5 Cool Summer Treat Recipes
South Alabamians know a thing or two about summer heat, but we also know how to cool off in style. These local moms and dads share their sweetest recipes to chill out the kiddos.
ABOVE Lauren Kapeluck and her children, 2-year-old Lily and 6-year-old Sam, munch on dessert. Meanwhile, 6-year-old Cora scoops ice cream onto ellenJAY cookies with mom Jennifer Conrad.
Photos by Elizabeth Gelineau
The Sweet Life
When your company slogan is “Nothin’s gooder than sugar,” you know a special treat is never far away. Lauren Kapeluck and Jennifer Conrad launched ellenJAY, a boutique bakery in Midtown, just 4 years ago, and it has already transformed the way local moms celebrate every occasion. Lauren and Jennifer bonded while in the trenches of life with newborn babies and found they shared a mutual love for stylish events and decadent treats. The business was the next to be born, and the pair has never looked back. When Lauren’s son, Sam, uttered those adorable words about his love for sugar, the slogan became a hit. The bakery makes everything from perfectly decorated sugar cookies to cake balls, whoopie pies and towering cakes. But the ice cream sammies — Cammie’s Old Dutch ice cream sandwiched between two ellenJAY cookies — are a summertime favorite. They are even popping up on restaurant menus around town!
When not at the office, Lauren can still be found in her home kitchen whipping up yummy treats with 6-year-old Sam and 2-year-old Lily. “These two are pastry chefs in the making!” she laughs, and they certainly come by it honestly. Meanwhile, Jennifer’s daughter, 6-year-old Cora, loves dreaming up elaborate dessert tables for her birthday every year. It’s a world full of sprinkles, rainbow frostings and chocolate chips that would make even Willy Wonka a tiny bit jealous. At ellenJAY, mom life and bakery life are oh so sweet!
Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sammies
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rainbow jimmies, divided
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/2 gallon Cammie’s Old Dutch birthday cake ice cream
1. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract, and beat until well- combined.
2. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture on low speed until well-combined. Mix in the jimmies and chocolate chips. Chill dough for 1 - 2 hours or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop or large spoon to place round balls of dough on cookie sheet spaced 1 - 2 inches apart. Gently flatten the dough balls with your hand. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
5. Let cookies cool and freeze in an airtight container until firm, about 1 - 2 hours.
6. Use ice cream scoop to dip a ball of Cammie’s birthday cake ice cream onto one cookie. Grab a second cookie and place on top of scooped ice cream to create a sammie. Roll sammies in rainbow jimmies or mini chocolate chips to garnish (optional).
7. Continue with remaining cookies and enjoy immediately or freeze until firm. Makes 9.
You might not think of cocktail bars and the family life as going hand in hand, but Kyle Kinder, curator of Tongue & Groove Drinkery in downtown Fairhope, manages both with aplomb. He says it’s about nurturing your family as well as your clientele with love and attention to detail. Each week, Kinder cooks dinner for family and friends, which he calls “family fellowship time.” He also uses downtime for regular “bro-downs” with son Lochlan, age 4. The father-son activities include driving go-carts, jumping at trampoline parks and swimming. His wife Heather, Lochlan and baby No. 2 (arriving soon!) are at the top of Kinder’s list of blessings.
His intimate, upscale watering hole focuses on curated cocktails with fresh, local ingredients and creative techniques. You can be sure to find unheard of (in these parts, anyway) elements such as coriander, fresh honeydew juice, Aztec chocolate bitters, strawberry juniper compote and even dried habanero foam! But nothing is quite as popular as Tongue & Groove’s boozy sodas. Kinder crafts creative soda flavors, carbonates them and adds the strong stuff before bottling. Each week is different, and a recent offering featured fresh pineapple juice, mango juice, Chilton County peaches, fresh sage and Tito’s vodka, bottled and bubbly! Emphasis on the fresh.
House-Made Root Beer Floats
Tongue & Groove Drinkery is a craft cocktail bar in Fairhope that prides itself on creative, scratch ingredients. For you grown-ups, Kinder says you can add 2 - 3 ounces of aged light or spiced rum to each bottle of root beer before carbonating to recreate their popular boozy sodas.
1/4 cup natural sassafras root extract
1 cup fresh mint (plus more for garnish)
2 tablespoons natural sarsaparilla extract
1 tablespoon natural anise extract
2 - 3 vanilla beans, split and scraped
3 tablespoons fresh ginger
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon rainbow peppercorns
1 - 2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup unrefined cane sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
Cammie’s Old Dutch Mexican vanilla ice cream
1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts of water to a boil and stir in all ingredients except sugar and ice cream. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove spices. Add sugar to hot liquid and stir with a whisk until dissolved. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Use a sparkling water maker to carbonate the root beer and store in a glass bottle with a rubber, lockable stopper. Refrigerate the soda for at least a day (preferably three) before opening to allow the flavors to develop. Kinder says, “The longer it sits, the better it gets!”
3. Place two large scoops of ice cream into a beer stein or other tall glass. Top with root beer, garnish with mint sprig and enjoy! Makes 2.
The Fruit of Our Labor
Liz Garza never thought she would one day be a health food guru for Mobilians looking to change their lifestyles, but FOY Superfoods in downtown Mobile has established her and husband John as the area’s go-to source for the paleo diet. Way back when, before the couple ran their commercial kitchen, they were blown away at how adopting a healthy lifestyle at home improved John’s diabetes. They shared this knowledge and passion with everyone they met, beginning initially with subscription meals at their first food business, Balanced, and culminating in a quick-stop cafe on Dauphin Street that helps Mobilians fill up the right way. In addition to grain bowls, tacos and salads that will keep your diet on track, FOY is well-known for cold-pressed juices, which take hours to create. The smoothie bowl featured below, however, packs a wallop of vitamins and nutrients with just a few seconds of prep! A quick whirl in the blender is all it takes to get fresh, tropical flavors. Liz loves to work in the kitchen with her 5-year-old son, John, a rising first-grader at St. Ignatius Catholic School. The pair creates delicious meals that pack in as many fruits and vegetables as possible. “It can be a challenge to encourage children to eat right every day,” Liz says, “but it is so important to expose them to fun, healthy food early on.” She hopes to develop her child’s taste buds so that he’ll seek out fresh flavors as he continues to grow. Cold smoothies are a sneaky way to tuck in nutrition, and they’re a great treat when it’s hot out.
Tropical Mango Smoothie Bowl
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup frozen mango
1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup coconut water
1/4 cup hemp and flax granola, such as Nature’s Path
sliced banana, strawberries, blackberries and chia seeds for garnish
1. Combine pineapple, mango, banana, coconut, honey and coconut water in a blender. Blend until smooth and very thick. Pour into two serving bowls and arrange the granola, fruit, chia seeds and coconut flakes on top. Serve immediately. Makes 2.
The Healthy Rundown
Mandee Conkle grew tired of hearing people say there was nothing to do around Mobile. The University of South Alabama graduate knew her hometown had enough events and activities to accommodate an even larger city, but she found that many organizations had a hard time getting the word out. That’s why, seven years ago, she and husband Brooks decided to create a one-stop solution — a weekly email wholly devoted to getting Mobilians out of the house and attending activities around the Bay. And thus, The Mobile Rundown was born.“It has grown organically,” she says. “Readers each week look for things to do and ways to get involved in our community.”
The couple lives in Midtown with their son Dylan, who is a 12-year-old student at St. Paul’s. Dylan is active in sports and is an outdoorsman, but his mom says she sometimes has to come up with creative ways to get him the energy he needs and nutrients from fruits and vegetables. “These frozen bananas are a sneaky way to get him to eat healthy!” This cool summer treat, with only fruit, nuts and a drizzle of dark chocolate, will enhance a healthy diet.
Dark Chocolate Frozen Bananas
12 ice pop sticks
1 10-ounce package dark chocolate melting wafers, such as Ghirardelli
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, sprinkles or other toppings of your choice
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Peel each banana and cut in half. Insert ice pop stick carefully into one end.
2. Put chocolate wafers in a microwave-safe cup or mug and heat for 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted.
3. Spread any optional toppings on a small plate. Dip each banana in chocolate. Hold the chocolate-dipped banana over the plate of toppings and sprinkle toppings over all sides of the chocolate until well-coated. Place on the cookie sheet to dry. Freeze for 1 hour, then enjoy or place in a plastic bag for storing. Makes 12.
ABOVE Mallie Kennedy, age 2, helps dad put the finishing touches on a strawberry pop while big brother Mitchell, age 4, waits for the reward.
A Growing Family's Growing Business
What started as one guy making ice pops in Gadsden, Alabama, has, in just a few short years, grown into a burgeoning cold treat business with almost 50 locations across the Southeast and beyond. Fairhope was one of the first locations outside of Gadsden to embrace Frios Pops, and the loyalty in the Mobile Bay area is strong. The little carts and mobile pop stands can be seen everywhere from Bebo’s Spring Hill Market to the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, and even poolside at the Country Club of Mobile and the Grand Hotel. Cliff Kennedy was all too familiar with Frios pops, having a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter who enjoy sweet treats all year long. But just this summer, Cliff decided to buy the Mobile, Daphne and Pensacola locations of the brand. “I wanted to get involved in the business to help it grow. My partners and I are excited to share these Alabama-made pops along the Gulf Coast. You can’t beat a cold pop on a hot summer day!” Cliff and wife Abby, who started dating during their senior year at UMS, are expecting their third baby this fall. “We try our best to make sure the kids eat healthy.” But, they admit, there is always room to splurge.
While Cliff says he can’t give away the secret Frios recipes, which feature local and seasonal fruit and all-natural sweeteners, he says this easy recipe is the perfect make-at-home version!
2 pints fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1. Put strawberries and sugar in blender and mix until smooth. Pour mixture into ice pop molds and insert wooden sticks or handles. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
2. To release pops, submerge molds in room temperature water until you are able to pull the pops out, then enjoy! Makes 6.