No-Bake Summer Desserts

It's hot. It's so hot I can't even make jokes or try to be witty about it because it's just not funny. And it's only going to get hotter, which kind of makes me want to cry. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have the world's moodiest air conditioner. It works when it wants to, but once it feels it has put in its time, that's it, no AC for me. Because cool air is such a precious commodity in my household, there is absolutely no way I am going near my oven. But what's a girl with a sweet tooth to do when the oven is off limits? Here are my top five no-bake summer desserts.

5. Icebox Cake I was introduced to this wonderful creation fairly recently when a friend tweeted out a picture of this impressive-looking dessert. After getting over the shock of me not knowing what it was, she directed me to a recipe, and this has been my go-to summertime dessert ever since. The best part is, it is so ridiculously easy to make, just chocolate wafers, whipped cream and whatever toppings you wish. I chose berries, because I like to party.

4. Semifreddo I debated between two of my favorite Giada De Laurentiis dessert recipes for this spot, but ultimately the semifreddo won out because the alternative, Limoncello granita, only comes out perfectly every third time I make it. I won't lie though, this one is a bit labor-intensive with the custard, but it's more than worth it. I love the crunchy cookie crust combined with the creaminess of the custard, which is cut just enough by the citrus and Limocello to make it a refreshing summer treat.

3. Berry Layer Cake So, technically this is just another variation of the above icebox cake, but it has a different flavor profile so it still counts. It's very light and fresh-tasting, with good berry flavor and a nice crunch from the graham crackers. Not to mention, the end result is gorgeous. Bring this to your family's Fourth of July party, and you'll be a star for at least 20 minutes until your drunken uncle face-plants into it.

2. Chocolate Tiramisu Traditional Tiramisu on its own is completely wonderful, but as an active chocoholic, I firmly believe there are few dessert recipes that can't benefit from a touch of the good stuff. Even though ladyfingers freak me out (I mean, can you imagine a lady with fingers that large? Gross.), this elegant and classic recipe never fails to impress. This one is definitely on the rich side, but the cool temperature makes it completely enjoyable on hot summer nights. On a cool night, up the ante by making this gorgeous tiramisu variation from scratch.

1. Tartufo This dessert was one of the high points of my childhood; there was something so triumphant about making it all the way to that cherry in the center. Additionally, there are few things more satisfying in the culinary world than "cracking" your way into a dish crème brulee-style, in this case it's provided by the hard chocolate shell. Don't worry if you can't make it until the chocolate hardens -- I very rarely do.

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Kristen Majewski
Contact: Kristen Majewski