Marked by family gatherings, backyard barbecues, and farmers’ market stands overflowing with the season’s harvest, summer truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year to bake. Our latest cookbook, Bake from Scratch: Volume Three, is loaded with recipes that make use of all the summer fruit you can think of, but also fit any occasion this summer brings. Our editor-in-chief, Brian Hart Hoffman, shares his top 8 summer recipes from the book that keep his oven on preheat.
I love an upside-down cake, especially in the summer when you have all this gorgeous fruit to bake with and you just want to show it off. Being from the South, I have a love affair with peaches and our Peach Upside-Down Cake is my favorite way to use them. The caramelization heightens the flavor of the peaches, and that glistening top creates that ‘wow’ factor when you bring it to the table. It’s an effortless and visually stunning dessert that’s perfect for brunch or casual dinner parties. And trust me, it’s even better served with a dollop of crème fraîche on each slice.
Shiran Dickman developed these Strawberry Ricotta Muffins that are my go-to for a quintessential summer breakfast. It’s an easy but delicious recipe that I always have on hand when my niece and nephew come to visit. It’s one of their favorites!
Concord grape and Peanut Butter Crumb Bars
This recipe by Laura Kasavan, of the blog Tutti Dolci, is an obsession for me. Filled with peanut butter and homemade Concord grape jelly, it’s like a grown up PB+J sandwich. Concord grape season is nearly upon us, and this recipe is the best way to take advantage of this fleeting but highly anticipated growing season. Laura has many more recipes for Concord grapes in the cookbook, so be sure to pick it up before the grapes come and go!
My signature summer cocktail is vodka soda with a splash of Campari, so naturally these cookies by Marian Cooper Cairns are favorite summer cookies. I can’t imagine anything better than the tartness of the Campari with sweetness of strawberries and cookie dough. Basically, if you love a Negroni, this is the cookie for you.
To me, this recipe is like a more sophisticated take on banana bread. The roasted bananas paired with the spiced rum in the batter makes me feel like I’m on a tropical getaway to some breezy island, and the vanilla cream cheese frosting is so good I scoop extra onto each slice.
Roasted Tomato and Marinated Mozzarella-Stuffed Doughnuts
I eat cherry tomatoes in every possible way all summer long, so these genius doughnuts by Erin Jeanne McDowell are on high rotation in my kitchen. The way the cheese, tomatoes, and herbs bake together inside that crispy, doughy crust is addictive. If you want to take your cocktail hour to the next level, pour a cold glass of Chablis and have these ready to enjoy on the patio. You can find this recipe along with more of Erin’s brilliant savory recipes in the cookbook!
This is the recipe I bake on repeat all season long. You could say these are an obsession for me. Because they’re packed with black cocoa, these brownies are reminiscent of Oreo cookies, giving them a rich chocolate flavor that’s just bitter enough but not overpowering. With that amazing crackly top and gooey texture, they’re next level delicious.
These berry bars by Marian Cooper Cairns are by far my favorite recipe to take to a summer picnic or family gathering. They’re easy to transport and you can cut them into any size to fit the occasion, whether you’re feeding a crowd and need small pieces or you’re baking for a small group looking to indulge. Plus, they’re so beautiful filled with all of summer’s fresh berries.