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Archive for July 4th/Independence Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Red, White & Blue Cupcakes For Patriotic Occasions

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

These red, white and blue cupcakes are an eye- and palate-pleaser for any patriotic occasion.

And they’re easy to make, with just the added step of dividing cake mix into three bowls and coloring two of them. We chose a frosting of stabilized whipped cream, stiffened with gelatin (it won’t collapse) and topped the cupcakes with red, white and blue decorations.

RECIPE: PATRIOTIC CUPCAKES

Ingredients For The Cupcakes

  • 1 box white cake mix (or your own white cake recipe)
  • Red and blue gel food coloring (see notes in the last section)
  • Icing
  • Decorative sprinkles or stars
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    Ingredients For 4 Cups Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  •  
    Plus

  • Cupcake pan
  • Cupcake liners
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    Preparation

    1. PREPARE a cupcake pan with paper liners. Place the cream in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to whipping (it will whip better).

    2. PREPARE the cake batter and divide it into three bowls. Use blue and red gel food coloring in two of the bowls (see notes about gel-paste below.)

    3. ADD one tablespoon blue batter to the each cupcake liner and spread evenly (we used a plastic teaspoon). Follow with a tablespoon of white batter, and a red layer on top of that, taking care not to mix the colors as you spread them.

    4. BAKE per cake recipe instructions and cool. While the cupcakes cool…

    5. MAKE the stabilized whipped cream frosting. Place the cold water in a small pan and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it thicken; then place the pan over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool, but do not allow it to set.

    6. WHIP the cream with the powdered sugar, until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream. Whip at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes.

    7. DECORATE and serve.

     

    Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

    July 4th Cupcakes

    American Flag Cupcakes

    [1] Red, white and blue layered cupcake (photo Elegant Affairs Caterers | Facebook). [2] Even easier options: red fruit atop white frosting (photo GoBoldWithButter.com) and [3] cupcake “flag” (photo Sprinkles Cupcakes).

     
    WANT A RED, WHITE & BLUE LAYER CAKE INSTEAD OF CUPCAKES?

  • White layer cake, filled with raspberry and blueberry preserves.
  • White-frosted stack cake with red and blue berry topping.
  • Lemon loaf layer cake with white filling and red and blueberry topping.
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    WHY USE SOFT GEL INSTEAD OF LIQUID FOOD COLOR

    The typical food colors available in supermarkets are water-based liquids that work well for most purposes. In many recipes, you use so little of it that the teaspoon or so of water isn’t going to impact the outcome of the recipe.

    But if you are looking for intense color—such as in red velvet cake—you need to use a lot of liquid to get the vibrant color. Too much liquid will alter the consistency of cake, candies, donuts and deep-colored frostings.

  • Soft gel food coloring (sometimes called liquid gel, not to be confused with the conventional liquid food color) delivers a deep, rich color without thinning the batter or frosting.
  • Gel paste food coloring is very concentrated and provides even deeper, more vivid colors than soft gel. It should be used in very small quantities.
  • Powdered food coloring is another very concentrated option that is often used to decorate cookies.
  •  
    You can often find gel food colors in craft stores, as well as in baking supplies stores and online, where you can buy red only or the four basic food colors. Wilton sells a set of eight gel colors, as well as neon and pastel sets. Don’t substitute one for another, unless you have time to test the results.
     
    TIPS FOR COLORING ICING

  • If exact color is important, mix the color in daylight so you can see the true hue.
  • Start with less color and adjust as you go.
  • Note that the longer the icing sits, the stronger the color will be. Proceed accordingly.
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    JULY 4th RECIPE: American Flag Ice Cream Cake

    This easy flag cake from McCormick is made from reddened brownie layers with vanilla ice cream and a blue-tinted whipped topping. You can cut 12 servings from the loaf.
     
    RECIPE: AMERICAN FLAG ICE CREAM CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 1 package (family-size) fudge brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food color
  • 1 tub (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • McCormick Neon Food Colors & Egg Dye in blue and purple
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows, divided
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
  • Optional: 1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
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    brownie-ice-cream-cake-mccormick-230

    The “red” in this American Flag ice cream cake is food coloring added to the brownie. If you want more redness, add a layer of sliced strawberries over the top of the ice cream (photo courtesy McCormick).

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Empty the brownie mix into a large bowl. Add the sour cream, eggs and red food color; mix well.

    2. SPOON the batter into a greased, foil-lined 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

    3. MAKE the frosting: Stir the whipped topping, lemon extract, 1 teaspoon Neon Blue and 5 drops Neon Purple food colors with a spatula until evenly tinted. Stir in 3/4 cup of the marshmallows. Set aside.

    4. LINE a loaf pan with foil, with the ends of the foil extending over the sides of pan. Cut the brownie loaf horizontally into 2 layers. Place the bottom layer in the loaf pan and gently spread with the ice cream and the optional strawberries.

    5. PLACE the top brownie layer over the ice cream and spread the whipped topping mixture over the top. Press the remaining 1/4 cup of marshmallows into the whipped topping. Cover carefully with foil.

    6. FREEZE at least 2 hours or until firm. Use foil handles to remove dessert from pan. Place on cutting board; let stand 10 minutes to soften. Cut into slices to serve.

      

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    JULY 4TH DRINK: Red, White & Blueberry Lemonade & Hard Lemonade

    For cookouts and picnics, our family never had everyday soft drinks. For these special occasions, the beverage menu included lemonade, iced tea and Mom’s favorite fruit punch (recipe: equal parts of grape juice, lemonade and orange juice, all from frozen concentrate).

    For July 4th, we switched to a “patriotic” lemonade: red, white and blue. The ingredients: pink lemonade tinted darker with some food color, white ice cubes and blueberries inside the ice cubes.

    Beyond red food color, there are different ways to tint the lemonade a deep rose:

  • Add some red juice: blood orange, cherry, currant, cranberry, grape, pomegranate or watermelon juice.
  • Hibiscus tea (buy the tea and brew it).
  • Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger, Raspberry Zinger or Watermelon-Lime Zinger tea, all of which are blends that contain hibiscus.
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    The herbal teas are delicious iced, so instead of lemonade, you can make patriotic—and caffeine-free—iced tea!

    For adults, keep bottles of gin, lemon liqueur, tequila or vodka (especially lemon-flavored vodka) next to the pitcher with a shot glass and a mixing spoon, and allow the grown-ups to add what they like.
     
    RECIPE #1: BLUEBERRY ICE CUBES

    First, make the white and blue ice cubes. You may need to start making batches a couple of days in advance, depending on how many ice cube trays you have and how many guests you expect.

    This recipe makes enough cubes for a quart of lemonade, assuming 3 cubes per glass.

    Ingredients For 12 Ice Cubes (One Tray)

  • 36 fresh blueberries (about 1/4 cup)
  • Water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE 3 berries in each of 12 ice cube compartments.

    2. FILL with water and freeze. Remove the frozen cubes to a freezer storage bag to use the tray for another batch.
     
    RECIPE #2: RED, WHITE & BLUEBERRY LEMONADE

    While you can purchase pink lemonade in a large format, frozen concentrate is less expensive—and lighter to carry! If you want sugar-free lemonade, you can use Crystal Light (we prefer the taste of their regular lemonade to the pink lemonade; or squeeze fresh lemonade and add your sweetener of choice.

    Ingredients For 1 Quart (Four 1-Cup Servings)

  • 1 can pink lemonade concentrate (frozen)
  • Red color of choice (see list above)
  • 1¼ cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • Blueberry ice cubes (recipe below)
  • Optional: gin, limoncello, orange liqueur, tequila, vodka
  • Optional: straws (you can find them in white with red and/or blue stripes)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD water to the lemonade concentrate per package instructions. Then add the coloring agent to get the desired shade. Note that excepting food color, the more juice you add, the less the drink will taste like classic lemonade. But there’s nothing wrong with that! ss measuring cup or other container. Microwave on high until hot, about 1 minute.

    2. STIR until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and enough water to make 1 quart. If the red color isn’t strong enough for you, add a drop of food color or some juice to create your preferred shade. Chill.

    3. FILL tall glasses with the blueberry ice cubes. Add the lemonade and optional spirits.
     
     
    MORE JULY 4TH LEMONADE RECIPES

  • Spicy Hot Lemonade Recipe
  • Homemade Lemonade With Red & Blue Berries
  • Regular Lemonade With A Blueberry & Raspberry Cocktail Pick
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    red-white-blueberry-lemonade-blueberrycouncil-230

    Hibiscus Iced Tea

    Pint Of Fresh Blueberries

    Minute Maid Pink Lemonade Concentrate

    [1] Red, white and blue lemonade (photo courtesy BlueberryCouncil.org). [2] We added some hibiscus iced tea to make the frozen pink lemonade in the top photo a deeper rose color (photo of hibiscus tea courtesy Republic Of Tea). [3] A pint of blueberries for the ice cubes (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [4] Pink lemonade concentrate (photo courtesy Minute Maid).

     

      

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    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies

    July 4th Whoopie Pies RecipeHTTP://www.blueberrycouncil.org

    Patriotic whoopee pies from the Blueberry Council.

     

    The Blueberry Council wants to make it easy for you to create red, white and blue food for July 4th.

    The recipe is simple: a box of red velvet cake mix, a jar of Marshmallow Fluff (or other marshmallow creme, or homemade) and fresh blueberries.

    For a more substantial dessert, serve the whoopies with a dish of three scoops of ice cream:

  • Small scoops of red (strawberry), white (vanilla) and blue (blueberry or boysenberry).
  • Alternative: Soften vanilla ice cream on the counter and stir in red and blue berries. Return to the freezer until ready to serve.
  •  
    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE WHOOPIE PIES

    Ingredients For 24 Cookies

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (18.25 ounces)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups marshmallow crème from a jar
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the cake mix, flour, water, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer at medium speed, 2-3 minutes.

    3. SCOOP the batter by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed, 8-10 minutes.

    4. LET cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets. Then, use a spatula to remove the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

    5. SPREAD 1½ teaspoons of the marshmallow creme onto the flat side of each cookie, using a small spatula or knife. Divide the blueberries onto the perimeter of the marshmallow on half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies to make 24 cookie sandwiches.

    6. SERVE immediately or store chilled in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed paper or parchment.
     
    MORE FOOD FUN

  • The history of whoopie pies.
  • The history of Marshmallow Fluff and a recipe for homemade marshmallow creme.
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    RECIPE: Red, White & Blue Sangria

    July 4th Sangria Recipe

    Yankee Doodle Brandy: Combine white wine and Grand Marnier orange brandy for July 4th (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs).

     

    This fun and arty sangria recipe is from caterer Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs (www.elegantaffairscaterers.com):

    RECIPE: JULY 4TH SANGRIA

    Ingredients For 1 Large Pitcher

  • 2 bottles dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka (cherry, raspberry, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Optional: ice cubes
  •  
    The Fresh Fruit

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1-1/2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups pineapple stars (use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut stars from slices of fresh pineapple) or starfruit slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup: Boil 1/2 cup water, then add 1/2 cup granulated white sugar. Turn the heat to simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool.

    2.COMBINE all ingredients except the fresh fruit (but including the simple syrup) in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Stir well and add the fruit. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

    3. SERVE well-chilled with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink. If you plan to serve over ice, consider making star-shaped ice cubes.
     
    FOR A MOCKTAIL

    Here’s a mocktail option for kids and adults who don’t drink:

  • Substitute a 64-ounce bottle of Sprite/7-UP or Diet Sprite/Diet 7-UP for the wine.
  • Replace the triple sec with 1 cup white cranberry juice.
  • Option: Use 1/2 cup orange juice instead of the lemon or lime juice
  • Eliminate the simple syrup.
  • Optional: Add blue food color to make blue star ice cubes.
  • Use the same fresh fruit as for the sangria recipe.
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