Put The Steak Aside and Grill Your Desserts

By John Thomas |
FWX PARTNER FIX GRILLING SWEETNESS

Courtesy of Fix.com

This piece originally appeared on Fix.com.

Grilling for your cookout doesn't have to end after the main course is served. Most people shut the grill down when the chicken or burgers come off. But if you want to do something a bit different, try grilling dessert as well. On a charcoal grill the challenge is to keep the coals going so you don't have to re-light the grill. On a gas grill it is a bit easier because you can shut the grill off then easily hit that ignition button to light the grill again.

The goal for grilling dessert is to have a medium heat on the grill. In other words, the heat isn't scorching hot, but is still hot enough to melt chocolate and get things cooked. For a charcoal grill, when your dinner is done cooking, use a grill brush and give the grates a good brushing to get rid of all the barbecue sauce, chicken pieces, or anything else that might have stuck to the grill. Use some heavy duty gloves and remove the grill grate. Toss about 20-30 unlit charcoal briquettes on top of the already-burning charcoal. This will light while you are eating your dinner and then you will head back out to a nice medium heat. Leave the dome of the charcoal grill off so the charcoal can light. Depending on how hot you had the first fire, you may need to add more or less unlit charcoal. For a gas grill, use a brush and clean the grates well, close the dome and turn off the gas burners. This will keep the grill hot enough so you won't have to wait long for a preheat when reignite the burners after you eat dinner.

Go eat dinner!

Preparing the Grill for Dessert
Fluffernutter Panini

Ingredients:

  • Italian bread – sliced into 1/2–1/4 inch slices
  • Peanut butter
  • Hazelnut spread
  • Marshmallow fluff
  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar, if desired

The flavors of a fluffernutter remind us of our youth. Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff is classic. Add that to buttery crispy grilled slices of bread and add in some hazelnut spread and you have a really tasty dessert.

These dessert sandwiches can be prepared well before your guests arrive. For each sandwich, butter one side of the bread. Generously apply peanut butter, hazelnut spread, and marshmallow fluff and put the top on the panini. Keep the buttered sides of the bread on the top and bottom of the panini. If you are making these earlier in the day, they can be stacked on a plate and covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. When you are ready to grill, put the assembled panini over direct heat on the grill. Flip the panini after 4-5 minutes to prevent burning. The paninis are done when the bread is nicely toasted and the inside is melted and warm. Slice the sandwiches in half and top with some powdered sugar if desired. A bunch of these can be made and stacked neatly on a serving dish for your guests to grab a panini.

Fluffernutter Panini
Grilled Apples

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Chocolate caramel candies such as Rolos
  • Marshmallows

Grilling apples turns the apple into an almost apple sauce-like consistency. Add in some chocolate caramel candies and a marshmallow and it will all melt together and make the gooiest, tastiest dessert you’ve had in a long while.

Wash the apples and carefully cut the core of the apple out from the top leaving about 1/2 inch of apple at the bottom. You don't want to cut all the way through the apple or your stuffing will spill out on to the grill. After most of the core is removed, stuff it with about 3-4 chocolate caramel candies and then put a marshmallow on top. These can be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill. After you eat dinner, sit the apples on the medium heat grill over direct heat. It’s okay if the skin of the apple chars a bit; the goal is to melt the chocolate inside and turn it into a gooey apple-sauce-like mix with melted chocolate and marshmallow. Close the grill dome and check the apples after 5-10 minutes. If the bottoms begin to burn too quickly, move the apples to indirect heat (the area away from the direct heat; i.e., the area with fewer coals or the area with no gas burner turned on). Serve the apples with a fork, as they should be tender and will fall apart easily.

Grilled Stuffed Apples
Grilled Stuffed Banana Boats

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • Chocolate chips
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Mini marshmallows

Similar to the grilled apple recipe above, when you grill a banana it achieves a custard-like consistency and it is warm and sweet. Add in some chocolate and peanut butter chips as well as some small marshmallows and it will all melt together, so you can eat it with a spoon.

Slice the bananas directly down the center (along the long axis of the banana). Don’t cut all the way through, just about halfway down into the banana. Add a layer of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and mini marshmallows into the banana. If making these ahead of time, they can be stored on a plate and covered with plastic wrap. After dinner, grill the stuffed bananas directly over the grill flame (direct heat) and grill until the banana skin is completely black and charred. With the grill dome closed this should take about 5 minutes or so. The inside should be tender and all of the chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow should be melted. Serve the entire banana with a spoon and scoop the inside out.

Grilled Stuffed Banana Boats
Pineapple with Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Pineapple
  • Ice cream
  • 1 1/2 stick of salted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 tablespoon of Dekuyper Buttershots liquor

Grilling a pineapple brings out the sweetness of the fruit and also warms it up perfectly to melt ice cream. Add, on top, an amazing brandy butter sauce and let it run all down the ice cream and onto the plate. A spoon can cut through the soft pineapple along with some melted ice cream soaked in the butter brandy sauce. It’s a winner!

Cut the skin off of the pineapple and then cut the pineapple again into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices. Before heading to the grill, make the sauce. This sauce can be made directly on a grill side burner, or on an indoor stovetop. Mix together the butter and powdered sugar over medium heat. After a few minutes of cooking, add the cinnamon, brandy, and buttershots liquor. Cook for about 5 more minutes until the sauce reduces a bit and thickens to your liking. Remove from the heat and take the pineapple slices out to the grill. Put the pineapple slices over direct heat and using tongs or a spatula, flip them after about 3 minutes. The goal is to get a little sear and grill marks on the pineapple, while warming it and tenderizing it, bringing out the natural sweetness of the pineapple. Once the pineapple is grilled, serve on a plate with a scoop of ice cream and top with the brandy butter sauce.

Pineapple with Butter Sauce

When presented with these desserts, especially following a meal that began with extreme appetizers, your guest will be begging to be invited back!

Related: Flower Arranging for Beginners 
How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese on the Grill 
Up in Smoke: All About Smoke Woods for Grilling 

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