The 12 Best Summer Desserts

Mouthwatering, delicious, addictive, and guaranteed to impress.

From make-ahead raspberry ice cream sandwiches to a last-minute peach crostata, we have an absolutely delightful dessert for every summer occasion._1

Made with fresh, juicy summer produce, this super creamy apricot and raspberry swirl frozen mousse is perfect for a hot afternoon. A hand mixer is suggested for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Eggs, egg yolks, sugar, apricot purée, heavy cream, raspberries, sugar. REQUIRED EFFORT: Moderate._2

Easy, light, and totally delicious, strawberry shortcake is a quintessential summer favorite. With the addition of white chocolate chips, this variation has a little more depth and creaminess than the classic recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Unsalted butter, shortening, cake flour, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, kosher salt, whipping cream, egg, vanilla bean, turbinado sugar, fresh strawberries, lemon juice, white chocolate chips, whipping cream, vanilla.

REQUIRED EFFORT: High.

_3

A spoonful of slightly caramelized roasted fruit is like eating a cobbler without the crust. Add ricotta and a drizzle of honey, and you have a lush, simple dessert that's absolutely divine.

INGREDIENTS: Whole milk ricotta cheese, creme fraiche, vanilla extract, sugar, peaches, nectarines, plums, figs, cherries, extra-virgin olive oil, honey. REQUIRED EFFORT: Moderate. _4

With a bit of tang and a hint of sweetness, jammy blackberries and a flaky, buttery homemade crust combine in total harmony. Add a dollop of crême fraîche or a pinch of minced thyme leaves as an optional garnish.

INGREDIENTS: All-purpose flour, sugar, sea salt, unsalted butter, ice water, blackberries, lemon juice. REQUIRED EFFORT: Moderate._5

With high-quality raspberry ice cream that's light and peppy like sorbet and a salty, buttery shortbread cookie elevated with toasted coconut flakes, these cheery, zesty, crispy, and refreshing sandwiches are a far cry from your grocery-store variety of ice cream sandos. Majorly impressive.

INGREDIENTS: Raspberry purée, heavy cream, half and half, vanilla bean, sugar, egg yolks, Chambord, finely shredded coconut, unsalted butter, sea salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, all-purpose flour.

REQUIRED EFFORT: High.

_6

A Latin American ice pop made with fresh fruit, these cherry paletas are a classic and simple summer treat -- and relatively healthy. We can't think of a better way to use up an abundance of summer fruits.

INGREDIENTS: Cherries, kosher salt, sugar, lemon juice. REQUIRED EFFORT: Little._7

We had to fit a boozy summer dessert in here somewhere, and this frozen watermelon margarita treat certainly fits the bill. It's basically an adult version of those cups of Italian ice we used to enjoy as kids -- bonus points if you can find small wooden spoon.

INGREDIENTS: Puréed watermelon, lime juice, tequila, cold water, Triple Sec, agave, maple syrup, lime slices, sea salt. REQUIRED EFFORT: Moderate._8

A rustic pastry made directly on a baking sheet with fruit piled in the center, this peach crostata is the epitome of delicious simplicity. It bakes in under 20 minutes, and you don't even have to peel the peaches!

INGREDIENTS: Pie dough, peaches, sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg. REQUIRED EFFORT: Little._9

A bit spicy, a bit sweet, and a bit salty, this candy-inspired frozen treat is like fluffy, flavorful snow that melts in your mouth. It's perfect for a hot summer day.

INGREDIENTS: Watermelon, lime juice, salt, dried chilli flakes. REQUIRED EFFORT: Little._10

Why have one kind of ice cream when you can have three? Inspired by classic ice cream sandwiches, this dessert pairs a homemade soft chocolate cookie with store-bought Neapolitan ice cream. Easy like Sunday morning.

INGREDIENTS: Chocolate cake mix, shortening, butter, egg, water, vanilla, Neapolitan ice cream. REQUIRED EFFORT: Moderate._11

Sweet and flowery, these addictive little squares are made with a homemade lemon curd that's thick, smooth, and buttery. Dusted with powdered sugar, they're bright and pretty as can be.

INGREDIENTS: All-purpose flour, confectioner's sugar, kosher salt, unsalted butter, pine nuts, eggs, egg yolks, Meyer lemon juice, granulated sugar, Meyer lemon zest. REQUIRED EFFORT: High._12

A summer camp favorite gets an over-the-top update with the addition of a salted caramel trifecta: cookies, dark chocolate, and syrup. Talk about indulgent.

INGREDIENTS: Salted caramel cookies, marshmallows, salted caramel dark chocolate, salted caramel syrup. REQUIRED EFFORT: Little.

Photographs: 1. Cannelle Vanille, 2. Inspired by Charm for Better Homes & Gardens, 3.Maren Caruso for Williams-Sonoma, 4. Brooklyn Supper, 5. Five and Spice, 6. Marcus Nilsson for Bon Appetit, 7. Pickles 'n' Honey, 8. Everyday Occasions by Jenny Steffens Hobick, 9. What Katie Ate, 10. Virtually Homemade, 11. Williams-Sonoma, 12. My Baking Addiction

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