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39 Memorial Day desserts to start the summer on a sweet note

From cobblers and crisps to ice cream cakes, these recipes will ensure the sweetest Memorial Day weekend.
/ Source: TODAY

We love dessert any time of year. But when spring turns into summer, when rhubarb is overflowing in the garden and berry and stone fruit season is approaching, something in the air just feels a little sweeter. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to an officially good time: in the kitchen and out in the backyard. It's a precursor to the summer months ahead — the perfect time to kickoff summer baking!

We're talking crumble-topped pies oozing with cooked berries and all their juices, creamy cakes with whipped cream and fresh fruit and ice cream that melt while it's eaten. If this Memorial Day is a near-summer scorcher, this list also has a good number of no-bake desserts, aka frozen treats galore that kids and adults will love! Whether patriotic ice pops made with the colors of the American flag are on the menu or an irresistible icebox cake that just sits in the freezer while everyone's busy grilling up Memorial Day recipes, these desserts are all cookout-approved.

After just a few moments in the kitchen working on summer's best dessert recipes, we're ready to turn up the tunes, grab a red-and-white-checked picnic blanket and head to a potluck with our baskets full of berry pies and cobblers.

It's just something about those sweet, fruit-filled desserts that makes it feel like summer is actually here, that we won't be surprised with yet another cold front, that we can finally debut our new sandals and store away those boots.

Pies, cobblers, cakes, cookies and more

Cornbread Sweet Potato Cobbler

"Cornbread and sweet potatoes were two things that could consistently be found at my dinner table growing up. These two dishes were a crucial staple on the plates of my ancestors — and this dish reimagines them by combining them," Will Coleman says about his cobbler, which starts with warm spices, maple syrup, sweet potatoes, plums and blackberries and ends with a cornbread crumble.

Honey-Balsamic Blueberry Pie

Honey-balsamic blueberry pie might sound unexpected but it's supremely sensational! A touch of tangy sweet balsamic vinegar combined with honey, cinnamon and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper magnifies the sweetness of the blueberries.

Red, White and Blueberry Pie

For Memorial Day and other patriotic holidays, it's always fun to have a dessert with a little red, white and blue, or in this case, blueberry. An easy pudding pie is almost simple enough for kids to make on their own! From the beginning to end, this recipe is perfect for summertime fun for kids in the kitchen.

Summer Fruit Crumble

Enjoy summer's bounty of seasonal fruit with this crumble oozing with natural sweetness. It's versatile in that you can use one fruit that looks great at the market or a mixture what you have on hand. Peaches, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries all work beautifully.

Southern Peach Cobbler

This is a great Southern classic for your summertime dessert rotation. It's great to use fresh peaches when they are in season, but this would still be delicious with canned peaches. Throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or even cold whipped cream to really bring this dish together.

A skillet fruit crisp is Lazarus Lynch's No. 1 go-to dessert because it's so easy to make. You just toss in the fruit, top it with a crumble, bake it … and that's it!

These thick-cut rice cereal treats oozing with sticky sweetness will be the star of the party. The secret to the recipe is, of course, the Marshmallow Fluff. It keeps the treats moist and, along with mini marshmallows, really amps up that toasty, buttery flavor that some treats lack.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

An old-fashioned mix of the not-so-sweet biscuit with the sweetness of the strawberries and the whipped cream is a combination that's hard to beat. Country singer Trisha Yearwood serves this dessert in the summer with fresh-picked berries from her local strawberry farm.

During spring and summer, you can bet on an abundance of fresh fruit. Instead of letting extra stone fruits and berries go to waste, put them to use in this delicious tart. The flavors will blend together seamlessly and guests will definitely be impressed.

Ever heard of a blueberry buckle? Dylan hadn't until she met her husband. Like a moist blueberry-packed crumb cake with hints of warm spice from the cinnamon and ginger, it's a lovely summer treat.

No-Bake Cheesecake

We still want rich and creamy desserts in the warmer months, and this one is so incredibly easy to make without ever turning on the oven. The combination of toasted almonds in the crust, the richness of the cream cheese filling and fresh raspberries always hits the spot.

S'mores Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

No need to spend time melting marshmallows to get that ooey-gooey texture — just buy Fluff in a jar! Plus, this recipe is simple to make, fun to eat and sings of springtime with the ripe strawberries.

S'mores Bites

S'mores are, of course, best when you roast your own marshmallows over a campfire, but these mini sweets are ideal for parties and can be thrown together in minutes (without the sticky mess).

No-Bake Blueberry and Banana Icebox Cake

Again, no need for the oven on this one. Featuring fresh fruits, golden Oreo cookies and homemade coconut whipped cream, this almost-vegan, no-bake icebox cake is the perfect dessert for spring and summer. And it's great for parties because you can make it the day before.

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Cobblers are always a summer hit. Use a mix of your favorite berries, get creative with some wild berries or just use whatever is available and in season. It's super easy to prepare and you can keep extra streusel in the freezer for future use. Trust us — it'll definitely be gobbled up quickly at your next potluck.

Honey Butter Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake

Here's a tip: Make a big batch of honey butter biscuits, then use some of them to make egg sandwiches for Memorial Day brunch, and the rest to make strawberry shortcake for dessert. Cook once, eat twice. Genius.

Easy 5-Ingredient Blueberry Crisp

The key to a super successful five-ingredient recipe is to choose ingredients that do double or triple duty. In addition to toasty oats, the granola adds sweet spices and nuts. Also, the self-rising flour contains leavening and salt, which makes the crumble especially light and crisp.

Sunny's Easy Patriotic Poke Cake

Poke cakes are making a comeback! They're super simple, taste great and make for a very pretty slice on the plate.

These blondies are perfect for enjoying while having fun in the sun. They're sweet and satisfying, but with a lighter feel than traditional chocolate brownies. They are super easy, super delicious and great for the beach.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

"As long as I can remember, my mom has been baking rhubarb crisps," says Siri. "As a kid, I was afraid to even try a bite. Rhubarb sounded funny, like an old lady's name, and it looked like a vegetable! No thank you. Of course, in my wise old age, I now realize how delicious it is and appreciate anything my mom is willing to cook or bake for me."

S'mores Chocolate Cream Pie

This amazing, eye-catching pie will be sure to have guests asking if they can have s'more. It incorporates all the elements of the classic campfire treat into a rich, decadent pie that's impossible to resist.

Skillet Peach Cobbler

Food has a way of bringing you back to certain times in your life, and for Chris Scott, this summery dessert brings all the feel-good moments.

Fun and frozen, no-bake desserts

Turning these tasty brownies into ice cream sandwiches is so perfect because the chewiness is so, so delicious with the ice cream and a great treat for special occasions. Plus, it's easy enough to make with the kids.

This no-bake recipe is juicy and delicious and screams summer fun. Top it with yogurt, dark chocolate chips, your favorite fiber-filled berries (raspberries and blueberries are pretty, but anything goes) and then just slice it up!

Blondie Ice Cream Cake

At the end of a good meal, everyone will say they're stuffed — until they see Martha Stewart's ice cream cake. It is made from a rich, buttery blondie bar, vanilla ice cream (filled with more blondie) and a soft, chewy, totally insane chocolate-caramel topping.

Chocolate and peanut butter are the perfect pair. The dynamic duo is, hands down, Joy Bauer's my favorite combo. Naturally, the nutrition expert turned the flavors into a frozen sandwich format — and it's dairy-free!

Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Cream Cookie Cake

Pre-made cookies and store-bought ice cream make a lovely and easy dessert. Assemble it ahead of time and let it chill in the freezer until you're ready to dig in. Topped with some fresh strawberries, everyone will think you've become a gourmet pastry chef (we won't tell if you don't!).

These gorgeous ice cream sandwiches, Aarti Sequeira's sweet ode to Bedouin culture, are rich with cardamom-scented coffee, dates and pistachios swirled into a creamy, slightly crunchy confection.

The ingenious thing about this recipe (beside it being a mashup of two childhood favorites) is that the Rice Krispies treats mimic the texture of waffle cones. Be sure to use premium quality ice cream because it's churned with less air which makes it melt more slowly.

How pretty in pink is this no-bake, summery strawberry cake? The recipe is completely customizable and takes no effort to put together, with only 15 minutes of prep time, which is perfect when feeding a crowd.

Siri Daly turned husband Carson's favorite sweets (ice cream and anything chocolate-peanut butter) into the kind of cake any Reese's lover would swoon over. A crushed Oreo crust, peanut butter ice cram and a thick mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup topping … must we continue?

No-Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

You don't need an ice cream machine to make this decadent blueberry cheesecake ice cream. This is definitely a project anyone can take on. To develop a deeper flavor in her no-churn ice cream, Jocelyn Delk Adams first cooks the blueberries.

Ice box cakes are incredibly easy and make a great summer dessert. Ree Drummond's cold and creamy recipe is made with layers of pound cake, blackberries and sweet whipped cream.

Red, White & Blue Popsicles

These patriotic popsicles are as festive as the store-bought kind but are made with real fruit so you know that you (or your kids) are eating the good stuff. Each layer only has two or three ingredients.

Strawberry Ice Cream Pie

"I love baking a fresh pie crust and then just filling it with fresh fruit and ice cream. It's simple and really takes me back to my childhood," Alex Guarnaschelli said of her summery recipe. Strawberry ice cream works best with a drizzle of aged or reduced balsamic vinegar for some grown-up acidity. If you want to get even more into summer, top the berries with some fresh basil or mint leaves.

Champagne Popsicles

If you like to enjoy the occasional glass of wine, why not try it with an ice pop? It's like the classic pairing of strawberries and Champagne, only extra icy.

Martha Stewart's Brownie Sundae Ice Cream Cake

Slices of rich brownie cake make dramatic stripes in this striking frozen dessert, which features all the fixings of an old-fashioned sundae — and then some. Two kinds of ice cream — vanilla and strawberry — are used as the fillings, along with crunchy peanut butter and crushed raspberries.

Sorbet Cake

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Sorbet Cake

Alex Guarnaschelli

Spumoni is an layered dessert that consists of a few flavors of ice cream (often pistachio, strawberry and vanilla to represent the colors of the Italian flag). It's festive, colorful and above all, tasty and refreshing. This is a good, no-bake dessert with some dramatic flair for spring and summer. Make it with sorbet so it's even lighter and more refreshing.

Independence Ice Cream Cake

We're big fans of shortcut desserts, which is why this showstopper is one of our favorites! Make it look even more impressive by piping the whipped cream on top using a large star-shaped piping tip.