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Need a quick dessert and out of inspiration!

I'm having some friends coming over for a casual bbq tonight and completely forgot to plan for dessert. (Menu is cheese/crackers, hummus/veggies, asada, bbq chicken, corn).

I could pick something up on the way home, but would rather try to whip something up when I get home. I'll probably have 30 minutes to throw something together. I thought about maybe mixing up a batch of homemade ice cream (I'm a newbie ice cream maker) and baking brownies, but I'm not sure I will have time to both setup and set after mixing.

Anyone have any quick go-to desserts they churn out that's company worthy?

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  1. You could do a nice fruit crisp with mixed berries and serve with whipped cream (or your homemade ice cream).

    Also - chocolate fondue with fruit skewers and pieces of pound cake. Easy and guests love it.

    And if you keep the BBQ going, S'mores! :o)

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sra. Swanky

      Second the general fruit crisp/cobbler/crumble. Perfect season for it with all the berries and stone fruits and super easy to throw together.

      1. re: Sra. Swanky

        Another vote for a fruit crisp, or even a fruit pizza, buy some pre-made dough and do it on the grill!

        1. re: Sra. Swanky

          Love the S'mores idea! But am fairly certain DH won't let a melty marshmallow anywhere near his new grill. :(

          1. re: The Oracle

            Maybe if you promise to be extra careful with the melty marshmallows? C'mon, Hubby - it's summer! What's summer without s'mores?! :)

        2. If you have soda crackers, walnuts, whipped cream and fruit, let me recommend Soda Cracker Pie. Perfect for summer, easy and delicious.

          Here goes....Soda Cracker Pie Crust

          3 egg whites, beaten stiff. Add 1 cup sugar (the amount can be reduced) and 1 tsp vanilla. Roll 16 double soda crackers fine but not too fine. Add 1/2 tsp baking powder. Fold in egg mixture. Add 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped. Butter a 9X9 pan and bake in 325 oven for 30 minutes. When cool serve with sweetened strawberries or peaches and top with a layer of whipped cream.

          8 Replies
          1. re: tcamp

            Are soda crackers similar to saltines? I have a ton of unsalted saltines to use up and 3 egg whites in the fridge waiting for a creative use...

            1. re: thursday

              Exactly the same.

              1. re: tcamp

                I am now very excited. =)

                1. re: thursday

                  I have to reply a 2nd time with a great big THANK YOU! This is so easy and so tasty it has instantaneously become my summer go-to - I cooked it in a 10" springform for looks, and it came out perfectly - crispy on top, chewy in the middle and perfect with all this fresh fruit I've been getting from the farmer's market. We're making it again for our July 4th party!

                  1. re: thursday

                    I'm glad you like it. I'm going to make one this weekend using peaches.

            2. re: tcamp

              My mom used to make something like this. Haven't had it in years but will definitely try your version. What do you mean by "double" soda crackers? I buy Premium saltines and they come singly in sleeves.

              1. re: Isolda

                it is a pretty old recipe and I think saltines used come in pairs so just double up the singletons.

                1. re: tcamp

                  I'm going to reveal my age and say I remember when saltines came in fours!

            3. Fruit platter? Whipped cream, ganache on side.

              Crepes if you're feeling up to it

              1. nothing beats strawberry shortcake. Nothing.

                11 Replies
                1. re: ChipPaulson

                  Agreed as long as you get good strawberries.

                  1. re: ChipPaulson

                    That's what I was going to suggest. Making the biscuits only requires about 10 minutes of work time, 15 minutes in the oven. Macerate the strawberries while the biscuits are baking. Whipped cream can be made and held in fridge, or whipped up just before serving. It's peak strawberry season here right now, and I can't get enough of them.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      Do you have a good biscuit recipe?

                      1. re: The Oracle

                        Sure, this recipe never fails me:

                        2 cups all purpose flour
                        1.5 tablespoons sugar
                        3 teaspoons baking powder
                        2/3 teaspoon salt
                        2/3 teaspoon baking soda
                        1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
                        1.5 cups buttermilk

                        Preheat oven to 425 F. Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl to blend. Using fingertips, rub the butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal (or you can pulse in a food processor). Make a well in the dry ingredients, add buttermilk and stir gently until evenly moistened. It will be wet and sticky (you can reduce the buttermilk by a quarter cup if you prefer a drier dough).

                        For drop biscuits, spray a 1/4 cup measuring cup and drop biscuits onto baking sheet lined with parchment, spacing 2 inches apart.

                        For cut biscuits, turn dough onto a floured surface. Dust the top with flour, flour your hands and fold and gently flatten the dough 5 or 6 times. Cut out with a 2" biscuit cutter. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment, lightly touching each other (you can also place into a greased and floured round cake pan).

                        Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          beautiful! thank you for posting.

                          In my search (for future use), I also found this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787403

                          I'm now wondering the difference between biscuits made with heavy cream or half & half vs. biscuits made with buttermilk. I always make scones with buttermilk, so I'm guessing it will be similar in texture to them (which is a GOOD thing)... but, I've never made a cream scone so I have nothing to gauge it by. Any thoughts?

                          1. re: The Oracle

                            I found this post re: buttermilk vs. heavy cream - but I'm not sure it helps me decide which to use!

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/593903

                            1. re: The Oracle

                              I've had many a biscuit style and have loved them all (except for those that were dry, tasteless hockey pucks, of course).

                              I've made biscuits with both and haven't found a huge difference. The recipe I posted above is a pretty genuine Southern biscuit -- it's wonderfully tender (and flaky, if you use the fold and cut method), tasty and buttery. I think you will find the texture of biscuits to be softer than scones in general.

                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                I'm definitely trying your recipe tonight!

                                I don't have a biscuit cutter, though, and may make square shapes (using a knife to cut - as I've never had good luck cutting dough with a cup/glass).

                                About how many cut biscuits does the recipe make? And, Is the dough still sticky after folding 5 or 6 times?

                                And - when you stir in the wet ingredients, what utensil do you use to stir? When I make scones, I toss it with a fork until just combined and then knead with my hands until formed.... I'm thinking there may be a preferred method for biscuits that I don't want to overlook!

                                1. re: The Oracle

                                  It makes around a dozen or so biscuits when I use a 2" cutter.

                                  The dough will still be a bit sticky after folding (though not if you reduce the buttermilk). To stir in the buttermilk, I use a silicon spatula with a slight scoop shape or just a simple wooden spoon. I use sort of a folding motion. I don't knead, as I would worry about overworking the dough. And when I fold in half, I just flatten with my fingers rather than rolling. It's a pretty rough, quick technique, so I don't worry too much about fussing with it.

                                  Hope it turns out well for you! :)

                                  1. re: The Oracle

                                    An aluminum can (empty and cleaned of course) works pretty well as a biscuit cutter.

                                2. re: The Oracle

                                  I really prefer the buttermilk.

                                  I've had ones that were done with butter and heavy cream and they really coat your mouth and leave you feeling way too oily.

                                  At least that's how they affect me : )

                        2. If you can whip up homemade ice cream and brownies in 1/2 hour you don't need our help!

                          Honestly, I used to think I had to make everything for a party. But if you are working and short on time I would stop and get some good ice cream and a bunch of stuff to top it with and make your own sundaes. Less stressful for you and people will love it.

                          1. a winner for my guests is a key lime pie, recipe on back of key lime juice bottle, delicious, but I realize not everyone likes it. Does go real well with you're menu though!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: momoftwo

                              That's one of my go-to desserts, too, but it does need to chill for a few hours.

                            2. I just saw this in an old magazine and thought it sounded like a very easy quick dessert. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Fill it half way with vanilla ice cream. Cover with a layer of mini or chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, then fill the rest with more ice cream. Crunch up the very thin pretzel sticks and sprinkle on top. Put it back in the freezer. That's it! I would probably serve it with butterscotch sauce to guild the lilly, but it wasn't part of the recipe.

                              1. Grilled fruit (pineapple or peaches, if you can find the latter in season) with vanilla ice cream.

                                1. Zabaglione is a quick go-to recipe. Here is a cold version.

                                  2 egg yolks
                                  2 tablespoons sugar
                                  3 tablespoons Prosecco
                                  1/3 cup whipping cream
                                  Semisweet chocolate shavings, for garnish, optional

                                  Directions

                                  Fit a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, and put the egg yolks and sugar into the bowl.

                                  Using an electric whisk, start whisking the yolks and sugar over the simmering water. The mixture should become pale and thick like super-aerated double cream, and by the end it should have at least tripled in volume and be exuberantly frothy. This could take up to 15 minutes.

                                  Continue whisking as you slowly pour in the Prosecco; you should then have a soft, billowing mass. Remove the bowl from its pan of simmering water, and place on a cold surface or stand it in a pan of cold water, and whisk until cool. Then whisk the whipping cream and fold into the egg mixture. Pour into 2 glasses, garnish with chocolate shavings, if using, and serve.

                                  Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                    Zabaglione is also FABULOUS over strawberries or other fresh berries...

                                  2. If you want chocolate, one of my favorite quick Chocolate dessert recipes is Nigella Lawson's "Express" Chocolate Mousse. It takes about 15 minutes start to finish and it is really delicious:

                                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mwk

                                      I adore chocolate mousse! Can't believe it only takes 15 minutes!

                                    2. Peel and slice some navel oranges (the ones I've been buying are excellent), removing all pith. Lay them on a plate. Mix a few tbsp. honey and rosewater together and drizzle this mixture over the oranges. Just before serving, toast some pistachios, chop and sprinkle over.

                                      1. This was my mother's go-to dessert for company, which is as easy as it is sophisticated and delicious.

                                        Get a fancy dessert glass and pour in some anisette. Add a a scoop or two of highest quality vanilla ice cream. Then toast some coconut shreds and sprinkle, still warm, over the ice cream. The combination of flavors is out of this world

                                        This is how the French entertain. Contrary to popular belief, they hate spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and consider it gauche. Your friends will praise you as a kitchen-smart gourmet, and steal the idea.

                                        PS If you want a more masculine, Americanized version, use chocolate ice cream and Jack Daniels. Use your imagination to think of a substitute for the coconut. Maybe coffee beans.

                                        1. This is my very, very, favorite fruit dip - fabulous for berries or any other fruit. Also quick & easy.

                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                          1. These oat crisps with fresh fruit and creme fraiche are delicious and super quick.
                                            http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                            1. I'm probably too late for today but for future reference the Smitten Kitchen raspberry buttermilk cake recipe (as discussed in the June "What Are You Baking?" thread) is super easy and fast and delicious and can be made with just about any kind of fruit.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: cookie monster

                                                I made this over the weekend, using two chopped up peaches instead of raspberries and a touch of cinnamon - it was DELICIOUS and SO EASY. It made a perfect breakfast treat, but I would say it serves 6 rather than 8 - it's so good, no one is going to be satisfied with a small slice. Really, really excellent.

                                                1. re: biondanonima

                                                  Glad you liked it! I would agree that "serves 8" is a stretch - we did fine with 8 slices, but that was after a big dinner.

                                              2. Build your own sundae. We did that for Father's Day. It was a big hit.

                                                1. Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings: Peel and slice a large apple or two. Wrap a couple of slices in a Crescent Roll.= (they come 8 per can). Place these in a buttered baking dish. Microwave a stick of butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar and a tsp cinnamon and pour over the dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew over to almost cover the dumplings. Bake at 350 for 45-60 min. The bottom half gets puddingy and the top half gets crisp. You will be pleasantly surprised by this oddball recipe.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                    I just have to say, that sounds disgusting! Really, Mountain Dew? And wet crescent dough, ew! Post a picture next time you make them, this I'd like to see!

                                                  2. UPDATE: Thanks, everyone, for the great summer suggestions! I'm going to refer to this thread often! I set out with the intent to do strawberry shortcakes - only to find disgusting (browning/moldy) strawberries at the grocery store. I didn't have time to go to another store so I abandoned that idea and went with a brownies/ice cream plan... that ended up being only ice cream. BUT it ended up being the perfect ending to a huge feast... and it was an added bonus to not have to turn the oven on! The recipe I used was a no-cook one (so no extra time for the mix to cool) and it had plenty of time to set up after churning while we had dinner. Thanks again for all your inspiration! This is going to be my summer go-to thread... I can't wait to make that raspberry buttermilk cake, get some s'mores going, work on my fruit crisps, whip up a key lime pie, and learn how to throw together a zabaglione in a snap. :)

                                                    1. Maida Heatter's Strawberries Romanoff blows away most any dessert. You can google it or go to this site. You can ignore any instructions that require a lot of time like mascerating the strawberries. The dessert will not suffer too much and will still be unbelievable. The only things you need to do are to slice strawberries and whip some cream.

                                                      http://books.google.com/books?id=Yi91...

                                                      1. chocolate raspberry pavlova, nigella's recipe. find it on line. yum!!!