Come summer, and Americans are on the move. Road trips, camping trips and backyard barbecues mean lots of great food, but it's not eaten at home in the kitchen. The food comes out of a cooler or a picnic basket and, more than likely, it's eaten right from the hand.
Desserts for these outdoor events can present a problem. Cheesecakes, cream pies and other cool desserts are not easily transported and special efforts must be made to keep them at low temperatures.
You don't have to sacrifice taste, however, for convenience. I am giving you three options that are bound to please, one of which is a twist on a classic summer treat.
Warm, gooey and delicious, S'mores are chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker campfire classic so distinctly American that I almost hate to change them. But this variation is just plain yummy.
Naughty By Nature Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch square pan.
In a large bowl, blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually blend flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add chips, chunks and nuts. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let brownies cool, then cut into squares.
This recipe is easily doubled. And it never feeds enough. Try it at home topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
Prep time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 40-45 minutes; Total time: 50-55 minutes
Roasted Peach and White Chocolate S'moresAnyone who has ever made them knows that S'mores don't need a set recipe. I figure that you should have one half peach per person, one square of the white chocolate (use a candy bar which is slim and easy to carry), graham crackers and marshmallows.
Grill the peaches till golden, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of the fire. Remove the cooked peaches from the grill and place each, cut side up, on top of one square of graham cracker. Place a piece of the chocolate in the hollow of the peach. While the chocolate is melting, roast your marshmallow and, when done to your taste, place it on the white chocolate and top with another graham cracker.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
In a large mixing bowl, combine the shortening, brown sugar, peanut butter, milk, and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add the egg; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour until just blended.
Press two-thirds of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spread jam evenly over the dough to within -inch of the sides.
Combine the remaining dough with the oats, and drop by spoonfuls onto the jam layer. Press lightly to even out the dough layer. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges and streusel topping are lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yields about 3 dozen bars.
My favorite treat, of course, is a chocolate dessert - Triple Chocolate Chunk Brownies with nuts. Why just have plain old chocolate brownies? You can add basically anything to a basic brownie recipe. Nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate, raisins, candy pieces or practically anything. And brownies are great for outdoor events. They have great holding time, are not affected by temperature like ice cream or custards, and they are dense and moist and rich. If you under bake them, they stay chewy while keeping their crunchy top. This particular recipe is for the chewy dense variety, rather than the cake-like brownie. This brownie is so moist it does not need frosting. It is sooo good.
Enjoy your summer outings and, especially, your summer desserts.
Dorothy Sibole is a pastry chef living in Austin, Texas. If you have questions about this article or the recipes, contact us at moc.gnikoocsaxet@nibrof_solkim.
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