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With near record-breaking temperatures already in the books across the country this summer, it’s a good year to have a stash of treats tucked away in the freezer to beat the heat. Julie Van Rosendaal has created options for pops, pies, sandwiches and slushies that will keep everyone cool and happy without relying on the frozen foods aisle.
Rhubarb or Mango Coconut Creamsicles
Makes about 10
Any soft fruit you can purée works well here, but soft simmered rhubarb pairs particularly well with creamy coconut. Sugar in the fruit and fat in the coconut cream (or yogurt) will keep your pops from freezing rock-hard, making them easier to eat.
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb or mango (frozen chunks work well)
- 1/4-3/4 cup sugar (more for rhubarb than mango)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 1 14-ounce (398-millilitre) can coconut cream (or about 1 1/2 cups full-fat plain or vanilla yogurt)
For rhubarb: In a medium saucepan, simmer the rhubarb, 3/4 cup sugar and water for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb breaks down and gets very soft. Blend it right in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender (or transfer to a blender) until smooth.
For mango: Thaw mango chunks if they’re frozen, and pulse in a blender or food processor with 1/4 cup sugar and help it along with a bit of water or juice (a splash of lime juice, or some of the lime syrup from the slushie recipe below, is nice), until you have a smooth purée.
Stir the honey and vanilla (if using) into the coconut cream. Spoon alternating layers of fruit purée and coconut cream into a popsicle mold, add the sticks and freeze until firm.
This perfect summer slush was inspired by one that’s been served at the Tacofino truck in Tofino, B.C., since its early days of operation and, yes, it takes a shot of gin or vodka very well. You’ll only need about 1/3 cup simple syrup for each slushie, but it will last in the fridge indefinitely, so you might as well make a larger batch. For a watermelon version, add some cubed fresh or frozen watermelon to the mix.
- Fresh limes, washed (about 3 per serving)
- Fresh mint leaves (about 12 per serving)
- Crushed ice
In a saucepan, bring equal parts sugar and water to a simmer with the grated zest of a lime or two – about 1 lime per cup of sugar and water. Pour through a sieve into a small pitcher, jar or measuring cup, cool and store in the fridge for weeks.
For each slushie, put a few handfuls of ice (about 2 cups roughly crushed) into a blender with the juice of 3 limes (about 1/3 cup), 1/3 cup lime sugar syrup and a handful of mint leaves (about 12). Pulse until slushy.
Serves about 8
Any kid knows there are no rules when it comes to making mud pies; you can build them any shape and size, even when ice cream is your medium. Pick up your favourite flavours and layer with chocolate fudge sauce or ganache, bashed cookies or chopped brownies. And while chocolate is more visually mudlike, you could opt for vibrant fruit sorbets layered with chopped or sauced fruit and crumbled shortbread or meringues for something entirely different but equally delicious.
- 150-200 grams cookies (chocolate wafers, gingersnaps, Digestives, maple sandwiches and Biscoff are nice)
- 1/4 cup butter, soft or melted
- 2 litres (approximately) softened ice cream, gelato or sorbet (preferably in two complementary flavours)
- Chocolate fudge sauce or ganache (optional)
- 2-4 cups chopped or crumbled cookies, brownies, chocolate bars, seasonal fruit, pretzels or other add-ins
Break 150-200 grams of cookies into a food processor and pulse into crumbs with the soft or melted butter. (Alternatively, bash or roll them into crumbs in a heavy zipper-lock bag, and blend with the butter.) Press into the bottom of a 9x5-inch loaf pan, pie plate or any dish or vessel you’d like to use.
Let your ice cream sit on the countertop until it softens, then scoop and spread a thick layer on the cookie base, drizzle with chocolate fudge sauce or ganache if you like, and sprinkle with crumbled cookies or other add-ins. Top with another layer of ice cream, then more chopped cookies, chocolate bars and pretzels – a mix of textures works well. Freeze for a few hours, until firm. Serve in slices or wedges, depending on its shape.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 1 dozen
Cakey cookies that are almost like cupcake tops are ideal for sandwiching – they aren’t hard on the teeth once frozen, and won’t squish soft ice cream out the sides. Because chocolate goes well with everything, try pairing them with coffee, cherry or mint ice cream – you could even swap peppermint extract for the vanilla in the cookies if you’re a fan.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or peppermint extract)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- About 2 litres ice cream or sorbet, softened
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well blended and sandy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add about a third to the butter mixture, followed by half the buttermilk, then another third of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk and the rest of the flour mixture.
Using a large cookie scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup (to make evenly sized cookies), drop balls of batter a couple inches apart on a parchment-lined sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly domed and springy to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
If you like, freeze the cookies for better stability before spreading with scoops of softened ice cream and sandwiching with a second cookie. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze until firm.
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