Cut 1 inch off the end of a banana and insert a popsicle stick into the cut-end, pushing the stick about halfway in. Place on parchment lined sheet pan and freeze for an hour. Melt 32 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate and 4 Tbsp unsalted butter in a microwave-safe bowl, at 20-second intervals until smooth. Add 2 Tbsp warm heavy cream to thin. Arrange the dipping decorations on several flat plates: granola, chopped nuts, crushed cookies, or toasted coconut. Working with 1 banana at a time, dip it in the chocolate and turn to completely to coat, or use a spoon to coat. Roll the dipped banana in the desired decorations, transfer to the lined sheet pan, and return to the freezer for at least two hours. Enough coating for 8 medium bananas.
Summer Berry Cupsicles
Place one strawberry right-side-up in the bottom of eight 3-oz plastic cups. Stick a toothpick or thin craft stick in each berry so it is standing up straight. Carefully pour juice over the berry and freeze. Turn out of plastic cups and serve. For flavor options, try these puréed mixtures over berries in a cup: two cups of seedless watermelon in a blender; honeydew melon with mint; strawberry and basil.
Elegant & Easy Ice Cream Terrine
Overlap two (18-inch long) sheets of plastic wrap at their centers, forming a cross. Use the plastic wrap to line the long and short sides of a 9×5 loaf pan, letting the excess plastic wrap hang over the sides. Have 3 pints of your favorite ice cream, softened, on hand, along with 1 cup (4 to 6 pieces) of chopped biscotti cookie. Empty 1 pint ice cream into the loaf pan and smooth into a level layer using the back of a metal spoon. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the chopped biscotti and return to the freezer until firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and repeat with another pint of ice cream and layer of cookies. Return to freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat again with last pint of ice cream and cookies. Fold over the excess plastic wrap to enclose the terrine and return to the freezer until very firm, at least 1 hour. To serve, remove the terrine from the freezer and unmold onto a chilled platter, peeling away and discarding the plastic wrap. Cut into slices using a knife dipped into warm water and wiped clean after each slice. Serve with the remaining crushed cookies. For flavor options, change up the ice cream flavors, use berries, chopped chocolate covered espresso beans, or your favorite cookies as the filling. The possibilities are endless.
Combine 1 pint strawberries (halved lengthwise), 1 pint blueberries, and 1 pint blackberries in a mixing bowl and toss them together. Place one 6- to 8-oz jar of lemon curd in a medium bowl. Fold 2 cups of sweetened whipped cream into the lemon curd to make into a light mousse. Slice one prepared lemon or sour cream pound cake. Line a glass trifle bowl or glass cups with pieces of pound cake to fit. Drizzle or brush the cake with ¼ cup Limoncello or grand Marnier (optional), spoon a layer of the lemon curd over the cake, and then a layer of mixed berries. Repeat the layers until the ingredients are gone. Berries look best on top; chill before serving. Garnish with fresh mint.
Christine Wansleben, chef and owner of Mise En Place Cooking School, lives in the West End, where she enjoys cooking up a storm with her husband and their twins.