A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Strawberry Icebox Cake Cantaloupe & Mint Granita Peach Melba Parfait Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches   Strawberry Icebox Cake Yield: 16 servings. Cake: 1 package moist white cake mix 1 cup

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Strawberry Icebox Cake Cantaloupe & Mint Granita Peach Melba Parfait Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches   Strawberry Icebox Cake Yield: 16 servings. Cake: 1 package moist white cake mix 1 cup

Chill Out: 4 Frosty Summer Desserts


Strawberry Icebox Cake

Yield: 16 servings.

1 package moist white cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry-flavored gelatin
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup whole milk
½ cup chopped strawberries

½ cup butter, softened
1 (1-pound) package powdered sugar
¾ cup chopped strawberries and their juice

Whipped Topping:
2 cups heavy cream, very cold
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup chopped strawberries

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil, and gelatin. Add eggs one at a time, alternating with milk and beating well after each addition. Fold in chopped strawberries. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool in pan completely. Remove cake from pan. Using a serrated knife, slice cake in half horizontally.

For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar; add strawberries and just enough juice to reach a spreadable consistency. If strawberries have not produced enough juice, water may be added.

For the whipped topping: Using an electric mixer, whip cold heavy cream for 1 to 2 minutes until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and continue to mix on low speed to form stiff peaks.

To assemble: Place one cake layer on a serving tray or baking dish. Cover with half of the frosting, then spread half of the whipped topping over frosting. Place ½ cup chopped strawberries on top. Repeat process with the second cake layer. Sprinkle remaining chopped strawberries over top layer of whipped topping. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

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Cantaloupe & Mint Granita

Yield: 8 servings.

2 pounds fresh cantaloupe (about 2 melons), peeled and seeded
1 cup cold water
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
teaspoon salt
teaspoon white pepper (optional)

Simple Syrup:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Fresh mint leaves (3 stems with leaves or 12 leaves, plus extra for garnish)

For the simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrup slightly thickens. Remove syrup from heat and cool. Discard mint leaves. Refrigerate.

For the granita: Cut cantaloupe into bitesize chunks. Place in colander over a bowl and let drain. Transfer cantaloupe to a blender and add ½ cup simple syrup, water, lemon juice, orange juice, salt, and pepper. This may need to be done in 2 batches. Pulse on low power to blend fruit, then blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add more water as needed to get a thick, slushy consistency. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.

Place dish, uncovered, in the freezer until mixture barely begins to freeze around the edges, about 45 minutes. Mixture will still be slushy in the center.

Using a fork, lightly scrape the crystals from the edges of the dish into the center and mix thoroughly. Close freezer and chill until granita is nearly frozen, 30 to 40 more minutes. Scrape surface lightly with a fork as before, scraping the crystals loose. Repeat freezing and stirring with the fork 3 to 4 times until the granita is light, crystals are separate, and granita looks dry and fluffy, like a snow cone.

To serve, portion granita into chilled dessert cups or small bowls. Drizzle a teaspoon (or more) of mint simple syrup over granita and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

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Peach Melba Parfait

Yield: 8 servings.

4 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup ripe peaches (about 3/4 pound), peeled, pitted, and mashed
3 tablespoons peach schnapps
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) package unsweetened frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ cups fresh raspberries
8 peach slices (optional, for garnish)

Combine ice cream, peaches, schnapps, and vanilla in a freezer-safe container; stir well. Freeze until firm.

Place raspberries, honey, and lemon juice in a blender and process until smooth. Press the raspberry mixture through a sieve, reserving puree; discard seeds. Cover and chill.

Spoon 2 teaspoons of raspberry puree each into 8 parfait glasses. Top with about 1½ tablespoons of fresh raspberries and 1/4 cup ice cream mixture. Repeat layers, ending with 2 teaspoons raspberry puree. Garnish with peach slices, if desired.

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Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Yield: 6 large sandwiches.

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 pints good-quality ice cream (any flavor)
Sprinkles, chopped nuts, chopped chocolate chips, or colorful cereal (optional)

For the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and 2½ cups flour.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, light and dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla; beat eggs until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, beating until just combined and scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap, pressing down to form into ½-inch-thick discs. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature for approximately 5 minutes.

Lightly flour countertop and rolling pin. Roll out dough to a -inch-thick rectangle. Dust dough with more flour as needed. Use a 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut out as many rounds as you can, then use a thin metal spatula to transfer cut dough onto baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. You should end up with approximately 12 cookies total.

Chill dough on baking sheets in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Remove baking sheets from refrigerator and bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets once during baking process. Let cool on baking sheets.

For the ice cream: Line a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet, preferably straight-sided, with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving several inches of overhang on all sides; place in freezer. Remove ice cream from containers and place in a large bowl. Let sit until slightly softened, about 5 minutes, then stir with a wooden spoon or a large rubber spatula until the ice cream reaches the consistency of thick cake batter. Scrape ice cream into chilled pan and use a small, offset spatula to smooth into an even layer. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.

To assemble: Remove ice cream from freezer, unwrap, and invert onto a cutting board; remove pan and peel off plastic. Working quickly, press 4-inch round cookie cutter straight down into ice cream. Working with 1 round of ice cream at a time, use a thin metal spatula to place it on a flat-side-up cookie and top with a right-side-up cookie. Transfer sandwiches to a rimmed baking sheet set in the freezer as you work. Roll sides of sandwiches in sprinkles, chopped nuts, chopped chocolate chips, or colorful cereal, depending on flavor of ice cream. Freeze sandwiches until ice cream is hard, about 2 hours. Cover sandwiches with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

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This story was published on Jun 15, 2021

Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.