Day-Off Desserts for Labor Day — Summer Soiree

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With the backyard barbecues, shoeless picnics and pool parties of the Labor Day long weekend comes the realization that summer is, all of a sudden, coming to a close. Soon enough, we'll be trading sandals for socks, summer camp for school and iced coffee for the hot stuff. Rather than wallowing in the end-of-summer blues, think of it as an excuse to end the season on a sweet note with Food Network's collection of Labor Day desserts.

While we're still hauling blueberries home by the crateful, spare two cups for Food Network Magazine's Blueberry Cheesecake Galette (bottom right). Coupled with a smooth, slightly sweet cream cheese layer, juicier-than-ever berries burst open with pent-up lusciousness when they're popped into the oven.

Similarly, late-summer blackberries need little more than what's going on for them to become a noteworthy dessert. Resist doing anything too crazy, and simply cover the tangy berries with a no-fuss crumble of flour, brown sugar and butter for  Fresh Blackberry Crisp (top left).

Any other time of year, a sprinkled, fudge-drenched banana split would be accepted with spoons at the ready. But on Monday, Food Network Magazine's summer-worshiping  Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes (top right) are even more well received, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop warm strawberries and a buttery biscuit.

When you cut into Alex Guarnaschelli's  Warm Grape Cake (bottom left), you'll find that the inside is studded with poppable red grapes and sweet, shriveled golden raisins. Don't serve a slice without the ginger-and-honey-spiked grape topping and obligatory dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Part of the beauty of a day off is the casual air of it all, be it donning no more than a swimsuit or opting for flip-flops in lieu of dress shoes. In this spirit, whip up a dessert that's equally laid-back: old-fashioned Whoopie Pies. These cream-filled crosses between mini pies and sandwiches don't need utensils and can be made up to a week ahead. Think of that as a summer win.

Get more Labor Day-inspired recipes from friends and family:

The Heritage Cook: Four Sauces Designed for Grilled Foods (Gluten-Free)

Dishing with Divya: Baked Vegetable Sacks
Weelicious: Heirloom Tomato Salad

Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Peach and Blueberry Baked Fruit Pizza

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