The summer heat means long days, warmer nights and a never-ending quest to find ways to stay cool in the hot temperatures.
One way to take the edge off: fresh and frosty desserts. And if there are options for healthier versions of those same desserts – well, that’s even cooler.
Chef Blakely Trettenero, who writes about her culinary adventures on her blog, Everyday Gourmet with Blakely, has a variety of recipes for tasty treats that won’t make you break a sweat or send you into sugar shock. Trettenero taps into summer with peaches, popsicles and her great-grandmother’s wannabe snow cones called Granita.
“It is extremely easy to make,” she says. “You can store it away and do like I do – pop your head into the freezer every other night, OK, EVERY night, and get a big spoonful.”
Trettenero, host of the Everyday Gourmet with Blakely and Hungry for Travels websites, is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Fla. She is a world traveler, having visited more than 30 countries, and is becoming a frequent guest on TV.
Trettenero also touts her Breakfast Popsicles as a dessert option that leans heavily on yogurt and fresh fruit, making it healthier than most anything on a stick found in your grocer’s freezer. “It is so tasty and beautiful,” Trettenero says of the layered dessert. “You’ll feel as if you’re eating something naughty, but actually it’s healthy!”
• 3 large peaches, cut in half and pit removed
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup brown sugar*
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• Vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat
2. Cut ripe peaches in half, remove pit and put peach halves in a medium-sized Ziploc bag
3. Add vanilla extract, brown sugar* and cinnamon to the bag and close
4. Gently turn bag to coat peaches with mixture
5. Arrange fruit flesh-side down on the grill or grill pan. Grill for 2 minutes or until a nice grill mark appears on the peach. Flip fruit to the skin side and cook for another minute.
6. Serve warm peaches with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy the peachy keen sweetness
*To make a lighter version of this dessert, substitute two tablespoons of honey for brown sugar.
• 1/2 cup each of blueberries and sliced strawberries
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 teaspoons maple syrup
• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1/2 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup granola
• 1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
• Popsicle molds with sticks
1. Put blueberries and sliced strawberries in separate saucepans on medium heat each with ¼ cup water and 1 teaspoon maple syrup
2. Bring both to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
1. In a mixing bowl combine Greek yogurt, almond milk and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
2. In another bowl mix granola with plain or vanilla yogurt
1. In popsicle molds, begin with a Greek yogurt layer, then a layer of strawberry mixture, another Greek yogurt layer, and a blueberry layer leaving room at the end for a layer of the granola-yogurt mixture.
2. Fill molds until you run out of ingredients
3. Add popsicle sticks
4. Put in freezer for a minimum of three hours or overnight
• 3 cups water
• 2 1/4 cups sugar*
• 3 lemons
• 3 oranges
• 3 bananas
• Zest of 2 lemons
• Zest of 2 oranges
1. Make a simple syrup in a saucepan over high heat, mixing water and sugar.
2. While stirring, let it come to a boil for 5 minutes, ensuring sugar is dissolved.
3. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. In a blender, combine zest and juice from oranges and lemons with peeled bananas. Blend until mixture is smooth.
5. Pour into a clean bowl.
6. Add simple syrup to bowl and mix.
7. Let sit until it is at room temperature.
8. Move mixture to a ceramic baking dish and put into the freezer.
9. After 4 hours, remove from freezer and with a fork, scrape the mixture making it light and fluffy. (Mixture won’t be frozen completely)
10. Put baking dish back into the freezer for 2 more hours.
11. To serve, scrape again with a fork and place in dessert bowls.
*Substitute 1 and 2/3 cup honey for sugar as a natural sweet alternative.