Labor Day, a celebration of the achievements of American workers, also has come to mark the unofficial end of summer even as, here in Southern California, temperatures may continue to soar to triple digits well into October. This year’s Labor Day weekend will bring some of the hottest days of the year. So while summer produce may be giving way to the fruit and vegetables of fall, we still need ways to cool down — especially when it comes to dessert. When wilted after a hot, hot day, perk up with a creamy, icy frozen dessert or snack. Arm yourself now with some recipes to help beat the heat and soothe the soul.
Espresso Granita With Cardamom Cream is a refreshing, icy take on a familiar after-dinner caffeine jolt. And it is surprisingly easy, and low-tech, to make. Freeze some sweetened espresso; use a fork to scrape the forming ice crystals every hour or so; whip up some cream spiked with cardamom; layer the ice crystals (a.k.a. granita) with the whipped cream in a fancy glass and you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate iced coffee.
In the same vein, Jasmine Tea Ice lets you eat your iced tea rather than drink it. Make it granita style as above or toss your tea mixture into an ice cream maker and let the machine do the work for you. Try it with your favorite tea.
You can also use your ice cream maker for Devil’s Food Chocolate Ice Cream, one of the most decadent chocolate ice creams I have ever eaten. A trio of chocolatey inputs — Dutch-process cocoa powder, dark chocolate and crème de cacao — generates an extraordinarily intense chocolatiness. If you weren’t a chocolate lover before, you will be after eating this ice cream.
If you are a true chocoholic, use the recipe above to make Chocolate Sea Salt Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. Do feel free, however, to use your favorite flavor of store-bought ice cream between the crispy-chewy chocolate cookies that will embrace it. Good old vanilla would be a good bet here too.
For something more fruity, Nectarine-Cardamom Ice Cream has the clean, vibrant flavor of sorbet and the luxurious texture of ice cream. Steeping the cardamom infuses the ice cream base with its unique, slightly floral flavor, which is a delightful contrast to the vaguely tart nectarines.
Passion Fruit Sorbet is a creamy, purely plant-based dessert bursting with the distinctive tang of passion fruit tamed just a tad with lime and orange juices. If you prefer icy to creamy, skip the ice cream maker and use the granita method described above. Either way, you are in for an inspired, revitalizing tasty treat.
A little more elegant than ice cream, a Frozen Blackberry Souffle will wow your companions. It is based on an Italian meringue, which is made by drizzling a hot sugar syrup into the running mixer while beating the egg whites. The heat of the syrup gently “cooks” and transforms egg whites to a lush, velvety cream. Once you’ve mastered the technique you may never go back to traditional ice cream.