Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. -Ernestine Ulmer
The dog days of summer are upon us, with scorching hot temperatures and bright sunshine. Of course, the hot summer days are also times of tons of backyard BBQs and parties by the swimming pool, and while most dinner entrees can be cooked right on the grill (or served cold), desserts can present a little more of a challenge. Desserts for large groups are often baked, in part or completely, and turning the oven on when the temperature is already high outside is probably nowhere near as appetizing as the dessert you’re hoping to prepare. Instead of spending hours heating the kitchen along with the dessert, why not opt for a no-bake dessert that’s as fancy and delicious as it is practical? These 5 easy recipes will help you concoct the perfect treat to wrap up a dinner date or back-to-school party, all without the added expense of blasting the air conditioning to counteract the kitchen heat.
No-Bake Dessert 1: Monster Cookie Balls
A definite favorite for kids parties, these monster cookies balls give you the deliciousness of m&m cookies without the hassle of baking them. They can be made as a sweet treat for anytime during the day or as a big batch for a party; use skewers to make ‘cookie pops’ if you’re going for a little fancier (or want to avoid sticky hands!).
- Ingredients: Old-fashioned oat, peanut butter (or any nut butter), honey, vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips, and mini m&ms
- Method: roll and refrigerate (or enjoy immediately!)
- Time: 5 minutes
- Difficulty Level: easy
- Recipe from: the baker mama
No-Bake Dessert 2: Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Bars
This dessert is perfect for anyone vegan and/or gluten-free and/or avoiding refined sugar - using coconut oil, maple syrup, and unsweetened cocoa powder (along with a few other ingredients), you can still enjoy a dessert everyone will want a piece of! Be careful, though: the melt point of coconut oil is 76 degrees fahrenheit, so keep these in the fridge (or freezer) until you’re ready to enjoy. The peanut butter can be substituted for almond butter or another nut butter for the peanut-averse.
- Ingredients: almond meal, cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, peanut butter or nut butter, sea salt (optional)
- Method: freeze, then refrigerate
- Time: 20 minutes, plus 1-2 hours to freeze
- Difficulty Level: easy
- Recipe from: Detoxinista
No-Bake Dessert 3: Mascarpone Fruit Tarts
These fruit tarts are a delicious summer treat, complete with fresh berries (hand-picked if you have the chance!) and a light crust. Instead of a heavy, chocolate-laden dessert, these tarts use mascarpone, a sweet, Italian cheese used in desserts like tiramisu. You can prepare mini-tarts, like those pictured, or you can prepare one large tart that guests enjoy slices of instead. These no-bake tarts are the perfect substitute for an oven-baked crust!
- Ingredients: Graham cracker, butter, sugar, heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, mixed berries for topping
- Method: chilling in refrigerator; mixing using standing mixer
- Time: 20 minutes, plus 1-2 hours for crust to set (refrigerator) and 1-2 hours for tart to set (refrigerator)
- Difficulty Level: medium difficulty
- Recipe from: Chef Savvy
No-Bake Dessert 4: Tiramisu Mousse
Again making use of mascarpone, these delicious dessert cups are all of the sweet cream of a traditional tiramisu without the ladyfinger cookies in the middle. And who really needs the cookies, right? The cream is by far the best part of the tiramisu, and with these quick no-bake desserts you can have it without having to make it to an Italian restaurant. Plus, the recipe can be adjusted based on how strong (coffee-flavor-wise) you like your tiramisu. If you’re craving something sweet but are out of mascarpone (or don’t have time to buy it), regular cream cheese can be substituted just as easily.
- Ingredients: Instant coffee, whipping cream, powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, semisweet baking chocolate
- Method: mix, pipe into glasses, and chill until ready to serve
- Time: 20 minutes
- Difficulty Level: medium
- Reciple from: Crazy for Crust
No-Bake Dessert 5: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Icebox Cake
For a dessert you’d never know didn’t have a delicious baked foundation, this icebox cake is the cherry on top of our no-bake dessert list (no pun intended). With layers of delicious, sweet cream sandwiched between gingersnap cookies and topped with a warm apple-caramel topping, you can’t go wrong. Make - but don’t bake - the perfect cake to end a fun evening with family and friends.
- Ingredients: Heavy cream, cream cheese, gingersnap cookies, butter, cinnamon, sugar, apples, caramel (if desired)
- Method: mixing, refrigerating, and caramelizing apples
- Time: 30 minutes, plus 8 hours (overnight) to refrigerate
- Difficulty Level: easy
- Recipe from: delish