeled and sliced

1 cup store-bought chocolate fudge sauce, divided

1-1/2 cups whipping (35%) cream

1/4 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process cookies until crumbs form. Add butter and process until finely ground and clumps start to form. Press onto bottom and up side of prepared pie plate. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.

Spread half of the ice cream in prepared crust. Place banana slices in a single layer over ice cream. Drizzle three-quarters of the fudge sauce over bananas. Return pie to freezer until ice cream firms up a bit. Spread remaining ice cream over pie and return to freezer.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, whip cream, confectioner's sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

Spread whipped cream over pie and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Return to freezer for several hours or until completely frozen. Drizzle with remaining sauce.

Makes one 9-inch pie.


Dessert Express
100 Sweet Treats You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less
by Lauren Chattman
Published by The Taunton Press

Banana Splits With Mango-Caramel Sauce

An unusual and delicious dessert sauce, made by cooking mango purée with dark brown sugar, tops these tropical-themed banana splits. Keep any extra mango-caramel sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week and rewarm it in the microwave.

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
One 14-ounce package frozen mango purée, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark rum
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 small, ripe bananas
1 pint vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
2 star fruits, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Put the coconut in a small, dry skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking often, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
Combine the brown sugar and mango purée in a medium-size, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until thickened and reduced to 1-1/4 cups, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the butter and rum and transfer to a heatproof glass measuring cup to cool for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar with an electric mixer on high until the cream just holds stiff peaks.
Peel, then split the bananas in half lengthwise and arrange in 4 banana split dishes. Top each portion with 3 small scoops of ice cream, spoon over the warm mango sauce, top with the whipped cream, and garnish with the coconut and the star fruit slices. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.


Blackbottom Grasshopper Milkshakes

Here I make two separate milkshake mixtures and layer them in one glass. Serve them right after you pour them if you want your guests to appreciate the visual effect, since the green and brown parts will start to blend together in a minute or two!

1 cup milk

1 pint mint chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened

1/4 cup crème de menthe liqueur

1 pint chocolate ice cream, slightly softened

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Put 1/2 cup of the milk, the mint chocolate chip ice cream and crème de menthe in a blender and blend until just smooth. Pour into a measuring cup.

Rinse out the blender and put the remaining 1/2 cup milk, the chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup in the blender and blend until just smooth. Pour the chocolate milkshake mixture into four 8-ounce glasses and top with the mint milkshake mixture. Garnish with mint leaves and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.



Dulce: Desserts From Santa Fe Kitchens
from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation
Published by Gibbs Smith

Amaretti Frozen Lemon Mousse With Blueberry Sauce

Amaretti Lemon Mousse:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, diced
3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 cup crumbled amaretti cookies (about 24), divided

Blueberry Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
4 (1/2-pint) baskets blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For the mousse:

Line a 9-1/4 x 5-1/4 x 3-inch pan with plastic wrap, leaving a long overhang. Whisk eggs and yolks in a medium bowl to blend. Combine lemon juice, sugar and butter in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk warm lemon mixture into eggs; return to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens, about 3 minutes (do not boil). Transfer to a large bowl; whisk in zest. Chill lemon custard until cold, about 30 minutes.

Beat whipping cream in a medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into lemon custard in 2 additions. Spread 1/4 of lemon mousse (about 1-1/2 cups) over the bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cookie crumbs. Repeat layering with lemon mousse and crumbs 2 more times. Top with remaining 1/4 of lemon mousse. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup crumbs. Fold plastic wrap overhang over dessert to cover completely. Freeze dessert until solid (at least 6 hours).

For the blueberry sauce:

Combine the butter, blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring up to a low boil and stir gently until the berries break down and release their natural juices. The consistency should remain a bit chunky. Cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will thicken when it cools slightly.

Unmold the mousse and cut in 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices. Spoon Blueberry Sauce over individual servings.

Makes 10 servings.


Red, White and Blueberry Ice Cream Sundaes

1 cup plus 2 (1/2-pint) containers blueberries, divided

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup chilled whipping cream

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 pint raspberry sorbet

1 pint strawberry ice cream

1 /2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Combine 1 cup blueberries and lemon juice in a medium bowl; mash well and set aside.

Sift confectioners' sugar into a heavy medium nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until sugar begins to dissolve, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook until syrup turns deep golden brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes longer.

Whisk in 1 cup cream and the water (mixture will bubble up). Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until most hard caramel bits dissolve, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in mashed blueberries; strain into a medium saucepan, pushing berries through. The blueberry mixture can be made 3 days ahead, covered and chilled.

To serve, rewarm blueberry sauce over low heat. Beat 3/4 cup cream in a medium bowl to soft peaks. Place 1 scoop each of vanilla ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and strawberry ice cream in each of 6 sundae dishes. Spoon warm blueberry sauce over ice creams. Garnish with remaining fresh blueberries, whipped cream, and pecans.

These "patriotic" sundaes with their terrific blueberry caramel sauce are great fun for a Fourth of July party.

Makes 6 servings.



Let's Get Together
Simple Recipes for Gatherings With Friends
by DeeDee Stovel and Pam Wakefield
Published by Storey Publishing

Judy Mac's Frozen Strawberry Dessert

Judy Mac and Dave included us in a bunch of old friends invited to visit them in Maine one summer not long ago. Judy is a gifted cook and a relaxed and welcoming hostess. It was tempting to follow her around for a couple of days and write down everything she prepared and how she prepared it. The weekend ended with old friends perched on painted porch rockers, discussing garden plans, extra pounds, good books and favorite recipes. Here is one we each copied before leaving Maine. It holds all the flavor of strawberry shortcake in a sinfully delicious pale pink frozen dessert. I have prepared it many times since that weekend in Maine and never without a resulting request for the recipe. Since you use frozen berries, not fresh, it is perfect all year round. You can even make and freeze it a week in advance.

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 (16-ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pint heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Sliced fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, cream together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the flour and mix until crumbly. Mix in the nuts. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Let cool.

To make the filling, combine the egg whites, sugar, strawberries and lemon juice in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at high speed for 20 minutes (don't cheat!). Fold in whipped heavy cream.

Spread half of the crust mixture on the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Cover with the filling mixture. Spread the remaining crust mixture on top. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve.

Remove from the freezer and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Cut into 8 squares and serve. If desired, garnish with sliced fresh strawberries.

Makes 8 servings.



Sarah's Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut butter for dessert? A wonderful contrast of flavors and textures, this is one of those recipes we treasure, where the creating is fast and fun and the results are memorable.

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 quart vanilla frozen yogurt or light ice cream, softened

2/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust, baked

Blend the peanut butter and corn syrup together in a small bowl.

Alternate layers of frozen yogurt, peanut butter and peanuts in the pie crust, beginning with half the softened yogurt, half the peanut butter and half the peanuts.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 5 hours before serving.

Makes one nine-inch pie.


Fine Cooking Annual: Volume 3
A Year of Great Recipes, Tips & Techniques
from the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking
Published by The Taunton Press

Vanilla Ice Cream With Espresso-Caramel Sauce

You can make the caramel sauce up to a week in advance and refrigerate; it may separate, so stir to combine as you gently reheat the sauce before serving. If you don't have an espresso machine, just pick up a cup at your local cafe.

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brewed espresso
1 tablespoon Kahlúa (optional)
3 pints vanilla ice cream
About 1/2 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans, roughly chopped, for sprinkling (optional)

Measure the heavy cream into a liquid measuring cup. Put 1/2 cup water in a small, heavy saucepan with steep (at least 4-inch) sides. Add the sugar and swirl the pan to moisten it. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and cook, still covered but checking frequently, until the sugar starts to turn light brown, 3 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar turns dark amber, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and slowly and very carefully stir in the heavy cream; it will bubble and splatter. Continue to stir until the sauce is smooth.

Pour the caramel into a small, heatproof bowl and let it cool slightly. Stir in the espresso and the Kahlúa, if using.

To serve: If the caramel is cold or has thickened from sitting, reheat it gently over low heat. Put a scoop or two of ice cream into six individual cups or dishes. Drizzle some caramel on top and sprinkle with a spoonful of the espresso beans, if using.

Makes 6 servings.



Phyllo Chips with Vanilla Ice Cream & Strawberry Mash "Dip"

Forget about nachos and salsa-for dessert lovers, this is the ultimate take on chips and dip. The chips are best served the same day but will stay crisp for 2 days if stored in an airtight container.

Three 9x14-inch sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

6-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar; more as needed

1 pint strawberries, rinsed and hulled

1 pint good-quality vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 13x17-inch baking sheet with parchment. Put one sheet of phyllo on the pan and brush with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and lay another sheet of phyllo on top. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar. Lay the last sheet of phyllo on top, brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar.

With the tip of a sharp knife, cut the phyllo lengthwise into 4 even strips. Then cut each strip on the diagonal, alternating the direction of the knife to form little triangles. Cover with parchment and set another baking sheet on top. This will keep the phyllo from buckling during baking.

Bake until the phyllo is golden brown (lift the pan and top piece of parchment to check the color), about 15 minutes. To keep the phyllo chips extra flat, let them cool before unstacking the pans and removing the chips.

While the chips are baking, make the strawberry mash. With a pastry cutter or a potato masher, smash the strawberries in a medium bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until pulverized but still a bit chunky. Taste; try to keep it on the tart side since the phyllo chips and ice cream are quite sweet. Cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled.

Put two scoops of vanilla ice cream in eight individual dessert bowls and spoon about an eighth of the strawberry mash over each portion. Tuck some phyllo chips in the ice cream or serve the chips on the side. If the ice cream is soft enough, you can use the chips to scoop it like a dip.

Makes 8 servings.



From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking With Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener
by Mani Niall
Published by Da Capo Press

Raspberry Sorbet Cream

One of the simplest, and most luscious, desserts is summer berries, sweetened with honey, topped with cream. Why not transform the trio into a cool, refreshing and vividly hued frozen dessert? And you won't need an ice cream maker. Honey does not freeze solid, helping create a creamy texture. One caveat -- if the cream is held for much longer than 8 hours before serving, it will crystallize, so serve it within a few hours after combining the fruit puree and whipped cream.

3 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup mild honey, such as raspberry, blackberry or tupelo
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream

Mix the raspberries and honey in a bowl. Let stand until the berries release some juices, about 1 hour. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, add the lemon juice and puree. Pour into a metal bowl or pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until solid, at least 6 and up to 18 hours.

Break up the frozen mass with a spoon or fork and place in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Using an electric mixer at high speed, whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it holds soft peaks. Fold three-quarters of the frozen fruit mixture into the whipped cream. Freeze the remaining sorbet and cover the bowl of "sorbet cream" and freeze that until scoopable, at least 1 and up to 4 hours before serving. Divide the two mixtures evenly into clear tumblers or martini glasses, with a small scoop of the vivid red raspberry sorbet at the bottom and the pale "sorbet cream" on top. It is best served in the first few hours. After that it will crystallize and lose its creamy texture but still taste good and refreshing.

Makes 4 servings.



Mango-Pineapple Granita

The indisputable popularity of the mojito proves my point about people loving sweet things. For a very adult dessert, serve this tropical fruit granita, sweetened with fruity agave, topped with a heady mash of rum and mint leaves.

ManGo-Pineapple Granita:

3/4 pound fresh mango, peeled, pitted and cut in bite-size chunks

1-1/2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice

1-1/4 cups agave syrup

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Mojito Muddle:

Approximately 36 mint leaves

2 tablespoons agave syrup

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup silver rum

To make the granita, place an 8-inch square metal baking pan and a metal serving spoon in the freezer and freeze while preparing the granita mixture.

In batches, purée the mango, pineapple juice, agave syrup and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, and pour into the chilled pan. Mix well, and leave the spoon in the pan. Freeze until ice crystals form around the edge of the mixture, about 1 hour, and stir well. Freeze until the edges are icy again, about 1 hour more. Stir again, and freeze until the mixture is slushy, about 1 hour longer. (The granita can be made up to 2 hours ahead, stirred every hour or so.)

To make the mojito muddle, mash the mint and 1 tablespoon of the agave syrup in a small bowl with a pestle or a wooden spoon until the mint is broken up and releases its juices. Stir in the remaining syrup. Stir in the lime juice and rum. Taste and add more agave syrup, if desired.

Divide the mojito muddle among six decorative cocktail glasses, such as martini glasses. Scrape up the granita with the cold spoon, add equal amounts to the glasses, and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.



Fact Bite

For centuries, white sugar was available to home cooks in blocks or cones that tediously needed to be nipped and shaved with special implements to obtain small quantities. Sir Henry Tate, originally a sugar refinery worker, made his fortune by creating and patenting a device that cut blocks of sugar into what was marketed as "Tate's Cube Sugar." Sugar cubes are still available as an elegant teatime alternative to bowls of sugar or single-teaspoon packets, and the tide has turned to make even brown sugar cubes fashionable.