5 Refreshing Summer Desserts You Should Be Selling

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When summer rolls around, there’s nothing better than the perfect treat on a perfect sunny day. So give the people what they want — from fruity and refreshing to decadent and chocolatey, we have a list of crowd favorites. Get ready to sweeten up your summer sales with these tasty treats!

Mango Dessert

In the summer heat, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more refreshing snack than a mango. When it’s perfectly ripe, this fruit checks every box: sweet, flavorful, and oh-so-juicy.

Today, we’re looking at a simple but delicious mango pudding recipe. You can prepare it in just five minutes, and it’s the perfect choice to feed tons of people in short order.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large ripe mango
  • 6 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 tbsp thick cream
  • 3 passion fruits

Once you’ve got all of the ingredients together, the rest is breezy. Just peel and dice the mango, then whizz it to a purée in a food processor. Add six scoops of vanilla ice cream and two tablespoons of thick cream; whizz it again. All you have to do next is spoon the purée bowls and scoop half of a passion fruit over each. This dessert is best eaten chilled, so pop each bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

We love this recipe not only because it makes for a perfect seasonal dish, but also because it’s so dang simple. If you want something on the menu that can be prepped in a flash, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Vegan Desserts

We don’t have to tell you how popular the vegan diet has become (we’ve all seen the new options on grocery store shelves, after all), but did you know the pandemic boosted demand for vegan options even more? In 2020, the global demand for vegan food shot up almost 13% above the previous year, accelerating the adoption of meat and dairy alternatives. Companies responded by launching new vegan products to meet the demand of more health-conscious consumers. The market is expected to keep this momentum and grow from $26 billion in 2021 to $61 billion in 2028.

So what does that mean for your organization? It’s time to offer more vegan options, of course! Here’s one of our favorite vegan ice cream recipes for the summer season. The best part? It only needs three ingredients.

  • 1 can (14 oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • (Optional) toppings: sesame seeds, tart cherries, chocolate

Why coconut milk, though? Why not almond or another dairy-free option? If you go to the grocery store, you’ll surely see more and more coconut-based ice cream options, and we think we know why. The richness of coconut milk just outmatches any other alternative (if you can handle the slight coconut flavor, of course — coconut is a divisive ingredient in our friend group). If you haven’t given it a try, trust us on this one.

As for the tahini and maple syrup, the mild sesame flavor combined with the deep notes of sweetness from the syrup is the perfect complement to our coconut milk!

The day before you try the recipe, throw your ice cream maker base in the freezer. A cold base will help it freeze faster and give the ice cream a better texture.

On the day you’re ready to make the ice cream, whisk together the coconut milk, tahini, and maple syrup. Use a blender if necessary. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn it until it’s thick — it should be about 20 minutes. If you want it on the thicker side, freeze for one to two hours before serving. The ice cream will harden if it’s left in the fridge for 24 hours, so let it sit for 20 minutes at room temperature to soften it before serving.

Honey Cheesecake With Baklava Crust

Now this one is right up our alley — rich, creamy, and sweet. Traditional baklava is a scrumptious treat on its own, but if you want to give it a special twist, this is the perfect recipe. The phyllo dough crust complements the creamy texture for an experience guests won’t forget.

You probably know that making phyllo from scratch is a … delicate process, to say the least. We won’t blame you if you opt for a pre-packaged version, and that’s what we’ll be using in this recipe. The ingredient list is broken into three parts, so be sure to follow closely. Here’s everything you’ll need:

Baklava Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom (optional)
  • 16-ounce package phyllo dough, thawed (only half of the package, or 1 roll)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (melted)

Honey-Lemon Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (save the peel for zesting later)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Honey Cheesecake

  • 4, 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch

The instructions for this recipe are fairly long and specific, so make sure your kitchen has the capacity and time to integrate this specialty dish before diving in. Marta Rivera over at Sense & Edibility clarifies the process in loving detail, so give her page a visit if this flagship dessert strikes your fancy.

Key Lime Pie

Few desserts scream “summer” like the delectable key lime pie. Its light, tart, and sweet flavors are the perfect addition to any seasonal menu. The only problem? Key limes are tough to source. Luckily, this recipe uses the more common Persian lime as a substitute, and it’s every bit as delicious. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole graham crackers
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


  • Two 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice


  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 8 to 10 thin lime slices

Let’s start with the crust. Preheat your oven to 375 °F. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust listed above. Stir with a fork and then your hands until it’s well combined. Press the mixture into a deep-dish pie pan using a measuring cup and your fingers until the crust is about a quarter-inch thick. Bake it for 10 minutes or until it’s slightly browned, then let it cool on a wire rack.

Next up is the filling. Reduce the temperature to 350 °F and whisk the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and bake for 15 minutes until the filling is almost set. You’ll know it’s ready when it wobbles but doesn’t run. Let it cool for 30 minutes, then place it in the refrigerator for three hours.

Finally, the topping. Beat the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and keep beating until medium peaks form. Then, top the pie with the whipped cream. You can garnish with lime zest and slices for a beautiful presentation. Keep the pie refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich

The ice cream sandwich has held up as an American cultural staple for decades — and for good reason. It’s hard to go wrong with the combination of creamy ice cream and soft cookies. This gourmet recipe will bring back memories of summers gone by, but it also provides a unique homemade twist.

In the market, we’re seeing a new trend of doing fresh takes on classic desserts; if your restaurant can spark that bit of nostalgia, it’ll go a long way to boosting sales. The ice cream sandwich makes the perfect addition to a summer menu.

Keep in mind: if your business already sells cookies, you can easily repurpose them for this sweet treat. Combine some vegan cookies with our vegan ice cream above and you’ll have an exceptional offering that will only get more popular over the next few years. This recipe goes through the whole thing from scratch, though. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ice Cream

  • 2 cups milk, whole preferred
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or agave syrup*
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch*
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract
  • (Optional) 3 tablespoons rum, brandy, or vodka

Chocolate Cookie Bars

  • 1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa or King Arthur Triple Cocoa Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup milk, whole preferred

For this recipe, we’re highlighting Jennie Schacht, author of “I Scream Sandwich!” She does a wonderful job walking through the steps and includes some helpful baking tips, so hop over to this page if you want to add this treat to your menu.

Why Offer Summer Specials?

It should come as no surprise that seasonal menus bring in more revenue. Sure, there are festive reasons to include specials — like a pumpkin-flavored dish in October — but we think the most critical part of a summer or winter menu is the temperature. That’s why you should chill each of our choices for summer treats before serving.

A cold treat on a hot summer day refreshes the senses and cools off your patrons; intuitively, would you choose the hot fudge brownie in 90° weather? Unless you’re a brownie fanatic, the answer is almost certainly no. If you can source the ingredients and stay nimble enough to bring in a new menu in the summer season, you’ll be rewarded with higher dessert sales all summer long. The hotter your location’s summers are, the more important it is to cater to your guests.

If sourcing ingredients (or even wholly prepared desserts) is your concern, Steven Charles will work with your restaurant to deliver an unparalleled dining experience. We can help you grow your business and improve your operations. Our culinary innovators love designing incredibly delicious and memorable dessert menus. Take the first step toward dessert perfection and get in touch with us today.