Five Amazing Desserts That Won’t Melt in the Sun

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A weeklong series on the art of entertaining, for women who are too busy for Pinterest.

Throw a party under a hot sun and most desserts will melt before you’re finished cooking at the grill. To solve this inevitable problem, the Cut asked Cookshop’s executive pastry chef Tracy Obolsky to share five simple dessert recipes that will survive the summer heat.

In addition to being a dessert expert, Obolsky is impressively cool. Besides Cookshop, she’s worked at places like Esca, North End Grill, and Five Napkin Burger (among many other restaurants) and developed the famed ice-cream flavors at Brooklyn’s General Greene. She’s got a degree in illustration from Pratt, she once aspired to be a pro hockey player or snowboarder, and she graduated from the French Culinary Institute.

If that weren’t enough to inspire lifestyle envy, she also lives just a few houses away from Rockaway Beach, where she surfs every day before work in the summer, skateboards into town for margaritas with her husband, and hosts friends for day-drinking parties on the beach most Sundays. So she knows a thing or two about preparing food that won’t turn into a puddle after an hour in the heat.

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Tracy Obolsky, executive pastry chef at Cookshop.Photo: Jackie Gebel

Carrot-Cake Doughnuts
“They can hang out and not melt at all. Carrots are available year round.”

Makes about 15 two-and-a-half-inch doughnuts

Ingredients:
1 1/3 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoon unsalted room-temperature butter
1 large egg
¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup diced candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Spiced sugar (to coat)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
Pinch ground clove

Instructions:
1. Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and mix until incorporated.
3. Add the buttermilk. It is normal for the mixture to look curdled at this point.
4. Add the grated carrots.
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms and there is no visible flour.
6. Roll dough a little less then half an inch thick on a floured parchment sheet. Freeze until firm.
7. Cut the doughnuts with a doughnut cutter, or use two different-sized circle cutters.
8. Fry doughnuts and holes at 370F for about one-and-a-half minutes on each side.
9. Drain well and toss in spiced sugar while still warm.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
“The flavors and combinations are endless and you don’t have to do a cream-based filling, so they can hang out in the sun.”

Makes 15 to 17 three-inch whoopies

Ingredients for red-velvet-cake batter:
¾ cup and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 1/4 teaspoons liquid red food color
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl.
3. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry while whisking until all liquid is added and you have a smooth batter.
4. Scoop or pipe a tablespoon of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan making sure to leave a little room for spreading.
5. Bake at 350F for five minutes, rotate 180 degrees, then bake another four to seven minutes or until the batter is springy to the touch.
6. Let cool completely then sandwich two disks of red velvet with about two tablespoons of the cream-cheese frosting.

Ingredients for cream-cheese frosting:
2 cups room-temperature cream cheese
½ cup room-temperature unsalted butter
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon 10X confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Cream all ingredients together until light, fluffy, and smooth.

Peanut-Butter-Pretzel Cookies
“It’s a soft, chewy peanut-butter cookie and before I bake them I cover the whole ball of dough in crushed pretzel. It’s salty and chewy and snacklike. You can even turn the cookies into sandwiches.”

Makes 15 three-inch cookies

Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
¾ cup smooth Skippy peanut butter
2 2/3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cups and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 large bag thin salted pretzels

Instructions: 
1. Cream butter, salt, and sugars together until light and fluffy.
2. Add the peanut butter, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl a few times if necessary.
3. Add the flour and baking soda and mix until a smooth dough forms.
4. Chill dough until firm.
5. Crush pretzels by pulsing in a food processor or smashing in a plastic gallon bag with a rolling pin.
6. Press round 2 oz. balls of dough into the crushed pretzels, making sure to coat both sides. Keep cookies 1/3-inch high.
7. Bake at 350F for five minutes, rotate 180 degrees, and bake another five minutes. Let cool completely. Note: The cookies should feel underdone in the center when still warm.

Lemon Bars
“Lemon or jam bars with an oatmeal-crumble topping. You can showcase lots of different fruits, really change it up with the flavors, slice them, and have them hanging out — they’ll totally be good.”

Makes 12 bars

Ingredients for the crust:
½ cup room-temperature butter
3 1/3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:
1. Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until a smooth dough forms.
2. Press into a 9-x-12 baking pan or dish and chill until firm.
3. Bake at 350F until golden-brown, about 15 to 25 minutes

Ingredients for the Lemon Filling:
¾ cup and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 2/3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 6 lemons on a microplane
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:
1. Whisk all ingredients together and pour into the baking vessel that has the baked crust.
2. Bake at 325F for 25 to 35 minutes until the filling is set. Let cool and make the meringue topping.

Ingredients for the meringue topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Egg whites from 2 large eggs

Instructions:
1. Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer until white and foamy.
2. Slowly start adding the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time until a stiff meringue forms.
3. Pipe or spread onto the cooled lemon bars then torch with a torch, or put under the broiler until the meringue colors.
4. Portion and serve.

Blueberry Hand Pies
“Summer is a great time to showcase fruit, and there’s so much available. Eat a pie and pretend you’re sitting on the farm. You can fry them or bake them.”

Makes 12 four-inch half-moon hand pies

Ingredients for the pie dough:
2 cups and 1 ¾ tablespoons cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup cold cubed unsalted butter
¼ cup Crisco, frozen in small pieces
2/3 cup cold water

Instructions:
1. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of large peas.
2. Cut the Crisco into the mixture until it is also the size of peas.
3. Add the cold water and stir just until mixed together.
4. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Ingredients for the blueberry filling:
3 cups blueberries
½ cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/3 tablespoons cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon on a mircroplane
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Instructions:
1. Heat all ingredients except lemon juice in a pot on medium heat, stirring the whole time gently, making sure not to crush the blueberries.
2. The blueberries will start to release some juice and the mixture will start to thicken. Cook until liquid bubbles and is more clear then opaque.
3. Let cool completely in the fridge.

To assemble:
1. Portion the chilled dough into 1/3-cup pieces and roll into a circle about the 4 1/2 inches in diameter and chill for 20 minutes.
2. Place 3 tablespoons of the blueberry filling in one half of the dough circle.
3. Fold over in half and seal edges with egg wash (1 egg, plus 1 yolk) and press with a fork.
4. Trim edges with a paring knife or pizza cutter to make look clean.
5. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated or raw sugar.
6. Make three small holes in the top with a pairing knife.
7. Bake on a parchment-lined sheet pan at 350F for 17 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, and bake 17 more minutes or until golden-brown.

Extra: Her Simple Summer Cocktail
“I love to utilize any herbs I have growing on my front steps of my beach apartment to muddle with sugar, lemon, and lime wedges, and then mix in a shaker with vodka and ice.”