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Easy Sweet Treats for Your Next Summer Gathering


Summer is the perfect time to bring fun, family and friends together. Whether it's for a neighborhood pool party, backyard barbecue or brunch on the patio, people gather to experience the food and flavors of the season. The right refreshing dessert is sure to impress your guests and end your summer soiree on a deliciously high note.

Here are some simple and sweet ideas you can use to add pizzazz to your next summer gathering:

* Add a Healthy Twist with Fruit Kabobs
One of the best parts of summer, besides the warm weather and sunshine, is the flavorful fruit that fills grocery stores and farmer's markets. Fruit is a delicious and healthy way to satisfy the sweet tooth at your next gathering. Fruit kabobs are a great option because they're both portable and fun for guests to enjoy.

Start by choosing a variety of fresh fruit options. For example, strawberries, pineapple, grapes and melon are all great fruit selections that embody the essence of summer. Wash and cut fruit into bite-size pieces and alternate as you skewer the kabob. Present the juicy dessert on a festive tray for a way to add color to any entree. Add some flavorful fruit dips and you've made something everyone is sure to enjoy.

* Beat the Heat with an Iced Coffee Dessert Bar
More and more people are drinking chilled coffee so you're bound to get a great reaction from your guests if you add an iced coffee dessert bar to your next summer barbeque. With the help of top-quality coffee and a cocktail shaker, impress your guests by giving them a cafe experience right in your own backyard.

Simply cold brew coffee by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water overnight to create a rich, smooth coffee concentrate perfect for the base of any iced coffee beverage. Hand-shake it together with water and ice or milk in a cocktail shaker and serve with flavored syrups, sweeteners and even whipped cream. To really make it a sweet treat, sprinkle your smooth, chilled beverages with fun toppings like crushed cookies and candy or add unique flavors with a dash of cinnamon or powdered vanilla.

* Cool Off with Summer Sorbet
Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from sweetened water and iced fruit. Most often it is made without milk, so it is a healthier dessert option. A great treat, sorbet's refreshing fruit base is tasty and cleanses the palette.

Although you can make sorbet yourself, you can find many varieties at your local grocery store that will pair well with other dishes. Strawberry, raspberry and peach are popular flavors, but look for other, more exotic choices like kiwi, mango or pineapple.

* Reminisce with Root Beer Floats
Every generation enjoys a cold root beer float on a sunny day. It's a guilty pleasure that complements the flavors of barbecue, as well as classic picnic items. The secret to making a great root beer float is keeping the ice cream cold.

Start by choosing your favorite root beer soda. If you're serving to children, there are many options that are also caffeine free. Pour the liquid into a cup and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Add a straw and serve. For a new twist on the classic dessert, try different types of soda such as orange, strawberry or cola.

Coffee recipe courtesy Seattle Coffee

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