Need a heat wave cooldown? Try these 7 frozen desserts

7 Recipes
Passion fruit ice fills three passion fruit shells on a plate.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)

Cool off this hot Labor Day weekend with delicious frozen treats, from a chocolate lover’s dream ice cream to espresso granita and frozen blackberry souffle.


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.

Frozen blackberry souffle

Based on an Italian meringue, this frozen souffle is light and airy and offers direct, clean flavors.
Time55 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 10

Espresso Granita With Cardamom Cream

This frozen and flaked espresso granita is served with a few dollops of unsweetened, cardamom-spiked whipped cream to balance the sweet, strong coffee.
Time5 hours, largely unattended
YieldsServes 6

Jasmine tea ice

The aromatics of the jasmine tea come through loud and clear and the silky, slightly slushy texture is just the thing to finish a late alfresco dinner.
Time8 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Nectarine-cardamom ice cream

With the vibrant flavor of sorbet and the luxurious texture of ice cream, the astringent-floral flavor of cardamom perfectly underlines that particular creamy tart note of nectarines.
Time15 minutes, plus 1 hour, 25 minutes, standing and freezing time
YieldsServes 8

Devil's food chocolate ice cream

Dutch-process cocoa powder, 72% dark chocolate, crème de cacao and heavy cream conspire to make this the creamiest, most chocolatey chocolate ice cream you will ever eat.
Time45 minutes, plus at least 4 hours of refrigeration
YieldsMakes 1 quart

Chocolate sea salt cookie ice cream sandwiches

The cookie uses less sugar to allow for the ice cream's sweetness. It's crispy enough to contrast with the ice cream yet a little chewy in the center.
Time1 hour plus chilling and assembly time
YieldsMakes about 18 ice cream sandwiches (36 cookies)

Passion Fruit Sorbet

The floral tang of passion fruit is ideal in an ice-cold sorbet, the perfect treat to cool you off in an LA summer heatwave.
Time15 minutes, plus 4 1/2 hours freezing time
YieldsMakes 12