Keep Your Cool: Refreshing No-Bake Desserts.
Why is it so hard to just get motivated and make the same tried-and-true staples that always hit the spot? Chocolate chip cookies are foolproof, but this simple indulgence takes on a greater level of complexity when you factor in the unique stumbling blocks of summer. There's the basic issue of turning on the oven, subjecting oneself to a punishing sauna even more brutal than the sun's rays, and then the time it takes for preheating, baking, and finally cooling down, which draws the suffering out to an interminable torture. Believe it or not, it's also been proven that we're less ambitious and productive during these midyear months, beckoned away from work by tempting beaches, hikes, or just lazy afternoons with friends. This is when most people go on vacations, after all, whether that's a physical journey or just a mental respite. Convincing yourself to work harder while everyone else has all the fun is a losing battle that no one really should have to fight.
So go ahead, take it easy. Escape the heat, simplify your menu, but perish the thought of skipping dessert. A vast array of no-bake desserts have been invented for just such occasions, rewarding a minimum amount of effort with sweet gratification well beyond some dry, packaged confections bought in desperation. Instead, imagine the cool, creamy relief of an orange popsicle, without the cloying sugary wallop of early childhood memories. This rendition is brighter, bolder, and more brilliantly citrusy thanks to a hefty measure of zest added into the mix.
Want something grander, to end any meal with a flourish? Pull out a towering icebox cake, layered with ripe, lightly spiced peaches, whipped coconut cream, and softened graham crackers. Despite the name, there's no cake here and it doesn't come out of the freezer! Rather, this old school moniker came from an age when the only source of refrigeration was from a genuine cold case, much like a picnic cooler, insulated and stocked with ice. For the uninitiated or those in the know, this modern take will come as a happy surprise when it lands on the table, ready to slice and serve with minimal effort.
For a fancy yet understated finish, creme brulee may call for the scorching kiss of fire to caramelize that shatteringly crisp top coat of sugar, but using a compact kitchen torch concentrates that heat to just the task at hand.
Traditionally, flambeed bananas foster inspired this flavor variation, lending warmth through rum and spices, rather than rising temperatures. If it's cookies you're craving, consider the coconut macaroon, but don't stop there. Fresh raspberries and the essence of white chocolate dazzle together, pairing brilliantly with the tropical base.
Finally, skip the soda shop and pile that same sparkling sensation into a crust with an unconventional slice of root beer float pie. The cherry on top is just that: Fresh cherries! That fresh finish perfectly suits this surprisingly light yet luscious preparation.
If you can't take the heat, don't stay out of the kitchen. Keep your cool with occasional no-bake treats!
Peaches and Cream Icebox Cake (Makes 8-10 servings) 4 large fresh peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), divided 1/4 cup organic dark brown sugar or coconut sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger Three 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 8-10 whole rectangular vegan graham crackers 1/2 cup sliced almonds Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, leaving at least a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Pit and thinly slice three of the peaches, setting one aside for later. Place the sliced peaches in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon, and ginger, tossing gently to combine. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes for the flavors to mingle and the fruit to slightly soften. Meanwhile, carefully open the cans of coconut milk, being sure not to shake them, and scoop off the top layer of thick coconut cream. Save the watery liquid left behind for another recipe. (It's great in curries or 1 soups!) Place the coconut cream in the bowl of your mixer and whip on high speed for about three minutes before slowly beginning to sprinkle in the granulated sugar, just a little bit at a time. Continue beating the mixture for up to 10 minutes, until light and fluffy. Finally, fold in the vanilla extract; keep refrigerated until ready to use. When the fruit is properly macerated, spread 1/4 of the whipped coconut cream evenly across the bottom of your prepared loaf pan. Top that layer with sheets of graham crackers, broken into smaller pieces if needed to cover without overlapping. Drain away any excess liquid that might have come out of the peaches before distributing about 1/3 of the mixture on top. Repeat until all the components have been used up, finishing with a layer of whipped coconut cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours and up to 12 hours, allowing the graham crackers to soften and the coconut cream to set. When ready to serve, invert the loaf pan onto a platter. Slice and pit the final peach. Remove plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and decorate the top with peach slices and sliced almonds. Total calories per serving: 463 Fat: 36 grams Carbohydrates: 35 grams Protein: 6 grams Sodium: 114 milligrams Fiber: 2 grams Orange Dream Ice Cream Bars (Makes 6-8 servings) 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight for at least 6 hours M and drained 1 cup orange juice In 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, divided 1/4 cup light agave nectar or maple syrup, divided 1 Tablespoon orange zest 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt Place the soaked cashews, orange juice, 1/4 cup coconut milk, and 1/8 cup agave or maple syrup in your blender. Puree on high speed, pausing to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, until completely silky-smooth. If you still see a few errant pieces remaining after 5-6 minutes of continuous blending, pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard any solids. Stir in the orange zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining coconut milk and agave along with the vanilla and salt. Pour the orange cashew mixture into popsicle molds, filling them about 2/3 of the way to the top. Add the vanilla-coconut mixture to fill the rest of the space. Lightly swirl the two together with a popsicle skewer before inserting sticks and placing in the freezer. Let set for at least six hours, ideally overnight, before unmolding and enjoying. Total calories per serving: 211 Fat: 13 grams Carbohydrates: 22 grams Protein: 4 grams Sodium: 100 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram Raspberry White Chocolate Macaroons (Makes 12-15 cookies) 1/2 cup cocoa butter, melted 1/2 cup maple syrup 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed 1 Tablespoon chia seeds 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut Combine the melted cocoa butter, maple syrup, raspberries, and chia seeds in your blender or food processor and thoroughly puree on the highest setting. Allow at least five minutes of blending, pausing to scrape down the sides of the container to make sure that everything is smoothly incorporated. The puree should appear to be seedless when it's ready to go. Add in the vanilla and salt, blend to integrate, and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add in the shredded coconut and stir thoroughly with a wide spatula. Use a medium-sized ice cream scoop to shape and portion out cookies, placing them on a small sheet pan. Transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 1 hour until firm, or expedite the process by stashing them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Store in an air-tight container in a refrigerator. The cookies will keep for 5 to 7 days. Total calories per cookie: 274 Fat: 23 grams Carbohydrates: 16 grams Protein: 2 grams Sodium: 50 milligrams Fiber: 4 grams Root Beer Float Pie (Makes 10-12 servings) Graham Cracker Crust 1 1/2 cup vegan graham cracker or other cookie crumbs 5 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted Root Beer Filling 2 cups regular (sugar-sweetened) root beer soda 1 cup unflavored non-dairy milk 1/4 cup arrowroot 2 1/2 teaspoons agar powder 1 teaspoon root beer extract 1/8 teaspoon salt Coconut Whipped Cream One 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, chilled 1 Tablespoon organic granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract For the best texture, pulse the graham crackers or your cookie of choice in a food processor until very finely ground. The resulting crumbs should be about the consistency of coarse almond meal. Pick out any larger pieces and re-process as needed. Drizzle the melted coconut oil into the crumbs and stir thoroughly to coat everything evenly. The mixture shouldn't be quite damp, but moist, and capable of sticking together when pressed. Transfer the mix to a 9-inch round pie pan, using lightly dampened fingers to firmly press it down on the bottom and along the sides. Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup or drinking glass for smoother edges. Place the crust in your fridge to set. Next, prepare the root beer filling. Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan, thoroughly whisking to make sure there are no lumps of starch remaining. Heat over a moderate flame, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and pour the hot pudding into your prepared pie crust, tapping it gently on the counter to smooth out the top. Return the pie to the fridge and chill for at least six hours for the filling to be firm enough to slice. Just prior to serving, prepare the whipped coconut cream. Carefully open the chilled can of coconut milk, being sure not to shake it, and scoop off the top layer of thick coconut cream. Save the liquid left behind for another recipe, such as a soup or a curry. Place the coconut cream in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip on high speed for about three minutes before slowly beginning to sprinkle in the sugar, just a little bit at a time. Continue beating the mixture for up to 10 minutes, until light and fluffy. Finally, fold in the vanilla extract. Pipe or dollop on top as artfully or generously as you desire. Total calories per serving: 263 Fat: 18 grams Carbohydrates: 25 grams Protein: 2 grams Sodium: 173 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram Bananas Foster Creme Brulee (Makes 6 servings) 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight for 6 hours and drained 4 medium-sized, ripe bananas 1/2 cup coconut sugar or organic light brown sugar, firmly packed 1/2 cup unflavored non-dairy milk 1 Tablespoon dark rum 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted 6 teaspoons organic granulated sugar Place the soaked and drained cashews in your blender along with the bananas, coconut or brown sugar, non-dairy milk, rum, and cinnamon. Puree on high speed until the mixture is completely smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the container as needed. Slowly stream in the melted coconut oil while continuing to blend. Divide the mixture equally among six ramekins or shallow, oven-safe cups. Place them in the freezer for about five minutes, to keep the custard cold. Only prepare the brulee topping right before serving. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar over the top of each ramekin, evenly blanketing the entire surface. Use a kitchen torch or place the ramekins under a hot broiler set to high, and cook until the sugar turns golden brown, bubbles all over, and caramelizes. Serve immediately. Total calories per serving: 218 Fat: 10 grams Carbohydrates: 32 grams Protein: 3 grams Sodium: 12 milligrams Fiber: 2 grams
Hannah is the author of several vegan cookbooks including Vegan Desserts, Easy as a Vegan Pie, and Vegan a la Mode. She is a baker, writer, and photographer, working towards her BFA in photography.
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|Date:||Jul 1, 2019|
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