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Easy summertime desserts for your next summer BBQ

Looking for your next summer dessert, but don’t want to spend a lot of time making it? Look no further! Here are a few quick ideas for you, ranging from chocolatey desserts to fruit desserts, that you can buy from the store and make in about 30 minutes or less.

What is your favorite summertime dessert? Leave a comment and let me know!

If you have 30 minutes to make a summer dessert…

Quick Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies—Nothing is more casual, or delicious, for dessert than a cookie. For your next summer BBQ, start with a small batch of these fresh-baked cookies that can be made in your toaster oven and serve them as a simple sundae: put a cookie in a bowl, top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce if you have it on hand, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry.

You can also make ice cream sandwiches by baking your cookies and letting them cool, then sandwiching with your favorite flavor ice cream—chocolate, vanilla fudge, or chocolate chip might all be great here to go with the peanut butter and chocolate flavors in the cookie.

If you have 15 minutes to make your summer dessert…

Peach, hazelnut, and cream parfait—One of my favorite ways to eat peaches is to slice them up and serve them with whipped cream and cake. It reminds me of strawberry shortcake, which was a staple summer dessert for my mom, dad, and me as I was growing up. Even if we bought the boxed pound cake or the little circles of spongecake from the grocery store, it didn’t matter; it was unfussy and it always tasted like home.

June is the height of strawberry season in New Jersey but past that, the good strawberries start to leave the farmers market by this time in July. Over the years, I’ve swapped the strawberries for peaches often, or even combined the two, for an easy summer dessert. Where I live in the Northeast, New Jersey local peaches are generally ready to pick starting around this time, mid-to-late July, lasting until September. When your peaches are ripe, they should be slightly soft and “give” a little when pressed (gently!)

Peaches and homemade whipped cream are always delicious together, with or without sponge cake, angel food cake, or pound cake. If you want to take it a small step forward, store-bought vanilla pudding, hazelnut liqueur, and some toasted nuts are easy enough to add for a new twist on a classic summer BBQ dessert.

Here’s what to do—for two servings:

  • Cut two ripe peaches in half, remove the pits, and cut into about 1/4-inch slices. You can also cut them into chunks if you’d prefer.
  • Mix vanilla pudding with hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico, or almond liqueur, such as Disaronno. I like about 1 cup of pudding to 1 ounce of liqueur ratio, so it doesn’t get too sweet or too thin.
  • To the pudding, add about 1/4 teaspoon of hazelnut or almond extract (depending on what liqueur is used). It adds an extra boost of flavor.
  • Slice 4 pieces of pound cake into about 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch each pieces—but really, you don’t have to be too precise. Nobody is going to measure it. 😉 Cut the slices into bite-sized cubes.
  • Assemble! Add some cake to the bottom of a glass or bowl, top with sliced peaches, and top with pudding. Repeat a second time.
  • Top with whipped cream and toasted, hazelnuts or almonds; serve immediately.

(Tip: If you don’t want to use alcohol, use just the extract.)

If you only have 5 minutes to make your summer dessert…

Prosecco and sorbet—Elegant but easy, start with a pint of your favorite sorbet flavor and a bottle of prosecco from the store, such as Lunetta (typically $9-14 at stores near me in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York areas) or Josh ($12-16). You can use a sparkling rose, sparkling moscato, or cava as alternatives, but I prefer prosecco.

Your serving “vessel” can be as simple as your favorite ice cream bowl, or something fancier, like a wine glass, cocktail glass (a.k.a., a “martini glass”), or coupe. Deciding what serving bowl or glass to use is about as hard as it gets for this recipe, because if you’re like me, you may have a lot of pretty glasses to choose from!

It doesn’t get faster or easier than this summer dessert, and if you only have a few minutes to spare, this is a good one: scoop your favorite flavor, top with prosecco, and you’re done.