Celebrate Summer’s End With 15 Fruity, Creamy Desserts (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

In the summer, the right desserts can take you from overheated and famished to elated and relaxed. They’re cool, creamy and fruity — with the perfect balance between sweet and refreshing.

Celebrate (or if you’re really sad about it, mourn) the fleeting days of summer’s end with these 15 light and luscious treats. After all, you’ll need to load up on warm-weather fruits before the reign of pumpkin spice begins.

1. California Berry Tres Leches Cake

Three milks — evaporated, sweetened condensed and heavy cream — take a vanilla cake from tasty to positively delicious and perfectly soaked in creamy liquid. Fresh berries speckle the frosting for a bit of tartness in each sweet bite.

2. Peach Caramel Blondie Cheesecake

This cake is a triple threat. Its base consists of chewy, buttery, brown sugary peach blondie. Its center is made of cool and creamy caramel cheesecake. And it’s all topped off with finishing touches of peaches soaked in cinnamon brown sugar and rum, studs of whipped cream and a healthy drizzle of caramel.

3. Vanilla Bean and Raspberry Tart

Betty Crocker’s pie crust is unique in that it’s made extra rich with egg yolks, and in addition to butter flavor, it’s enhanced with vanilla bean and limoncello. The bodacious crust is filled with mascarpone cheese and whipped cream — a delightfully luscious topping with the essence of yet more vanilla and lemon. The final creation is vibrantly decorated with raspberries and spread with raspberry jam for glossiness.

4. Mixed Berry Pavlova

Egg whites do marvelous things when beaten with sugar and baked — like form this delicate, airy disc of sweet deliciousness. It’s spread generously with sweetened whipped cream and piled high with fresh berries, which have been tossed in Ina Garten’s triple raspberry sauce. It’s incredible already, but since my mom and I are gluttons, we like to add Nutella.

5. Blueberry Lemon Icebox Cake

Pound cake is cut meticulously to get rid of any evidence of crust. It’s then layered with a lemon curd mascarpone cream and blueberry sauce. It’s frozen until set so each slice shows layers that even the most self-deprecating of bakers would be proud to have created.

6. Pineapple Dole Whip

Bring the flavors of Disney World to your home for cheap with just three ingredients: frozen pineapple, pineapple juice and vanilla ice cream. Serve it on its own, as a float with extra pineapple juice or soda, or as the star ingredient in a wonderful dessert cocktail situation.

7. Roasted Strawberry and Butter Cookie Sundaes

Crumbly butter cookies mingle blissfully with vanilla ice cream that’s nearing the melted stage, especially when thoroughly stirred with tart yet sweet strawberries, warm and roasted in a sticky mixture of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.

8. Vanilla Panna Cotta With Mixed Berry Compote

Heavy cream forms a gelatin-like custard in the classiest of ways when enhanced with the essence of vanilla bean. The world’s easiest berry compote comes together in minutes with frozen berries and sugar for a tart contrast with the cool, mild panna cotta.

9. Strawberries and Cream Bars

If you can make sugar cookies, you can make these easy-as-pie (well, easier than pie) bars. Their cookie crust is smeared with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting before frozen and bejeweled with ruby red strawberries.

10. Blueberry Cocktail Parfait

Cocktail or sundae? It’s a perfectly boozy, layered concoction of ice cream, whipped cream, vodka-infused blueberry filling with a mint leaf on top. Enjoy it as a dessert or as the perfect happy hour treat for you and someone very cool.

11. Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

White cupcakes resembling the finest of soft snow are cut in half and filled with yet more airy wonder: fluffy whipped cream, plus slivered strawberries.

12. Coconut Mango Rice Pudding

White rice cooks slowly until it soaks up the moisture from almond and coconut milks, along with the flavors of vanilla and honey and the texture of coconut flakes. Chunks of fresh mango add fruitiness to every bite, while toasted coconut lends a welcome crunch.

13. Heavenly Blueberry and Cream Angel Dessert

This ethereal, cloud-like dessert must be the true stuff of angels. The trifle-like concoction begins with angel food cake, made even lighter when cut into cubes and folded into cream cheese and evaporated milk. The creamy cake mixture is layered with sweetly tart blueberry filling and whipped cream. Eat this when you need a mental vacation somewhere high in the sky.

14. Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles

You’ll be sad when the strawberry cheesecake — made light-ish with Greek yogurt — portion of these popsicles is gone, but with a good inch of buttery graham cracker crust, the ending sure is sweet.

15. Strawberry Lemon Shortcake Bars

These guilt-free ice cream sandwiches come together with not one, but two flavors of the country’s trendiest ice cream: Halo Top’s lemon cake and strawberry flavors, sandwiched simply between two graham crackers. 

Featured Image: Eric/Flickr

Tags: Berries, blueberries, desserts, recipes, Strawberries, summer
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This Ice Cream Never Melted And People Are Grossed Out


By Cooking Panda

A grandmother from Australia is concerned after her grandson’s ice cream sandwich, which he threw on the ground in a tantrum, failed to melt after four days in the summer heat.

There are two problems with this. One: that the grandson squandered a dessert because it was split down the middle. We all have flaws. That doesn’t mean we slam each other down onto the sidewalk. More importantly: that his ice cream sandwich, besides failing his aesthetic standards, wouldn’t melt and therefore could not have been fully cream-based, which, you know, you’d prefer your ice cream to be. 

On Facebook, Mary Salter reached out to Coles grocery store, where she purchased the sandwich, looking for answers.

She left the sandwich in her yard, she explained, thinking cats, dogs, birds or ants might be interested in the sweet treat. 

“I have watched with interest that none of the above would go near it,” she wrote on the Coles Facebook page. “… now I am a little concerned just WHAT is in this ‘treat’ – can you please explain why after 4 days in 26 degree heat [78 degrees Fahrenheit] on cement it has not melted or nothing has volunteered to eat it …”

Salter shared the private response she received from Coles.

“Hi Mary, thanks for taking the time to get in touch with us,” it reads. “We’ll need to follow this up with our National Quality Team for some more information and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

As Coles formulates a corporate response, we can use a Cincinnati news station’s experiment to get down to the bottom of the unmelting ice cream.

Their story was similar. A child left a half-eaten ice cream sandwich from Walmart on the front porch on a hot day, and the mother found it intact 12 hours later. Intrigued, the local news station then left a Great Value ice cream sandwich, a Klondike bar and a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream in the sun. The Haagen-Dazs was quickly reduced to a puddle, the Klondike bar liquified significantly and the Walmart sandwich barely melted.

The Walmart sandwich — and likely Mary Salter’s grandson’s sandwich — contains corn syrup, guar gum and cellulose gum, according to WCPO. Haagen-Dazs, on the other hand, has just cream, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla, with no corn syrup or gums. 

“Ice cream melts based on how much butterfat and cream are in it,” Walmart responded to WCPO. “Our sandwiches contain less, and are more affordable. But they are healthy and meet all FDA guidelines.”​

Coles appears to use similar techniques to keep its ice cream from melting, based on its statement to Munchies.

“Our ice cream sandwiches make use of very simple, commonly-used food techniques that help slow the melting process, and allows you to consume it without it falling apart in your hands,” the statement reads. “This technique includes adding thickener to the cream, creating a honeycomb-like structure which helps to slow the melting process. When the product starts to melt and liquid evaporates, you are left with what appears as foam.”

These thickeners are natural and safe by FDA standards, but they’re not found in the most simply made ice creams. If you love ice cream sandwiches but are perturbed by some brands’ use of thickening additives, make your own summery treats with homemade ice cream and cookies. Ants surely won’t flee from those.

Sources: Munchies, WCPO / Featured Image: Renee Comet/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: coles, Facebook, Ice Cream Sandwich, summer
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Wildest Summer Treat? Ice Cream In A Watermelon Slice (Photos)


By Cooking Panda

You may know Dominique Ansel as the creative dessert wizard who has brought uniquely delicious and exceptionally Instagram-worthy desserts into the world. 

No doubt, I’m talking about the man who invented cronuts (croissant-donuts), milk-and-cookie shots, and even a rare Oreo cookie spread. 

Yep. He may be the master of a special form of dessert wizardry, which allows him to come up with extremely novel (and again, exceptionally Instagrammable) desserts. 

But this latest summer treat may be one of his strangest creations yet: watermelon soft serve. 

And no, I’m not only talking about watermelon flavored soft serve ice cream. I’m talking about an actual fresh watermelon slice filled up and served with watermelon soft serve. 

This crazy dessert is called the What-A-Melon Soft Serve (even the name is endearingly creative!) and it’s made with homemade watermelon soft serve ice cream served in a hollowed out fresh-cut ripe watermelon slice.

To make things even wilder, the soft serve comes with a side of sea salt and the watermelon slice has some chocolate “seeds” on the side. What-A-Melon, indeed. 

I know it’s hard to imagine, so you’ll just have to see it for yourself: 

Happy 2nd Birthday, #DABJapan! To celebrate, we're launching our brand new What-a-Melon Soft Serve this SATURDAY at our #Omotesando shop, made with a slice of juicy fresh watermelon filled with our homemade watermelon soft serve ice cream, chocolate "seeds," and a little container of sea salt on the side that you can sprinkle on it finish. Happy summer, #Tokyo! ?? #whatamelon #softserve #icecream #birthday #DABJapan #DominiqueAnselJapan #watermelon ?2??!! ?????????ó??ó????2??????????????!??????????!!? ????????????2???????????ó??????ó??????! ???????ó?????????????ó?!??ó?ó???????ó????? ?????????????????????ó??????ó?????????!???????????????????????!???ó??ó????#??? #?????????ó??ó #????ó? #??? #???

A post shared by Dominique Ansel Bakery Japan (@dabjapan) on

Red, refreshing, and probably healthier than your regular ice cream treat. 

What do you think? Would you try it?

I guess if you like watermelon, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t. I’m personally not a watermelon fan, but I can still appreciate the cuteness of this creation. 

The What-A-Melon Soft Serve was created to for Dominique Ansel Japan’s second anniversary celebration on June 24. 

And yep, you guessed it, it’s not yet available outside of Japan. But maybe one day. A foodie can dream. 

And if you need some more fruity foodspiration, the What-A-Melon Soft Serve is not the only fruit-based treat Ansel has created. 

Check out these beautiful Kiwi Sorbet Bars being served up in London: 

Kiwi sorbet, vanilla ice cream and milk chocolate coating? That’s all we need to hear. 

Kiwi get a flight to London, please?

Source: Delish / Photo credit: marinaphotographyhenna/Pixabay

Tags: Dominique Ansel, soft serve, summer, Watermelon
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It’s So Hot In Arizona, People Are Cooking Steaks On The Sidewalk


By Cooking Panda

If you were thinking about moving to Arizona, now might be a good time to reconsider.

A recent video showing an Arizona resident cooking steaks on the street has gone viral, demonstrating how hot it really is in the Grand Canyon State. According to Foodbeast, the video was filmed by placing steaks on a baking pan in over-100-degree heat, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Arizona weather is a force to be reckoned with.

While it’s doubtful that the video’s steaks would actually cook all the way through, there is no question that the meat starts to sizzle and change color, making the video incredibly entertaining.

Even more shocking might be the fact that this isn’t the first time that people have used cooking to demonstrate the unbelievable power of Arizona’s sweltering climate. Videos have shown everything from cookies baking on the dashboard of a Lamborghini to eggs frying on a sidewalk in the Arizona sun!

Personally, we prefer to cook our food surrounded by the refreshing cool of air-conditioning. If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly way to grill steaks, however, we suggest that you check out the video below and then fly to Arizona—just don’t forget the sunscreen!

Source: CKRU / Photo credit: WhenInYourState/YouTube

Tags: Arizona, Hot, Sidewalk, steak, summer
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Watch: This Strawberry Hack Is Perfect For Summe


By Cooking Panda

Summer is a time for sunshine, beaches, and fresh fruit. One of our favorite fruits this season is the humble strawberry—bursting in flavor and perfect for all of your summer recipes, from strawberry pie to strawberry Bellinis, and everything in-between.

Luckily, while researching recipes for our next summer picnic, we came across this brilliant hack for hulling strawberries (also known as de-stemming, or coring). It’s not only fast, effective, and mind-blowingly easy, but also has the potential to revolutionize all of our summer cooking plans. Strawberry shortcake? No problem! Strawberry salad with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette? Piece of cake! Homemade strawberry ice cream? Bring it on!

Watch the video below for inspiration, and then get to baking, grilling, and freezing. We even suggest throwing a strawberry-themed party for all your friends to show off your new skills! Just don’t forget to save some of the delicious berries to eat plain or drizzled in fresh cream for the perfect summer snack.

Source: Youtube/fork + plate

Tags: hack, strawberry, summer, video
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Why Black Ice Cream Just Might Be The Trendiest Food Of Summer


By Cooking Panda

While black might not be the color you typically associate with summer, a New York City ice cream parlor is making a case for why it should be.

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream—the masterminds behind such non-traditional flavors as “Banana Curry” and “Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate”—recently announced the newest addition to its summer lineup, and this one just might be the strangest yet.

According to Founder Nick Morgenstern, the ice cream parlor has developed a new ice cream flavor called “Coconut Ash,” which combines coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut flakes with the eponymous coconut ash for an unsurprisingly intense coconut experience.

What is surprising, however, is the ice cream’s color. Thanks to its flagship ingredient, which Morgenstern describes as “simply the charred and processed remains of a coconut shell,” Coconut Ash ice cream is black.

Jet black.

The flavor officially debuts today, May 25, at Morgenstern’s New York location. We suggest you head to the parlor for a taste of the unique creation—just don’t forget to bring your phone so you can grab the perfect Instagram before digging in!

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Sources: Refinery 29, Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream / Photo credit: Instagram/Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream

Tags: Black, ice cream, instagram, Morgenstern's, summer
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Watch: Learn This Genius Trick For Peeling Mangos


By Cooking Panda

Summer is fast approaching, and that means it’s time for fruit. Everything from strawberries to watermelon is in season right now, and when the sun is out, nothing sounds more delicious or decadent than fresh fruit.

One of our favorite fruits this season is the mango. Mangos practically scream sunshine, and can eaten plain or used in a wide variety of recipes. Personally, we love to put mango in our morning smoothies, chop it over Thai coconut rice pudding for a healthy, delicious dessert, or even grill it to bring out the fruit’s natural sweetness.

Unfortunately, mangos are also some of the most difficult fruits to consume. Their thin, tough skins make them nearly impossible to peel, like an orange, chop, like a melon, or even bite into, like an apple. We’ve seen the cross-hatching trick for eating mangos a million times, but somehow it never seems to work as well as we were hoping.

Thankfully, we recently stumbled upon this video, which presents a uniquely genius way to skin a mango. Even better? It’s quick, easy, and eliminates any fear of cutting yourself while performing it. Watch the video below to learn the hack, and then prepare for a summer full of beachy, tropical fruit—no matter how far away you are from the ocean!

Source: YouTube/Lifehacker / Photo credit: Tree Top

Tags: Fruit, hack, Mango, summer, Trick
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Quiz! Which Foodie City Should You Visit On Your Next Vacation?


By Cooking Panda

Summer is almost upon us, and you know what that means! It’s time to start planning your next summer vacation! Take the quiz below to find out which foodie city you should visit next, based on your personality and food preferences.

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Source: Washington Post / Photo credits: PinterestWashington Post

Tags: foodie, Quiz, summer, Travel, vacation
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Starbucks Introduces Caramel Waffle Cone Frappuccino For The Summer!


By Cooking Panda

Starbucks is debuting the Caramel Waffle Cone Frappuccino for the summer, giving us another reason to wish that the summer lasted forever.

For those days when you can’t decide between an ice cream cone or a Starbucks drink, the Caramel Waffle Cone Frappuccino gives us that happy medium we’ve all been waiting for.

It will be available in the United States and Canada starting May 3 until the end of the summer, while supplies last. I can’t enjoy this until I’m back home in August, so hopefully there will be plenty of “supplies” left when I get back to Chicago.

Described as “a carnival delight, all grown up,” the Frappuccino consists of a sweet blend of caramel waffle cone syrup, dark caramel sauce, coffee, milk, and ice, topped with whipped cream, more dark caramel sauce, and waffle cone pieces.

Waffle cone syrup, what is that? Is it as delicious as I hope it’ll be? For those of you who are as curious as I am, Frappuccino happy hour is back until May 15, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Get a Frappuccino for half price, either this delicious new Frappuccino or one or your tried-and-true favorites.

The Campfire Classic S’more Frappuccino will also come back for the summer, so we can pretend to be at a bonfire with our closest friends instead of working at the office. Once again, Starbucks knows how to please the kid inside of us all. 

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Sources: Starbucks, Time, Pop Sugar / Photo credit: Joshua Trujillo/Starbucks via Time

Tags: Caramel Waffle Cone Frappuccino, frappuccino, limited time only, Starbucks, summer
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