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By Terri Hahn

Cool off with homemade summer treats


It's hot. You're hot. And you want a cool treat to cool off. Preferably something that just came out of the freezer.

Sure you can go to the grocery store and buy all sorts of frozen goodies: Ice cream sandwiches and bars, popsicles and a variety of novelty treats. But why not get a little creative and make your own? And some of these recipes are easy enough for kids to do on their own.

Let's start with the classic ice cream sandwich and a recipe from Alison Ladman.

"The classic combination of oatmeal cookies and milk. Together at last in a cool summer treat." Ladman said. "These ice cream sandwiches start with oatmeal cookies speckled with flecks of chocolate. Nestled between them is purchased vanilla ice cream (for ease) that gets dressed up with bits of toffee."

Of course, these ice cream sandwiches also are easily adapted to whatever flavors you're hankering for. Ladman suggests finely chopped dried fruit, dark or white chocolate chips, or other small candies could be substituted for the chocolate in the cookies or for the toffee bits in the ice cream. And just about any flavor ice cream can be used.

Toffee Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Start to finish: 2 hours (15 minutes active)

For the cookies:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup finely chopped chocolate, bitter or semi-sweet

For the ice cream:

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 cup crushed toffee bits (found in the baking aisle)

To make the cookies, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.

Stir in the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in the oats and chocolate. Divide the dough into 24 tablespoon-size balls and arrange on 2 ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches of space between them. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.

Soften the ice cream until it can be stirred, but is not melted. The easiest way to do this is to transfer the ice cream to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 10-second intervals until it reaches the desired consistency. Add the toffee bits and mix well.

While the ice cream is soft, scoop a bit onto the bottom of a cooled cookie, then top with another cookie. Freeze until the ice cream is solid. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Makes 12 sandwiches.

Recipe from Alison Ladman

These are easy enough for kids to make on their own.

Banana Yogurt Cocoa Pops

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 medium banana

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1 ice cube tray (or paper cups)

Mash banana with a fork. Mix banana and yogurt well. Stir in cocoa powder.

Divide into 4 small paper cups (or 8 mini muffin cups) and add popsicle sticks (or cut paper straws).

Freeze. Enjoy as a frozen treat!

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Unlike snow cones, where the ice is usually crushed, shaved ice is - wait for it - shaved, resulting in a finely textured ice that absorbs the syrup added to it.

Mocha Shaved Ice

Start to finish: 15 minutes, plus chilling

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules

1 cup water

Shaved chocolate, to garnish

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, instant coffee and water. Whisk until the sugar and instant coffee dissolve. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To use with shaved ice, stir the syrup then drizzle a bit over a cone or bowl of ice, then garnish with shaved chocolate.

Alternatively, to make granita, stir another 2 1/2 cups of water into the entire batch of cooled syrup. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch pan and freeze. Every 20 minutes, use a fork to scrape and stir the mixture until it is firm with small ice crystals. Spoon into dishes and garnish with shaved chocolate.

Makes 16 servings.

Recipe from: Alison Ladman

Cherry Cola Shaved Ice

Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus chilling

Four 12-ounce cans cola soda (6 cans are needed if making granita)

12-ounce bag frozen cherries, thawed

Chopped maraschino cherries, to garnish

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the cola to a boil. Use caution and stir regularly until the foam subsides. Boil until you reduce the mixture to 1 cup, about 20 minutes.

In a blender, puree the cherries until smooth. Stir the cherries into the reduced cola and cook for another 2 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, discarding any solids. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To use with shaved ice, drizzle a bit of the syrup over a cone or bowl of ice, then garnish with chopped maraschino cherries.

Alternatively, to make granita, stir 2 more 12-ounce cans of cola into the entire batch of cooled syrup. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch pan and freeze. Every 20 minutes, use a fork to scrape and stir the mixture until it is firm with small ice crystals. Spoon into dishes and garnish with chopped maraschino cherries.

Makes 16 servings.

Recipe from: Alison Ladman

The beauty of smoothies is that you can add just about anything to them from kiwi to carrots. And this time of year, there is no shortage of options.

Great things to add are seasonal fruits like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, figs, apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines.

Peach Pie Smoothie

1-1/2 cups of frozen peaches

4 ounces of plain cultured yogurt

2 ounces of water

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup

Combine yogurt, water, chia seeds, nutmeg and cinnamon in a blender until well mixed. Add frozen fruit and blend to desired consistency. Pour into glass.

Recipe from: Tara Hamilton

And finally the favorite popsicle, made with strawberries and orange juice.

Orange Strawberry Sunrise Popsicles

1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (from 4 to 6 oranges)

Put strawberries, water and maple syrup into a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Pour orange juice evenly into each popsicle mold, about half to three-quarters full. Spoon the strawberry mixture into each mold, If desired, spoon just a little strawberry mixture in at first, blend it just with the top of the orange juice to give the popsicle a gradient look, and then carefully spoon in the rest of the strawberry mixture.

If necessary, place foil over top of molds and insert sticks (foil will keep the sticks in place and at the right depth). Freeze at least 12 hours until fully frozen. Run molds under hot water for a few seconds to remove popsicles.

Makes 10 servings.

Recipe from:

Terri Hahn of Osceola has worked in food media for more than 30 years and has won numerous state and national awards for her writing. Email her at [email protected].


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