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Sweet summer treats

By Jolene Lamb, culinary coordinator, Community Education, Lincoln Land Community College

When I think summer, there are a few sweet treats that come to mind. Sweet tea is one of my favorites. There’s nothing quite like relaxing on the porch of an evening, sipping a glass of sweet tea while a warm breeze blows through the trees. What could be better than that? Eating sorbet maybe; that’s a close second. On a hot summer day, sunning by the pool, enjoying icy tangy sorbet is pretty close to bliss, especially if the sorbet recipe includes vodka as an ingredient! Oh and then there are s’mores: another fantastic summertime treat! Who wouldn’t want to spend a cool summer night toasting marshmallows around the campfire? These are the ideal images that come to mind when I think of summer treats.

I know, most of really don’t live in that perfect, filtered Instagram world. We are bombarded by images of picturesque scenes in which all the people look blissfully happy in their ideal environment with perfect décor and exquisite foods. Most of us lead pretty busy lives with work, chores, multitasking and juggling schedules, especially moms with young children. Most days I sip sweet tea at my desk, in a Styrofoam cup, from the local gas station. And s’mores, yeah right, who has time for a campfire? But seriously, have you ever been camping with kids? It’s dirty, hot and messy. S’mores are messy, not to mention they are potential flaming weapons on glowing red hot spears. I’ve been camping with young ones; I know this from experience.

Thankfully I’ve found shortcuts for s’mores and other summertime treats. With a few little tips and minimal effort, it is possible to create exquisite looking treats that are Instagram worthy, no filters required. Hopefully these recipes will give you a little moment in that ideal summer scene.  Make time to relax this summer. Seriously, take an evening off, enjoy sitting on the porch, drink sweet tea, cool off with sorbet and eat a not-so-messy s’more. Relax and unwind. After all isn’t that what summertime treats are all about?

Sweet tea berry ice

Making sweet tea into ice cubes lends itself to many opportunities. As they melt, the tea doesn’t become watered down. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries can be added. As they melt, the berry flavor infuses with the tea. Also, the sweet tea ice can be used in lemonade for a fun twist on the classic Arnold Palmer!

Brew about 3 cups of your favorite tea, making it a little stronger than you normally like. In the meantime, use equal parts sugar and water, (I use 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water.) You can adjust depending on your desired level of sweetness. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Boil for one minute. This is called a simple syrup. Remove from heat, add berries to the hot syrup and allow to cool to room temp. Mix the simple syrup berry mixture with the brewed tea. Pour into ice cube molds and freeze. If you have different shaped molds, hearts for example, use them instead of traditional ice cube trays for a fun look. It’s that easy!

Flower shaped s'more pie pops

  • 2 Refrigerated 9" Pie Crusts
  • 1 Milk Chocolate Bar (or Dark Chocolate if you prefer)
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 12 Paper Sticks, 6 inch in length
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a flower shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes from pie crust. Set aside half of the pieces.
  3. Arrange half of the shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet, being sure to offset them to leave room for the sticks.
  4. Brush the beaten egg onto each of the shapes to cover completely.
  5. Gently press the stick into each of the shapes, pressing down and embedding it slightly.
  6. Add a square of chocolate, and some mini marshmallows. (2-3 work best depending on the size of the flower. Do not overfill)
  7. Take the pieces of cut out pie dough that had been set aside and place them on top of the chocolate and marshmallows.
  8. Gently press down the edges of each shape, then use a fork to press and completely seal the edges.
  9. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Larger shapes may need to bake longer.

Raspberry vodka sorbet

  • 24 ounces frozen red raspberries, or fresh if in season
  • 3/4 cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vodka (can use flavored)
  • 6 fresh lemons
  1. Halve lemons and scoop out insides.  From pulp, strain ¼ cup of juice, save rest for use at another time.  Set aside empty lemon halves to use as serving bowls.
  2. In a saucepan bring water to a boil and add frozen raspberries. Cook until mixture just reaches a boil then take off heat.
  3. Position a bowl under a mesh sieve and pour the hot raspberry mixture into it. With the back of a spoon or a spatula, press all the raspberries through the mesh till just the seeds remain. There should be no more liquid coming through.
  4. Thoroughly mix sugar into raspberry liquid in bowl until dissolved, then add vodka.
  5. Cover bowl and put in freezer, stirring occasionally. When frozen draw a knife through sorbet to break it up, then mash lightly with a fork. The vodka will help prevent it from becoming rock-solid.
  6. To serve, scoop into the lemon shells for a cute bowl.


Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management and Baking/Pastry, and non-credit cooking and food classes through LLCC Community Education.

Cooking or food questions? Email