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If it is too hot to bake in the kitchen, then fire up the grill
Cook your desserts outside for a unique taste
0531DESSERTS 1
With a good grill, you can get a nice brown top on your peach cobbler biscuits.

It’s dinnertime in the heat of the summer. The last thing you want to do is turn on the oven.

But if you’re not in an ice cream mood, how else are you going to prepare a dessert that will impress your guests without heating up the house?

Make it on the grill.

Creative cooks have come up with all kinds of ways to prepare sweet treats outdoors, and their ideas expand beyond the predictable (but always-appreciated) s’more.

You’d be amazed how good fruit tastes when the flames caramelize the natural sugars inside them. Peaches, pineapple and watermelon are particularly complemented by flames.

You’d also be amazed how effective a good grill can be at baking things, including biscuits on top of peach cobbler.

Following are a few simple and quick recipes for grilled desserts that will surprise your guests and keep you from sweating in the kitchen.

GRILLED PEACH COBBLER

For the cobbler:

* 7 cups 1/2-inch fresh peach slices or 2 (20-ounce) bags frozen sliced peaches, thawed and drained

* 3/4 cup granulated sugar

* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

* 2 tablespoons butter

Heat one side of grill to medium-high (350 to 400 degrees).

Place peaches in a large bowl.

Stir together sugar and next four ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over peaches and stir gently to combine.

Spoon peach mixture into a buttered 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces over peaches. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil.

Place skillet over lit side of grill. Grill, covered, until bubbling and hot, about 15 minutes.

For biscuit topping:

* 1 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/4 cup granulated sugar

* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

* 1/2 cup heavy cream

* 1/4 cup butter, melted

Stir flour and next two ingredients in small bowl. Make a well in center and add cream and melted butter. Stir just until mixture comes together.

Uncover grill and discard foil; dollop peaches with dough mixture.

Cover with grill lid and grill until biscuits are browned, about 15 minutes more.

Remove skillet from grill and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Southern Living

GRILLED DOUGHNUTS WITH MINT JULEP AND STRAWBERRY BASIL DIP

The flames from the grill remelt the glaze on the doughnuts, which then cools and leaves behind a nice crunch. And both of these dips are just as good as fruit dips.

*8 glazed doughnuts

*Nonstick cooking spray

*1 recipe mint julep dip

*1 recipe strawberry basil dip

Mint julep dip:

*6 tablespoons sugar

*1 tablespoon packed fresh mint leaves

*6 ounces cream cheese, softened (3/4 cup)

*1/4 cup milk

*2 tablespoons bourbon

Strawberry basil dip:

* 6 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled (about 1 1/4 cups)

* 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/4 cup)

* 3 tablespoons honey

* 1 tablespoon packed fresh basil leaves

* Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium-low.

Coat doughnuts with cooking spray. Grill doughnuts, covered, until lightly browned, 30 seconds to one minute per side. Watch closely to avoid burning.

Serve grilled doughnuts with mint julep dip and strawberry basil dip.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

GRILLED WATERMELON WITH YOGURT

The only sweetness in this recipe comes from the watermelon, but the savory yogurt sauce plays off of it beautifully.

* 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt or homemade Greek yogurt

* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

* 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

* 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

* 12 3-inch-long triangles of seedless red watermelon, about 1 inch thick

* 1/4 cup small mint leaves

Light a grill.

In a bowl, combine the yogurt with the lemon juice, vinegar, thyme and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the watermelon triangles with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill over high heat until nicely charred, about one minute per side; transfer to plates.

Top the watermelon with the yogurt sauce and season with black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with the mint and serve.

Source: Michael Psilakis of Food & Wine

GRILLED POUND CAKE WITH PEACHES AND WHISKEY CARAMEL SAUCE

For the caramel sauce:

* 1/3 cup whiskey

* 1 1/3 cups sugar

* 1/2 cup water

* 1 teaspoon corn syrup

* 1 3/4 cups heavy cream

* 6 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pour the whiskey into a small saute pan, and place the pan over medium-high heat. Gently and carefully tilt the pan over the flame to flambe the alcohol (the alcohol will catch fire). Immediately remove from heat and let the flame continue to burn; the flame will self-extinguish when the alcohol is burned out of the whiskey. Set the whiskey aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup, stirring until the sugar has the consistency of wet sand. Place the saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and begins to boil. Do not stir the sugar, as this may cause it to seize.

While the sugar is cooking, combine the cream, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the sugar while you’re heating the cream to keep it from scorching. Cook until the butter melts, stirring it into the cream. When the mixture has come to a simmer, remove from heat.

Continue to cook the sugar until it darkens to a rich caramel color, 7 to 10 minutes — the sugar will darken quickly and noticeably and will smell faintly nutty. Swirl the pan as the sugar darkens to judge the true color of the caramel (the sugar may darken in patches if there are hot spots on the stove). Watch carefully, as the sugar can easily overcook at this point and burn.

As soon as the color is a rich caramel, remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. The sugar will bubble and steam as the cream is added; be careful as both the mixture and steam are very hot. Carefully stir in the whiskey and vanilla.

Stir the caramel until it stops bubbling, then remove to a heat-proof container until needed. This makes about 2 1/2 cups sauce.

For the pound cake and peaches and topping:

* 1 pound cake, cut into thick slices

* Spray oil

* 4 to 6 ripe peaches

* 1 pint butter pecan or vanilla ice cream

* Whiskey caramel sauce

Heat a grill over medium heat until hot. Spray the pound cake slices on both sides with spray oil. Grill the slices on both sides until the slices are warm and toasted with defined grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.

Halve the peaches, discarding the pits. Spray the cut halves with spray oil. Grill the cut sides until lightly softened with defined grill marks, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, place a toasted slice of pound cake on each plate, and top with 1 to 2 peach halves and a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle over the whiskey caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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