Chill Out: Stay cool through summer heat

Published on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 23:06 - Written by Christine Gardner food@tylerpaper.com

Cool beverages and desserts are some of the best ways to make summer’s hottest days somewhat bearable. From iced tea to lemonade, ice cream, milkshakes or a chilled down version of your morning coffee, everyone has a favorite ‘cold one’ to grab when the sweat starts to pour.

Freezer pops are simple to make and the flavor variations are endless. And with popular pop makers like Zoku, you can have a batch within 20 minutes.

Some of my favorite combinations include Dr. Pepper and chocolate ice cream, Greek yogurt and fruit juice, whole fruit with lemonade or pureed strawberries with vanilla ice cream and chocolate shavings.

The same goes with new ice cream makers that are available from many retailers. The ice cream churns in less than 20 minutes and just needs a little time in the freezer to harden.

I’ve made homemade ice cream more this summer than ever before. My go-to recipe is 2 cups cream, 1 cup whole milk, 2/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract. Warm the milk with the sugar on low until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and vanilla. Chill completely before adding to the ice cream maker. Churn, stir in any fruit that you would like to add and then place in the freezer until ready to serve.

For an iced coffee, simply combine milk, sugar, cold coffee and shake over ice. To keep your coffee from being watered down, fill an ice tray with some leftover coffee to have on hand for iced coffee.

Iced tea sometimes takes a while to brew and chill, but I’ve found I can make it and enjoy it more quickly if I only heat a cup or two of water and then add it to my pitcher with the tea bags to brew. After a few minutes a strong, dark brew is achieved and I add cold water to fill the rest of the pitcher. It’s the perfect balance of strength, and I don’t have to wait an hour for it to chill in the refrigerator or water it down with a lot of ice.

In just a few more weeks, fall will be here. Until then, stay cool with a cold beverage or frozen treat and before you know it our first cold front will be right around the corner.