4th of July Crowd-Pleasers

The U.S. landscape is sprinkled with backyard barbecues and picnics in the park on the Fourth as families and friends gather to celebrate the country’s birthday. To make your celebration even more patriotic, offer up some red, white and blue treats that are sure to be a hit with all ages.

Here’s where to start:

Sparklers. Using either pretzel rods or red licorice twists, dip half of your “sparkler” into melted white chocolate. Turn the dry ends down, place your sparklers in a cup, and sprinkle the coated ends with red, white and blue or star-shaped sprinkles. Chill for a short time.

Fruit kabobs. Set out skewers along with cut-up fruit, including banana slices or musk melon (white), cherries or strawberries (red) and blueberries. You can either skewer the kabobs for your guests or let them create their own.

Berry short cake. Pound cake gets the star treatment in this dessert. Use a large star-shaped cookie cutter to cut slices of homemade or store-bought pound cake. Top stars with a combination of strawberries and blueberries, then drizzle with a white sugar glaze or a dollop of whipped cream.

Berry dessert nachos. Cover a plate with cinnamon tortilla chips and top them with fresh berries and whipped cream. Serve cinnamon ice cream on the side.

Red, white, and blue parfaits. For a sweet treat that’s light on calories, layer blueberries, low-fat vanilla yogurt, and strawberries in a tall glass and serve cold. For an alternative to vanilla yogurt, try strawberry or raspberry.

Revolutionary berries. For a juicy red,white and blue treat, dip strawberries into melted white chocolate, about ¾ of the way up the strawberry. Then immediately dip the end of the strawberry into blue sugar or edible glitter. Set berries to harden on waxed paper.

Chips and salsa. To spice things up, serve a mixture of white and blue corn tortilla chips with a bowl of bright red salsa on a chip and dip platter.

And here’s a fun way to make a splash, especially if the temps are soaring—treat your kids to some Patriot’s Punch. Simply fill an ice cube tray with a red or blue fruit-flavored beverage (think Powerade, Snapple or Kool-Aid) and let the cubes freeze solid. Then drop three or four colored cubes into each glass, pour in flavored seltzer water or clear soda, and watch the special effects. As the cubes melt, colored bubbles will swirl through the soda.

Do you have a favorite recipe for the Fourth? Share it with us, we’re dying to know!

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