These are perfect for warm summer days. But hide them in the freezer so your family doesn't gobble them up before you're ready to serve them. With the exception of watermelon sorbet, no ice cream maker is needed. These recipes dress up store-bought dairy and pareve ice cream to become sensational, company-worthy treats. Best of all, they all need to be made ahead of time so one thing is off your list for preparing for company.

Ice Cream Bon Bons

Makes about 12

This ice cream treat has become my daughter Sarah’s signature dessert. They are adorable, easy to make and so refreshing for kids and adults on a warm, summer Shabbos. The key to success though is to temper the chocolate properly. Use good quality chocolate and melt it over a double boiler or using very low heat, until smooth, silky and shiny. Do not burn the chocolate.

  • 12 chocolate wafer cookies, (we use pareve oreo types, but you can use flat circle wafer cookies too)
  • 2 pints pareve ice cream or sorbet (I like coconut sorbet or soy creamy vanilla, try lots of great flavors) or dairy ice cream
  • 12 whole almonds (optional)
  • 26 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, canola oil, coconut oil or corn syrup

Set a wire rack over a baking pan. Arrange the wafers, top sides on rack, spaced evenly apart. Using a 2-inch ice-cream scoop, scoop a ball of ice cream or sorbet onto each wafer. Place an almond on top of each scoop of sorbet. Transfer pan to freezer for 20 minutes.

In a double boiler, or a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from heat. Let cool slightly.

Remove baking pan from freezer. Generously ladle melted chocolate over the bonbons, covering entirely. Return the baking pan to the freezer for 30 minutes or overnight.

Umami Ice Cream Bars

Photo by Food and Wine Magazine

Serves 14

This pareve or dairy ice cream dessert has been very popular at my cooking classes. Umami, or pleasing to all senses, is one of my favorite food trends. I love recipes that include ingredients that are sweet, savory, crunchy, salty, creamy, and of course gorgeous to look at. This one has a delicious rich crust that is sweet and salty, an ice cream layer and a wonderful ganache and sprinkle of salt on top. You can make them days ahead of time and whip them out right before serving, except they may not last that long, if anyone knows they are there waiting for the taking.

Makes 16 bars

  • 11 chocolate tea biscuits or Lotus cookies, broken
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (2 ounces), toasted
  • 2-1/2 ounces salted pretzels (about 7 rods)
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons margarine, cut into tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pints pareve vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream, or dairy ice cream, slightly softened
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pareve (non-dairy) whipping cream, or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or finishing salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang all around.

In a food processor, pulse the tea biscuits until fine crumbs form. Add walnuts and pretzels and pulse to coarsely chop. Be careful, you want to leave the pretzels and nuts in chopped form, not in a crumb. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over very low heat. Add brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle the egg and vanilla into the saucepan, whisking, until thickened, 2 minutes. Mix in the walnut mixture. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer and refrigerate the cookie base for 30 minutes. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool.

Spread 1-1/2 pints of the pareve ice cream over the cookie base and freeze for 2 hours. Reserve the remaining ice cream for another use.

For the ganache topping: In a small saucepan, combine chocolate, pareve whipping cream, corn syrup and the remaining 2 tablespoons margarine over very low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Pour the ganache over the ice cream and spread it evenly. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt or finishing salt. Freeze for 2 hours, until set.

Watermelon Sorbet

Serves 4

So refreshing and perfect for warm summer days. This is best made in an ice cream maker or a sorbet maker but can be shaved every 45 minutes while it is freezing (usually about 4 times) and served like shaved ice or granita. Feel free to add mini chocolate chips, lime juice or mint to this. They all pair so well together.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cups watermelon
  • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips, optional

In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, cook the sugar, water and lemon juice together, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.Remove from heat and chill.

Cut up the watermelon and remove all seeds. Puree with a hand blender or a food processor. Add the chilled syrup and blend.

Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. At end of cycle add in mini chocolate chips, if using.

Pack into an airtight container and store in the freezer.

Peanut Butter & M&M’s Ice Cream Sandwiches

Photo by cookies & company

Makes about 15

“I scream, you scream…” You’re never too old for ice cream! And somehow, nothing is more evocative of summer – although I did read once that New Englanders consume the most ice cream per capita! But whatever the season, whatever the age, everyone will love these homemade ice cream sandwiches. (Yes, I know you could buy them at the store but then it wouldn’t be an activity also! And they don’t taste as good…)

  • ¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ cups M&M’s Mini Baking Bits (you can use regular M&M’s if you like)
  • 2 quarts any flavor ice cream or pareve ice cream, slightly softened

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In an electric mixer, cream together butter or margarine, peanut butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking soda until well combined. Add 1 ¼ cups of the M&M’s and mix well. Shape dough into balls (about 1 ¼ nch) and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Gently flatten and press a few more M&M’s into each cookie. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

When cookies are cool, scoop about 1/3 cup ice cream on top of the flat side of one cookie. Press down with flat side of another cookie. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

Everyone loves a great kitchen hack. This semi homemade hack is one of my favorites. It’s easy, adorable and a major crowd pleaser! Plate it anyway you like. I love using a store-bought pie crust to serve it like a pie or an ice cream cone rack to place on the table.

Caramel Pecan Crumble Ice Cream Dessert AND LOTUS BUTTER CRUMBLE EXTRA RECIPE*

photo by Taste of Home

Serves 12 -14

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 ½ cups caramel sauce (or homemade, recipe below)
  • 2 quarts vanilla ice cream or pareve ice cream, softened

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans and brown sugar. Add butter; mix well. Spread in a thin layer in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Crumble while warm; cool.

Press half of crumb mixture into a 13x9-inch or slightly smaller dish. Drizzle with half of caramel sauce; spread with ice cream. Top with remaining caramel sauce and crumb mixture. Cover and freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Salted Caramel Sauce: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the pareve cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted margarine, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

Can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Rewarm before serving.

* This recipe can be made into a Lotus Cookie Crumble Ice Cream Dessert

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled Lotus cookies
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup Lotus butter
  • ¼ cup almond milk, soymilk, or non-dairy or dairy milk
  • 2 quarts vanilla ice cream or pareve ice cream, softened

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, Lotus cookie crumbs, pecans and brown sugar. Add butter; mix well. Spread in a thin layer in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Crumble while warm; cool.

Press half of crumb mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish.

In a small saucepan heat Lotus butter and almond milk over low heat until smooth. Drizzle of Lotus butter sauce over crumb mixture. Spread ice cream on top. Top with remaining Lotus butter sauce and gently swirl into ice cream. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Cover and freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Funfetti Ice Cream Cake

Serves 10-12

This semi-homemade ice cream cake is not just for kids. The confetti colors make a super festive ending to any meal, not just a birthday. Use this concept and swirl in any number of favorite toppings, like cookies or brownies, nuts, toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips or a combination!

  • 2 pints pareve vanilla ice cream or regular ice cream
  • 1 cup rainbow sprinkles or toppings or your choice
  • ½ cup crumbled oreo cookies or golden oreos (my favorite flavor)
  • 1 store-bought graham cracker or chocolate crust
  • Garnish: whipping cream and a little more sprinkles

Spoon ice cream into a large bowl and bring to room temperature or soft enough to mix but not liquidly. Once the ice cream is partially defrosted, fold the sprinkles (and any other topping) and golden oreos into the ice cream. They should be dispersed enough so that it is even throughout but not over mixed since the sprinkles will bleed. Gently spoon into pie crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle with sprinkles and freeze until ready to serve. Remove from freezer for about 15 minutes before serving.