Hot, hotter, hottest are the best ways to sum up the weather in recent weeks.
On days like that, your best bet is to be armed with an icebox filled with treats to cool your family down.
Few treats say — or perhaps scream — summer quite the way ice cream does. Although a big bowl of the creamy stuff is delightful, sometimes you want a little more pizazz.
Think homemade ice cream sandwiches. This recipe features freshly baked cookies, which can be made in advance, that are filled with a blend of store-bought sherbert, sorbet and ice cream.
Although the prescribed orange sherbert or raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream blend create a delightful creamsicle effect, you could use any flavors your family prefers. To jazz it up even more, roll the edges of the exposed ice cream in a variety of toppings. Try chopped nuts, shaved chocolate, candy sprinkles or toasted coconut.
For chef Elizabeth Karmel, summer is the best time for enjoying a margarita — frozen, not stirred.
"I know people drink them all year long but to me, a well-made margarita is a hot weather cocktail," said Karmel, who is the author of three cookbooks, including "Soaked, Slathered and Seasoned."
"Summer also is the only time of year I think a frozen margarita takes the lead in the great shaken vs. frozen debate. The frozen margarita has taken repeated hits from professional bartenders and cocktail connoisseurs, but I don’t understand why. I consider the frozen versions to live in their own separate — and fun — category. We have all kinds of grades of beer, wine, steaks, etc. Why not different margaritas for different occasions?"
Karmel used the adult beverage as the basis for a "poptail," which is a Popsicle version of a cocktail.
"My recipe is simple. I use freshly squeezed juice — a blend of tart lime and sweet orange — and sweeten it with powdered sugar," Karmel said. "The powdery texture ensures the sugar dissolves, thereby eliminating the need to make simple syrup (the more common sweetener for cocktails). Start with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and add more depending on how sweet or tart you like your drink.
"I also add a bit of salt to echo the salted rim of the cocktail glass and to balance the sweetness. I like to use orange triple sec and a top-shelf aged tequila to round out the flavor."
Because alcohol takes longer to freeze than plain juice, Karmel suggests making these poptails at least one day in advance.
You can also omit the alcohol if you prefer.
"I sometimes top the pops off with a slice of lime that freezes at the base, just for the look of it," Karmel said. "You can embellish or not, depending on your level of craftiness."
Associated Press contributed to this article.