Refreshing and creamy, this make-ahead pie from Susan Meier of Omaha combines tropical flavors with macadamia nuts and kiwifruit. It was one of the finalists at Midwest Living's® first Best of the Midwest cook-off.
Our chewy, saucer-size cookie is delicious by itself, but for a warm-weather treat, it makes generous ice cream sandwiches when filled with tiny scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
This refreshing make-ahead dish from a Witten, South Dakota, reader combines a chocolate graham cracker crust with chocolate chip mint ice cream and a homemade chocolate sauce. Try different combinations of ice cream and crust for your own dessert invention.
No one knows how fools (a centuries-old blend of whipped cream and fruit) got their playful name. Maybe it's because, with just 4 ingredients, you'd be foolish not to make one!
Choose-a-Fruit Fools 
This easy recipe makes a refreshing dessert-- perfect for a brunch or light dinner. It's also a good make-ahead recipe for entertaining; prepare the sour-cream sauce the day before your party, and then just layer the sauce and fruit in parfait glasses before serving.
Berries Romanoff 
This layered dessert combines cream cheese, powdered sugar and whipped dessert topping over vanilla ice cream in a graham cracker crust. When you're ready to serve the pie, spoon on cherry pie filling, and drizzle with fudge topping. The recipe is from Friske's Farm Market near Ellsworth, Michigan.
Hopkins, Minnesota, calls itself America's Raspberry Capital and hosts an annual Raspberry Festival -- including a cooking contest. One entry was this recipe for Raspberry Cheesecake Bars, which combines layers of cheesecake and raspberry filling in an almond crust.
Create simple summer-inspired cupcakes using fresh seasonal produce and icing. If you want to go that extra mile, grab some graham crackers, cookies, Fruit Roll-Ups and icing to fashion a unique beach scene.
Cream cheese brings body and richness to so-chocolatey mousse filling. More wow comes from the blend of marshmallow creme and creme de cacao draped over the top.
We created Ice Cream Cookie Cake in honor of Indiana, the top ice cream-producing state in the Midwest. You can mix and match cookies and ice cream to make this frosty, no-bake treat that's also an easy make-ahead dessert.
This make-ahead dessert is an ice cream/peanut butter/fudge delight created by a Waukesha, Wisconsin, reader, who likes to take it to potlucks. You can double the recipe to fill a 13x9pan and cut into squares to feed a crowd.
The family behind Illinois' Rendleman Orchards has amassed some great peach recipes in 135 years of growing peaches. This cake is no exception. Peach slices and brown sugar form a moist base for the tender, square cake -- and when flipped over, that base becomes the topping.
The coffee-chocolate blend in this drink is refreshingly cool, especially when topped with scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Jana Beykirch of Pittsburg, Kansas, doubles this recipe to make a summer punch. The amounts we give will make about 10 individual floats.
Mocha Floats 
Chocolate chips and cookie crumbs layer with chocolate and vanilla ice creams in this make-ahead dessert from Lynda Slowey of Dubuque, Iowa. Whipped topping is an easy last-minute frosting.
This creamy lemon pie is a signature dessert at Al's Oasis, a family restaurant along the east bank of the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota (135 miles east of Rapid City).
Mildly nutty meringue cradles fresh berries in this classic dessert named for a ballerina. Use your favorite nut to flavor the meringue. Our Test Kitchen recommends pistachios, almonds or pecans. Any fruit works: blueberries, kiwi, bananas.
You don't have to set aside hot cocoa comfort in the summer just because the temperature climbs. We mixed up a cocoa concentrate, then added ice, flavorings and whipped topping or ice cream to create a comfort cooler.
Iced Cocoa 
Several states claim to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. Since the Buckeye State makes a good case, we created the Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Sundae Cake as a tribute to Ohio. Four layers of baked white cake get sandwiched in ice cream layers in favorite sundae flavors: strawberry, pineapple and chocolate-banana. A whipped topping frosting crowns the cherry-topped dessert.
This elegant but simple dessert comes from Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mixing fresh berries with strawberry daiquiri mix is the secret to the flavorful sauce.
You can choose from three variations on this mixture that goes in a 1 1/2 quart ice cream freezer: vanilla cake, birthday cake or chocolate cake. They all use only a handful of ingredients. Our picture (left) shows the vanilla cake batter ice cream between chocolate wafers, topped with curls of white chocolate.
At the Marshall County Fair's annual Blueberry Bake-A-Rama in Plymouth, Indiana, Lori Van Der Weele took home the Grand Champion award with this recipe that combines blueberries, butter, white baking pieces and almonds.
This super-easy homemade ice cream topping doesn't harden quite as fast as that magical store-bought stuff, but it packs a lot more chocolate flavor. Plus, it's totally customizable with different flavors of chips! Store it in the pantry to zap in the microwave whenever you want to crack your spoon into something delicious.
This super-easy recipe comes from Ferrin's Fruit Winery in Carmel, Indiana. Ferrin's uses its award-winning Tropical Breeze wine for the pina colada-like summer shake, but we substituted a wine cooler for those who can't stop at the winery.
Caribbean Milk Shake 
Purchased pound cake and canned whipped cream help this dessert go together fast. Bake the dessert topping in the oven instead of on the rangetop so you don't have to tend it as it cooks.
Bananas a la Mexican 
This classic dessert goes together easily, but looks so impressive. Find the meringue powder in your supermarket's baking section or at stores carrying cake-decorating supplies.
This slushy ice tastes like a sweet snowball. Just freeze the ingredients together in a container. Then let it stand at room temperature 30 to 60 minutes before scraping off the icy mix.
Tropical Fruit Freeze 
Cooks in the Midwest's Red River Valley learned early to take advantage of rhubarb. The tangy, celerylike ingredient grows well in a region where strawberries seldom thrive. This recipe comes from RBJ's Restaurant in Crookston, Minnesota.
Rhubarb Bars