Our sweet tooth doesn't exactly disappear during the summer, but the thought of turning on the oven at the end of a busy, sun-filled day can be less than appealing. We've rounded up a dozen desserts that don't require any baking; some of them are stovetop-free as well. We often have the freezer fudge on hand for a little, chilly treat after dinner, the raw pudding is a standby that we even confess to occasionally eating for breakfast, and the "dirt" pudding icebox bars have become a recent favorite. Read on for 12 delicious desserts that show that, while the heat may be on outside, your family can stay cool and satiated. Plus these desserts are all vegan (and many are gluten-free)!
1. “Dirt” Pudding Icebox Bars
Remember eating “dirt” pudding when you were little (or maybe making it for your kids)? This fabulous recipe for dirt cake bars from The Minimalist Baker is still super kid-friendly, but in bar form, it seems slightly cooler and modern. We used Newman O’s for the cookies, but you could choose any Oreo-like sandwich cookie that you prefer. For purists who loved the original creamy texture, you can refrigerate this yummy dessert instead of freezing it.
2. Mint Chocolate Freezer Fudge
This genius raw dessert, found in Raw Food Real World is as simple as it gets. We make it all summer long and pop it in the freezer for an easy pick-me-up or end of the day treat. To make it minty, simply add a teaspoon of organic mint extract to the ingredients while you are mixing everything together. The fudge is rich and “melts” fairly quickly, so we cut it into small pieces that are just what we crave when we feel like just a little something after dinner.
3. Chocolate Peanut “Better” Balls
Oh She Glows is one of the best vegan websites we’ve seen, and these chocolate peanut better balls are just one of many, many recipes that are a home run with kids and adults. They are also a healthier, updated version of a classic recipe that we used to make as a kid; here, coconut flour stands in for all that processed powder sugar. The addition of a little rice cereal gives an added crunch.
4. Rice Crispy Bars
If these vegan peanut rice crispy bars are good enough for Alicia Silverstone, they’re good enough for us. In her bestselling vegan lifestyle book, The Kind Diet, Silverstone says that she makes these all the time. They’re easy enough that you might find yourself doing the same! These bars are super portable and a great addition to lunchboxes.
5. Raw pudding
We make this raw chocolate and avocado pudding (aka chocomole) throughout the summer since it’s chilled and combines two of our favorite foods in the entire world. We even eat it for breakfast for a tasty and healthy start to an active day. Have your kids try and guess what the secret ingredient is that gives this pudding its creamy and filling mouth-feel.
6. Frozen chocolate banana bites
Most kids love fruit, and these tasty little chocolate banana bites certainly sweeten the deal. Plus they’re easy to eat and snack-sized, just the thing for when you want a treat that everyone will enjoy that doesn’t require too much effort.
7. Amazing protein balls
These little balls are packed with protein and wholesome goodness like rolled oats and flax seeds. If you don’t eat honey, you can try a vegan honey substitute or try using agave instead. Made with just a handful ingredients, these amazing protein balls are quick to put together and will disappear before you know it.
8. Raw vegan carrot cake balls
Super healthy “cake” balls are a refreshing snack or dessert and a great way to use the leftovers from your juicing session. They’re much lighter and more nutritious than the sugar laden cake balls most of us are used to, but my kids nibbled away on them and were surprised at how naturally sweet they are. It’s another recipe that begs for you to experiment with it, so be sure to add some of your favorite raw, vegan ingredients for a tasty summer treat.
9. Raw blueberry mousse tartlets
These elegant raw blueberry mousse tartlets are a great way to get some protein and healthy fats into your little ones. And did we mention they are delicious? Cashews help give this tasty dessert a creamy texture, but the in-season, fresh blueberries are the real flavor stars here.
10. Chocolate-covered fruit lollies
Fruit lollies are as sweet to look at as they are to eat! A fun treat for a birthday party or just a treat-for-the-eyes snack, the fruit lollies can be made using a variety of different types of fruits. We love them because kids still feeling like they are getting away with a chocolate goodie, when really they are eating healthy fruit.
11. Frozen yogurt fruit pie
My family has been making versions of frozen yogurt fruit pie since I was a little kid. It’s a simple, cooling recipe, and easy to make ahead for a get-together. You can use whatever berries are in season, and we definitely think the more varieties, the merrier!
Clearly, popsicles are the ultimate chill summer dessert. From fruit swirl popsicles to cherry tofu pops to piña colada, the possibilities for a homemade, seasonal, easy to modify sweet treat are endless! Experiment with a variety of different ingredients and boost the popsicle’s health profile by adding cultured vegan yogurts, greens (like kale or spinach), and tons of fresh fruit.
All photos © Marni Fogelson for Inhabitots except for the fruit lollies and chocolate banana bites (©Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitots).