Desserts for the dog days of summer

Make these desserts to enhance the transition to cooler weather.

A sweet treat: These no bake peanut butter squares are a tasty summer dessert.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

The “dog days” or “dog days of summer” refer to those hot, sultry days that are considered the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Historically, these days were the time following the annual rising of the “Dog Star” Sirius, the brightest star in the Earth’s night sky, which Greek and Romans associated with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs and bad luck. (Hmmm….sounds a little bit like this summer in Philadelphia).

There’s a lot of cooking taking place, judging from the recipes sent into the NE Times food column. The following recipe submissions were not randomly drawn in the ongoing gift-card contest. However, so many of the submitted recipes really are winners, culinarily speaking, and I plan to share more of them with you in future columns. If you entered a recipe, it could be published, so please check back in the months ahead.

Here are some of several good dessert recipes submitted by readers that won’t keep you leashed to the oven during these “dog days.”


1 small box of instant pistachio pudding

1 can crushed pineapple with juice

1 can fruit cocktail, drained

1 8-oz. container of cool whip (thawed)

1 cup mini marshmallows

Mix dry pudding with fruit. Fold in cool whip and marshmallows.

Cover and chill until set.

The following recipe is made by Domenic Chally and his grandmother. You can “add chocolate, butterscotch or peanut butter chips. The great thing about the recipe is you can make it different every time.”


Makes 16 squares

1 cup smooth peanut butter

¼ cup butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup corn syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla

Pinch of salt

2 cups corn flakes cereal

1 cup crispy rice cereal

In a saucepan, over low heat, stir together peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and corn syrup until blended and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

In a large bowl, mix together cereals. Add peanut butter mixture. Mix well.

Press into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan. (Any size pan will work. Your square will be thinner when using a larger pan.)

Chill for 6 hours or until firm. Cut into squares.


8 whole low-fat honey Graham crackers, crushed (1½ cups)

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat margarine, melted

1 pint vanilla sugar-free ice cream, softened

1 pint orange sherbet, softened

10 Tbsp. thawed sugar-free whipped topping

10 Mandarin orange slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and margarine in medium bowl.

Press crumb mixture onto bottom of pan and ½ inch up sides of pan.

Bake 8–10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Spread ice cream in cooled crust. Freeze 30 minutes or until firm to touch.

Spread orange sherbet over ice cream. Freeze at least 1 hour until firm.

To serve, run knife around edge of pan. Remove side of pan.

Top each slice with 1 Tbsp. whipped topping and 1 orange slice.


1 small can apricots

1 cup apricot nectar

1 3-oz. package of apricot or lemon-flavored gelatin

1 cup whipped topping

Drain apricots and reserve the syrup.

Combine one-half cup of apricot syrup and one-half cup of apricot nectar in a pot. Bring to a boil.

In a bowl, put the gelatin. Add the boiled apricot syrup and nectar, and stir until dissolved. Stir in the remaining apricot nectar.

Chill until mixture is the consistency of honey.

Remove from refrigerator and beat until foamy.

Fold in whipped topping, and turn into a lightly oiled one-quart mold.

Chill until firm (3 hours). Unmold and decorate with apricots.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

Send in your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 ShopRite gift card. Mail your recipe to Readers’ Recipes, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your recipe to Please include name, address and telephone number.