When the thermometer hovers at 100 (and humidity is just under 100%), it’s hard to turn on the oven for any sort of baking. Yet after a yummy dinner on the grill, we all have a hankering for a little dessert; what’s a sweet tooth to do? Good for us that Faith Durand has solved our quandary with her new cookbook, Bakeless Sweets. We already love Faith because of her fabulous blog, The Kitchn, but with all these fabulous dessert recipes, she has managed to wiggle her way deeper into our hearts.
Since Faith said the Panna Cotta was her favorite, it seems like a good place to get started. With six simple ingredients: milk, gelatin, sugar, cream, salt, and vanilla, it’s a snap to prepare and was a perfect treat to offer my friend who had spent the day with her sisters moving their mother into her new home. The cool creaminess simmered down the hot whining muscles that had been put to the test all day long hauling boxes. Though simple vanilla panna cotta is a wonderful treat, Faith also includes all sorts of variations including Meyer Lemon, Earl Grey, Honey-Lavender, Milky Chocolate, Coffee, Grapefruit and Vanilla Bean, Peach and Buttermilk, the list goes on and is sure to please every palate.
Celebrating two Blue Willow booksellers’ birthdays at staff meeting warranted another delectable dessert, and what could be better than Gingersnap and Cinnamon Icebox Cupcakes? You remember the Icebox Cake you used to have as a kid, don’t you – the one with the Famous Chocolate Wafer cookie? Well, this is a variation on that theme. Again, the preparation couldn’t be easier – whip some heavy cream, add a sprinkle or two of powdered sugar and cinnamon, flavor with a drop or two of vanilla and layer a generous dollop (it’s a little known but essential truth that dollops must always be generous!) between store bought gingersnaps. Chilling them overnight softens the cookie and makes a spicy, creamy party in your mouth. Faith recommends a four stack, but my bag of cookies only allowed for a three stack (that wouldn’t be because I had already eaten several handfuls while whipping the cream, would it?), but even a two stack would be a sweet tooth satisfying sensation.
Bakeless Sweets brims with page after page of puddings, fluffs, mousses, icebox cakes and pies, trifles, cookies, tapiocas, and other no-bake desserts including more than 100 gluten-free recipes. There’s even one for blancmange, purported to be one of the oldest puddings. We used to have blancmange all the time growing up. Thankfully my mom made it a sweet treat and not as it was originally made with chicken. Bakeless Sweets is essential for summertime survival – no kitchen should be without it!