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Sweet treats refresh this summer

Are you ready for summer parties, barbeques, and picnics in the park?

Summertime and yummy treats go hand-in-hand. When the dog days of summer hit, the craving to dip into a luscious banana split is as common as the urge to dip into the swimming pool. Who can resist treating themselves to something fruity, chocolatey or just simply delicious? To satisfy those cravings for sweet treats, here are some quick tips that add the yum to your summer:

* When planning your summer party, be sure to offer your guests a low-fat or fat-free dessert alternative. Try layering plain yogurt with your favorite flavor of Smucker's Sundae Syrups, bananas and berries for a healthy, fat-free treat.

* Breakfast is no time to forfeit taste. Bananas add fabulous flavor and fat-free satisfaction to every meal. For a little extra energy in the morning, top off your toast with Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter and a sliced banana for a protein and potassium-filled boost.

* Everyone knows summertime is ice cream time. Liven up plain vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt with Smucker's Cookie Dough Crunch Magic Shell, or mix caramel and chocolate flavored Magic Shell for a delicious "turtle" sundae.

* Snacking on fresh fruit, like bananas, is a delicious treat year-round. When selecting bananas, full-yellow peels indicate they are perfect for eating right away. Buy green bananas to save for a few days. They ripen quickly at room temperature, and even faster in a loosely closed paper bag. Bananas with speckled peels are extra-ripe and best for adding to baked goods or blender drinks like the Strawberry-Banana Frosty below.

Following are some fabulous summer recipes that everyone is sure to enjoy. You'll know when all you hear is "Mmmmm..."

Chocolate Brownie Fruit Pizza.

1 (10.25 ounce) package brownie mix.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened.

1/3 cup chocolate ice cream topping.

1/4 cup sugar.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries, raspberries and/or blueberries.

2 bananas, peeled, sliced.

strawberry and/or chocolate sundae syrup (for drizzling).

Prepare brownie mix as directed on the package. Spread batter in a greased 12-inch pizza pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Beat cream cheese with chocolate topping, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread mixture over cooled brownie crust. Arrange berries and banana slices over filling. Drizzle strawberry and chocolate topping over fruit. Cut into wedges.

Strawberry-Banana Frosty.

1 cup milk or vanilla-flavored soy milk.

1 medium ripe banana, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks.

1/2 cup strawberry ice cream topping.

6 ice cubes.

Combine milk (or soy milk), banana, strawberry topping, and ice cubes in a blender or food processor container.

Cover, blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

VARIATION: Chocolate Monkey.

Combine 1 cup of milk (or soy milk) and 1/2 cup chocolate sundae syrup, 1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks, 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter, and 6 ice cubes in blender container. Cover and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Peanut-Buttery Quicksand.

1 (12-ounce) jar butterscotch or caramel ice cream topping.

1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter.

4 bananas cut into diagonal slices.

Stir together ice cream topping and peanut butter in a medium bowl. Cover loosely with wax paper. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute; stir well. Cover; microwave for 15 to 30 seconds more, or until mixture is smooth. Serve quicksand dip in small individual dishes. Use your fingers to dip the banana slices into the quicksand.

Ice Cream Cookie Dessert.

1 (1-1/2 pound) package chocolate sandwich cookies.

1 stack (18 cookies) chocolate fudge mint cookies.

1/2 gallon vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened.

2 (12-ounce) jars hot fudge topping.

1 (12-ounce) carton frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed.

Crush cookies until fine. Reserve 1 cup of crumbs for topping. Press remaining cookie crumbs in 9x13-inch pan. Spoon ice cream on top of crumbs and freeze. Heat hot fudge topping as directed on jar; spread over ice cream. Freeze for 1 hour. Spread with whipped topping; top with reserved cookie crumbs. Freeze until ready to serve.

Tropical Fruity Banana Split.

1 firm banana, cut in half lengthwise.

1 scoop each: raspberry, orange and lemon sherbet*.

strawberry ice cream topping.

pineapple ice cream topping.

chopped macadamia nuts.

shredded toasted coconut.

Place banana halves in individual dessert dish. Arrange three scoops of fruit sherbet between banana halves. Spoon strawberry and pineapple toppings over sherbet. Sprinkle with nuts and coconut.

*If all 3 flavors are not available, 1 or 2 of the sherbets can be used. May also be substituted with similar flavors of sorbet.

Favorite Banana Pudding.

1 package (6 serving size) instant vanilla flavored pudding mix.

3 cups cold nonfat or low fat milk.

2 1/2 cups frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed.

55 to 60 chocolate or vanilla cookie wafers.

4 firm, large bananas, peeled, sliced.

Prepare pudding according to package directions, using 3 cups milk. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping. Reserve 16 chocolate wafers and one-half banana for garnish. Arrange one-half remaining wafers on bottom of eight dessert dishes. Top with one-half banana slices. Spread one-half pudding mixture over banana slices. Repeat with one more layer. Cover; refrigerate 3 hours or until serving time. Garnish with remaining whipped topping, wafers and banana slices, if desired.

Note: Instead of individual dessert dishes, pudding can be prepared in 2-quart deep baking dish or bowl.

Easy Chocolate Coated Bananas.

3 firm, medium bananas.

6 large wooden popsicle sticks.

1/2 cup Smucker's Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping (favorite flavor).

rainbow sprinkles, candy pieces and/or chopped nuts.

Cut each banana crosswise in half. Insert wooden stick into each half. Place banana pops on wax paper lined tray. Freeze 1 hour. Pour Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping in a small bowl (make sure bowl is at room temperature); spoon topping to cover all sides of banana, and immediately sprinkle banana pops with nuts, candies and/or sprinkles. Serve or keep pops frozen until ready to serve.

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