Keep Cool With Something In The Oven: Summer Baking Tips

When it comes to enjoying dessert during the warmest months of the year, many people head straight to the freezer to grab their favorite tub of ice cream. However, baking and pastry arts students know there is a wide variety of delicious treats that are perfect for the summer. Follow these tips to craft sweets that are ideal for enjoying at a cookout or on a picnic.

1. Use plenty of seasonal fruits

One of the best parts of baking in the summer is taking advantage of all the delightful flavors and vibrant colors of the season. Country Living provided a recipe for strawberry rhubarb shortbread bars that shows how you can turn tasty fruits into fun and portable desserts.

Boil a mixture of rhubarb, strawberries, granulated sugar and water until the fruit starts breaking down. While the mixture cools, use a food processor to prepare the crust by pulsing together powdered sugar, salt and flour, followed by butter. Bake in a pan lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until the edges are golden.

Puree the fruit mixture, adding eggs, lemon zest, granulated sugar and flour. Pour onto the crust and return the pan to the oven, baking until the bars set. Then, place in the refrigerator for two hours before serving with sliced strawberries.

Be careful when baking dishes that are heavy on butter in warm weather.Explore the endless flavor possibilities of seasonal fruits.

2. Hurry up and bake your cookies

Butter is an essential part of your cookie dough, but it’s an ingredient that can present a problem in the summer. Butter is prone to melting prematurely on a hot day, altering the texture of the final product. That means it’s important to either get cooking quickly or place the dough in the refrigerator until you’re ready.

With the right preparation, those cookies can be perfectly paired with a cool, refreshing beverage. Fine Cooking recommended ginger crackles, which go great with lemonade or tea. Start by using a whisk to combine flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt and, in a separate bowl, beating together butter, granulated sugar, molasses, egg and crystallized ginger. Then, blend all the ingredients together.

Form the dough into balls and coat with more sugar. Set on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and place in an oven set to 350 degrees. Bake for up to 14 minutes, checking for the bottoms to become lightly browned.

3. Make cakes for the freezer

For an extra-cool treat, you can create a cake without ever firing up the oven. Icebox cakes are the ideal dessert for a warm afternoon, especially when you have the right combination of fresh taste and crunch. Southern Living gave directions for a key lime version that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Whisk granulated sugar, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan, plus egg yolks and half-and-half in a bowl. Slowly bring the ingredients together while heating to a boil. After a minute, take the pan off the heat, adding butter, lime zest and lime juice. Move the mixture to a metal bowl and place on ice until the custard begins to thicken.

Line a pan with plastic wrap and form a base of graham crackers. Place custard onto the crackers, repeating to create several layers. Freeze for eight hours before finishing the cake with a frosting of whipped cream and sugar.

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