Cool Desserts for Warm Weather
Keep the oven off and still enjoy something delicious!
A conundrum. It is too hot to cook, but you are craving a sweet treat. We have you covered. This issue is all about how to make delicious desserts without turning on the oven. Some recipes involve a little stovetop or microwave action— but not enough to heat up the house.
Let's start in the produce aisle with our wonderful selection of fresh berries, melons, and seasonal fruit. Honestly, most desserts taste that much better with the addition of fresh fruit.
And, check out our product recommendations to help you make the cool dessert of your dreams!
Sweetened Whipped Cream Topping provides a convenient way to make any dessert decadent. Plus, it is fun to decorate with!
Mascarpone is versatile, indulgent, and so easy to use. This exceptionally smooth, and easily spreadable fresh cream cheese has a milky flavor and is slightly sweet. It is best known as a key ingredient in tiramisu, it adds rich texture to savory dishes, and is delicious in desserts.
Straus Family Creamery
is a local icon and at the forefront of sustainable farming. You can’t find a sweeter bottle of fresh milk or cream, and their butter is to die for.
For the cake or crust
These little beauties will take you straight to assembling an amazing dessert without much effort.
Specialty Ladyfingers are little light and delicate sponge cakes whose long, narrow shape resembles fingers. Ladyfingers are the principal ingredient in a variety of recipes like tiramisu, trifles, and icebox cakes.
Taste of Denmark
Angel Food Cake is perfect for trifles, strawberry shortcakes, or even just toasted with ice cream. Taste of Denmark is a wonderful, local cooperative bakery located. Boasting of more than 80 years of collective bakery experience, they are experts in creating a wide variety of baked goods.
Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs come pre-crumbled for an easy-to-assemble graham cracker crust. They also make a delicious topping for ice cream!
crafts complex, sophisticated, and intensely flavored extracts. They add depth of flavor no others can match. We are carrying these extracts: Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Organic Fair-Trade Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Pure Chocolate, Pure Peppermint, Pure Almond, Pure Lemon, and Rose Water.
Kahlua Rum and Coffee Liqueur is fantastic in trifles and tiramisu—or any time you want that Kahlua flavor. Great over an ice cream sundae, to flavor mousse, affogato, or an icebox cake.
Knox Gelatine comes unflavored so that it works in all your recipes. Keep a few boxes in the cupboard so you are ready for spontaneously-arising treats!
Sweet Craft Dolceria is dessert in a jar. This Oceanside, CA team grew up together in Rome and now they craft authentic Italian treats. Try their Traditional Tiramisu or Dark Chocolate Mousse.
Petit Pot de Crème makes the sweet, velvety goodness of crème with the consistency of custard. They blend knowledge of age-old French pastry practice with modern California culinary flourishes to create this line of delicious organic deserts. We carry their Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Bean flavors.
started crafting original, unique, and always delicious gelato in 2002 in a little shop on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Their ingredients are almost exclusively grown or made in Northern California. And, they work directly with people who also craft their own products. Right now we are carrying these sorbetto flavors: Guittard Dark Chocolate, Strawberry, Tangelo, and Raspberry Chip.
News & Events
Take the family for some old-time fun—through July 31st.
Expect all the animals, exhibits, music, rides, and foods you’ve grown to love over the years, along with horse racing, petting zoos, Motorcross, and a vast indoor bazaar.
Come to the Fair and celebrate California’s agriculture, industry, and diverse population—while having a lot of fun.
After taking in a panoramic view of the grounds from the monorail explore the rides, contests, concerts, and family-friendly activities spread across the fairgrounds.
The 2022 California State Fair concert series begins on Friday, July 15th with Chaka Khan performing on the Toyota Concert stage. Other performers include Night Ranger, KC and the Sunshine Band, Clay Walker, The Guess Who, and Blanco Brown. Fairgoers can watch the concerts are included in the price of admission. Seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis.
A Staff Favorite
You can't find a sweeter and fresher bottle of heavy whipping cream. Straus Heavy Whipping Cream has 36% butterfat and is similar in flavor to the cream bottled by small dairies in Europe. You can taste the difference. It easily whips into soft, fluffy, and stable cream peaks. The taste is unparalleled—the result of our unique Northern California climate and the cows’ diet of sweet coastal grasses. It is preferred by discerning chefs around the Bay Area.
Straus Heavy Whipping Cream is organic, crafted with pure, simple ingredients, and minimally processed without additives.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Strawberries and Cream
I had an ice cream a-ha moment this past weekend. Here’s how it happened. On Saturday I went with some of my family to Brentwood to see if there were any blackberries available to pick. I was in the mood to make some jam. Alas, there were no berries to be found so we settled for picking some lovely nectarines and headed home. I made some awesome scones for breakfast the next morning.
Since I wasn’t able to get the berries for jam from the source, I ended up going to the farmers market and buying a flat each of blackberries and strawberries. After using what I needed for the jam, I found myself with some wicked-good strawberries left over. I didn’t want them to go to waste. Sure, we could have just eaten them but where is the fun in that?
I thought of making a strawberry tart—but that didn’t excite me. I really wanted to make something that would work well with the 4th of July BBQ dinner I had planned and figured what could be more BBQ-friendly than ice cream? So I set out to make some fresh strawberry ice cream.
The a-ha moment happened when I decided to not use a custard base for the ice cream. I have lived most of my life under the assumption that a custard ice cream base produces a better and creamier ice cream. And, it does. But, I have struggled when using it with fresh fruit. The fruit flavor tends to get lost in the richness of the custard. Because I was feeling lazy and tired after jamming, I didn’t want to have to fire the stove again, so I found this recipe for strawberry ice cream that was just milk, cream, and strawberries.
The results were out of this world. Now it is possible that the strawberries are the reason because ingredients matter but I think it had more to do with the fact that the eggs weren’t there to dull the strawberry flavor. And thanks to the heavy cream and whole milk, the creamy mouth feel that I thought would be missing wasn’t. My mind is blown. From now on, if I make ice cream with fresh fruit, I’m doing it this way!
I know not everybody has an ice cream maker in their pantry. You could take a chance and throw this in the freezer without churning and see what happens. Chances are it will taste pretty good.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
What’s in the (Ice) Box?
If you are looking for an easy Summer dessert that requires no heat and very little effort, look no further that the icebox cake. Its name may bring to mind Leave it To Beaver-type visions of the 1950s. But, in fact, its origins are even older than that. Icebox cakes are the original no-bake dessert!
When refrigeration arrived in the home during the 1920s, ice box cakes became very popular. Usually, they were made by layering cookies or graham crackers between layers of cream and fruit. Then they were then left to set in the ice box until ready to serve. Companies like Nabisco “conveniently” helped the rise in popularity by printing icebox cake recipes on the boxes of their Famous Chocolate Wafers and Nilla Wafers.
One of the best things about icebox cakes is that they are infinitely customizable (as long as you have cookies of some sort and cream). What you add to that is completely up to you. The most popular versions tend to go with chocolatey combinations like Oreo cookies and cream. Graham crackers can be used to make a s’mores version. And the banana cream version with Nilla Wafers is soooo good.
Personally, I am a fan of Amy’s Lemon Icebox Cake. And, for that, I go with Nilla Wafers, although you could also use shortbread cookies
to class it up a bit…whatever floats your boat.
On a hot day, the fresh taste of lemon can be just the thing to satisfy your sweet tooth without being too sweet. Just remember to plan for the time it takes to set. I like to use mascarpone because it’s lighter than a traditional cream cheese but you could use either.
A Cookbook Recommendation
by The Editors of Food 52
A fun collection of 60 recipes, riffs, toppings, and serving ideas for ice creams of all styles.
Ice cream is more fun with friends, but also with cones, sprinkles, candied nuts, hot honey—you get where we’re going. So the editors of Food52 brought together sixty well-tested recipes for frozen desserts of all styles and a billion (give or take a few) ideas for toppings and add-ons.
There are surprising flavors—think cinnamon roll ice cream, coffee frozen custard, and grilled watermelon cremolada. And, spins on enduring favorites, such as spiced fudgesicles, cherry-mint snow cones, and even a chocolate-hazelnut baked Alaska. There are Saltine and waffle sandwiches, boozy floats, and something called “spoom.”
There are tricks for making ice cream without a maker and spiffing up the store-bought stuff, and Hail Marys for when things go wrong (like when—whoops!—all the ice cream melts). But don’t be nervous: even if you’ve never made ice cream before, you’re in good hands with this no-fuss, all-fun book. Consider it your permission to play (and eat a ton of really good ice cream).
Ice cream is my life and Food52 really knows their frozen stuff. This book isn’t cutesy and it’s not snore-inducing science-y either. Recipes that actually work, imagine that. I’m a fan.
— Brooks Headley, chef/owner of Superiority Burger and author of Fancy Desserts
A Staff Favorite
Memories of childhood.
Sara Lee Pound
Cake is one of our guilty pleasures. From a culinary standpoint, it has great flavor and texture. Sarah Lee is something that we grew up with. And, because it is sold everywhere, it is easy to overlook. We maintain it is worth revisiting—it really does have classic, buttery pound cake flavor. And, because it is sold in the freezer section, it is always fresh.
Sara Lee Pound Cake works because you can keep it in the freezer for an impromptu dessert. It slices well when frozen. (Maybe let it sit out for five minutes first.) And, you can put what you don't use back in the freezer where it will be just as fresh as the last slice. It makes an excellent last-minute dessert when company shows up.
You can make a summer dessert using Sara Lee Pound Cake without needing to turn on the oven. We love it in Trifles
, for dessert fondue
, as the shortcake under strawberries and whipped cream, and toasted and topped with ice cream and toppings or fruit and mascarpone. You can also make an ice cream sundae with a slice of pound cake at the bottom. Yum!
So slice up some nostalgic yumminess, and enjoy!
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
It Mousse Be Love
When I was a kid, I would order chocolate mousse whenever it was an option on the dinner menu. I thought it was the height of sophistication until my eight-year-old eyes were opened to the wonder that is a well-caramelized crème brûlée.
Strangely, chocolate mousse is not a dessert option you see all that often anymore, at least not as a standalone. It is out there in the wild. But, you have to look for it. Sure, there are chocolate mousse cakes—but a single dish of chocolate mousse? Not really. And a Pot de Crème is not the same thing.
Perhaps it is time chocolate mousse made a comeback?
The hot summer months are a great time to give Classic Chocolate Mousse a try because all that is needed is a microwave and a hand mixer. No hot oven (or even stoves) is required. What is required is good quality chocolate. Not the stuff you eat in the afternoon that I like to refer to as rescue chocolate. Good quality baking chocolate like Guittard or Valhrona is key.
While I do like my chocolate mousse straight up, I will from time to time add flavor, like a little espresso or something boozy. Just be careful not to add too much or your chocolate will seize and become grainy and/or greasy.
Real legit chocolate mousse is rich and decadent. Real chocolate mousse is not melted chocolate combined with whipped cream. If you make it the right way, Classic Chocolate Mousse contains butter and eggs which give the mousse its silky fluffiness.
Don’t be afraid of the fact that the eggs are not cooked. It’s not too different than the runny yolks of a fried egg. If you are concerned, just make sure that the eggs you use are pasteurized and you should be just fine.
A Staff Favorite
Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips is a classic 46% semisweet chip that delivers hints of vanilla in a smooth base. They are perfect for baking, melting, and candy-making.
With their rich, creamy mouthfeel, genuine chocolate flavor, and smooth texture, we use Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips whenever our recipes call for chocolate—it takes your baking to new heights.
Guittard Chips are all-natural, made with real vanilla, non-GMO, peanut-free, tree nut-free, and gluten-free.
We have but one warning…whenever you are purchasing them, get at least double what your recipe calls for. We find it almost impossible not to sample away this ingredient…delicious!
From the gold rush to the great quake; from a little factory on Sansome Street in San Francisco to their Burlingame facility Guittard has been making chocolate locally…since the 1860s! Their tremendously high standards include a commitment to sustainability, fair trade, and working directly with small farmers.
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
Our recipe for the Cranberry Grapefruit Frosé is a frozen cocktail that features rosé wine. And, it's fantastic on a hot day. There are limitless variations on this fun cocktail that is quick to prepare.
The cranberry vodka pairs perfectly with grapefruit and the two give this frosé a delicious fruity flavor. It is easy to adjust the tartness and sweetness to suit your taste by adding or subtracting fruit juice and simple syrup.
If you want to make more than one cocktail at the same time, simply multiply the ingredients by the number of cocktails.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Cocktail On A Stick
I am not a big popsicle fan. I mean, I like them. I will eat them. But, I won’t seek them out the way the rest of my family does. However, there are some days in the summer when a popsicle hits just right. And, sometimes those popsicles are more than what they seem.
I like my drinks cold—arctic cold. Water, coffee, sodas, no matter what it is, if I am drinking it, there is a lot of ice. So, it makes sense that when I came across the cocktail popsicle
, it was love at first sight.
The downside is that they don’t pack the same punch as a regular cocktail—mainly because you have to dial the booze back a bit to get them to freeze. Bonus, you can enjoy more than one without getting too sloppy!
There are a number of good possibilities out there. I like this recipe for Blueberry Mojito Popsicles ‘cause it’s pretty. But, an easy vodka lemonade is always a good idea. Play around with it a bit. A good rule of thumb is a 1:5 ratio of alcohol to juice, puree, or whatever mixture you’re using.
A Staff Favorite
If you are looking for a non-dairy frozen dessert, Mr. Dewie's Chocolate Orange Chip is exceptional. The texture and consistency are smooth and the flavors are well-balanced, delicious, and never overly sweet. This might be the best vegan ice cream we have tasted—and it's not just for vegans!
Chocolate Orange Chip is made with organic ingredients: evaporated cane juice, cocoa powder, vegan chocolate, vanilla extract, chocolate extract, coffee, pure orange oil, and kosher salt.
About Mr. Dewie's Cashew Creamery
Brothers Ari and Andrew Cohen, born and raised in Berkeley, created and co-founded the creamery in 2011. Their mission is to make a creamy, rich, and delicious ice cream that is also free of dairy, gluten, and soy. They keep it local with three ice cream shop locations in Oakland, Emeryville, and Albany.
Mr. Dewie's uses only natural, organic, and healthy ingredients. No fillers, additives, preservatives, gums, or oils. And, all of Mr. Dewie's flavors are made with their cashew milk base which is made simply of organic cashews and filtered water. And the flavor is subtle enough not to mask the other ingredients.
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
One of the easiest cocktails to prepare is also one of the most charming.
Our recipe for Popsipples couldn't be simpler. It is basically a glass of Prosecco with a fruit pop inserted upside-down. The popsicle stick becomes a stir stick. And, as the fruit pop melts, the flavor intensifies for a delightful journey of the tastebuds.
Of course, you can make your own popsicles. (And, who knows? You might be the type of person to make your own Prosecco!) But, here we are going with the ease of a bottle of Prosecco and a tasty, store-bought fruit pop. We recommend three brands that we carry: Outshine Fruit Bars, GoodPop, or Chloe's. And, between those three you have your choice of an extensive array of fruit flavors as well as different-sized popsicles to fit in different-sized glasses.
And, of course, you can also make a non-alcoholic version—for those abstaining and the littles—by replacing the Prosecco with a flavored sparkling water.
Other Frozen Desserts
If you feel like going on an ice cream adventure, here is a way to have one in your own kitchen.
Desserts you construct
is basically vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso poured over it. It’s absolutely simple and incredibly tasty.
reminds us of a family vacation to Maui and the Hula Pie they serve at Duke's.
Valentine Ice Cream Cake
It doesn't need to be a holiday to make this easy-to-assemble dessert. You can mix and match flavors.
Ice Cream Sundaes
This is a legit sundae with all the toppings and flavors. So much room to improvise and personalize!
Fresh Strawberry Chia Jam
Although this is not a dessert, it makes a fantastic topping for so many. It couldn't be easier to prepare!
Classic Chocolate Pudding
is easy to make with ingredients you have on hand (that is if you haven't finished the bag of chocolate chips). And, the hardest part is waiting for it to cool.
is wonderful with breakfast. So, start this recipe the afternoon or evening before. It sits overnight in the fridge so the flavors can steep and deepen.
Chocolate Malted Milkshake
This recipe is a throwback to a simpler time with memories of childhood visits to our local creamery, Fenton's.
Apple Cider Caramels
The secret ingredient is Boiled Cider, which is apple cider that has been reduced to a concentrated syrup.
Dark Chocolate Toffee
This toffee is a lot like a Heath Bar—both tasty candy and delicious crumbled over ice cream and other desserts.
Chocolate Ganache Truffles
These truffles are so easy to make and you can choose to flavor them or not. (Adding a little espresso or Chambord liqueur can be a tasty thing).
Bacon Peanut Truffles
Making these Bacon Peanut Truffles is a no-brainer, and so worth it as they are also pretty easy
Vendor of the Month
Tin Pot Creamery crafts both decadent and sophisticated frozen desserts with a twist on traditional flavors. They handcraft small batched of ice cream,
sorbets, and the baked goods they use to make their flavors.
Tin Pot Creamery takes us back to the basics of homemade desserts—with a modern spin. They use the very best ingredients to handcraft the most delicious recipes possible.
About Tin Pot Creamery
Tin Pot Creamery started in Becky’s home kitchen in the South Bay. Becky obsessively tinkered to perfect all the recipes and handcrafted each flavor one quart at a time. She got dry ice from a local grocery store to keep the ice cream frozen, and hand-delivered it to people in the Bay Area. They now have scoop shops in five locations.
The name Tin Pot Creamery comes from one of the first ice cream recipes to appear in an English cookbook published in 1733. The recipe says to fill six “tin ice-pots” with cream and freeze using ice and salt. We like the idea of the tin pot representing something homemade.
We are currently carrying these flavors
Cookie Monster brings "Cookies and Cream" and "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough" together into one blissful scoop. It's full of cookie dough pieces and chocolate cookie crumbles, which are both handcrafted by Tin Pot Creamery. These goodies are layered throughout ice cream made with grass-fed dairy and pure vanilla.
Malted Milkshake is a little sweet and a little savory. This flavor is like an old-fashioned malted milkshake. Made with grass-fed dairy, lots of pure vanilla, and dark chocolate sprinkles.
Salted Butterscotch has just the right amount of sea salt and pure vanilla to make it irresistible. Handcrafted brown sugar caramel and grass-fed, California dairy make this ice cream incredible. This recipe has gone through the most iterations to perfect and is one of the best-selling flavors they make.
Strawberry Lemonade is a dairy-free vegan sorbet. It's full of red, ripe strawberries and zippy lemons. It has a tart, light, and refreshing flavor-just like a frosty glass of strawberry lemonade!
Vanilla Bean is a delectable, full-flavored vanilla ice cream that is anything but ordinary. Made with grass-fed, California dairy and two kinds of real vanilla.
Monday through Saturday from
9 AM to 8 PM & Sunday from
9 AM to 7 PM.
4038 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611
Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.