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Archive for July 4th/Independence Day

JULY 4th: Ice Cream Cones

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Impress your friends and family with these Independence Day ice cream cones. Photo courtesy Amy Miller Designs.

 

Who wouldn’t want to be Amy Miller’s friend?

The designer, crafter and baker created the best-looking July 4th ice cream cones.

Head to AmyMillerDesigns.com for the step-by-step showing how she did it.

In brief, you need ice cream cones, vanilla candy melts in red, white and blue, and sprinkles. You can use either cake cones (shown in photo), sugar cones or their big brother, waffle cones.

The toughest part is deciding what flavor of ice cream to scoop into your cones. Vanilla works best, but keep an eye out for cherry vanilla, strawberry or blueberry swirl.

How much do you know about the different types of ice cream and frozen desserts?

Check ‘em out in our Ice Cream Glossary.

 

 
  

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JULY 4th: Patriotic Milkshake Recipe

For a dessert or snack over July 4th weekend, serve these patriotic shakes. They were designed by QVC’s chef David Venable.

RECIPE: PATRIOTIC MILKSHAKE

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/4 cup + 4 teaspoons strawberry syrup, divided (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2-1/4 cups strawberries and cream ice cream
  • 1-1/4 cups quartered fresh strawberries
  • 1-1/3 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces whipped cream (you can substitute frozen whipped topping)
  •  
    *You can use leftover strawberry syrup in club soda, cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, on angel food cake and pound cake, ice cream, pudding, sorbet etc.
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the blueberries and 1/4 cup of strawberry syrup into a medium-size bowl. Mix until the blueberries are fully coated. Refrigerate until needed.

       

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    Drink the patriotic colors. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    2. DRIZZLE 1 teaspoon of strawberry syrup in a spiral design on the inside of four tall glasses (we used a squeeze bottle). Freeze until needed.

    3. PLACE the ice cream, strawberries and milk in a blender with a large pitcher. Mix until smooth, 40–60 seconds. Pour into the prepared milk shake glasses.

    4. TOP each glass with 1 ounce whipped cream and the blueberry mixture, dividing evenly among the 4 glasses. Serve immediately.

     

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    Buy strawberry syrup or make your own. Photo courtesy Tide and Thyme; here’s their recipe.

     

    HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

    Cook time is 25 minutes, total time is 40 minutes. The syrup should last, refrigerated, for 4-6 weeks. You can substitute any berries in this recipe,

    Ingredients For 3-1/2 Cups

  • 2 pounds strawberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. RINSE, hull and pat dry the strawberries. Cut into small pieces and place in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.

    2. REDUCE to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, skimming any foam. After 20 minutes, the strawberries should be pale and the liquid should be a deep pink color. Remove the pan from the heat.

    3. STRAIN the strawberry liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. DO NOT press down on the berries to extract more juice; it will make the syrup cloudy. Discard the berries.

     

    4. ADD 2 cups of sugar to the liquid and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes till the sugar is completely dissolved, skimming any foam.

    5. REMOVE from the heat and cool completely. Pour into a glass container, tightly cap and refrigerate.

      

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    RECIPE: Star Cookies For July 4th

    star-cookies-WS-230

    It’s beginning to look like July 4th! The Silpat cookie sheet is from Williams-Sonoma.

     

    Want to bake cookies for July 4th?

    1. MIX up and roll out your favorite sugar cookie dough (or other rolled cookie dough).

    2. USE a star cookie cutter to cut shapes. If you have small and large star cutters, make large and small sizes.

    Here’s a set of 6 nested star cookie cutters, that you can also use for Christmas cookies.

    3. BAKE, cool and ice the cookie tops white royal icing (recipe below); then decorate with red and blue stripes. Voilà: the Stars and Stripes.

    Check out the different types of cookies in our delicious Cookie Glossary.

     
    ROYAL ICING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • Red and blue food color
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX first three ingredients together for 7 to 10 minutes, until icing stiffens. If icing appears too stiff, add more water, one teaspoon at a time. You want the icing to be thin enough that you can pipe it easily. Tint 1/4 of the icing red, and 1/4 blue (see instructions below).

    2. DECORATE the cookies when they are cool. Use an offset spatula to ice the cookie tops white. Then place the tinted icing into separate piping bags fitted with a very small round tip.

    3. CREATE the red and blue stripes. If you don’t have a steady hand, wavy lines are fine. Keep the tip about 1/2 inch above the cookie as you ice. This helps to achieve a straighter line.

    Variation: Instead of piping stripes, you can sprinkle red, white and blue star decorations on the white royal icing base while it’s still wet. Here are large stars and small stars.

    4. DRY the cookies completely, usually 1 to 2 hours.

     
      

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    JULY 4th: American Flag Pie Top

    While we just said that our favorite pie topping is streusel (crumb topping), here’s something special for July 4th.

    You can buy or bake an open face pie (no top crust) or a tart, and decorate it as the American Flag.

    All you need to decorate are:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Whipped Cream
  •  
    Older children can do the decorating, and everyone can enjoy a piece of “grand old pie.”

    If you’ve purchased the pie, the dessert can be ready in 10 minutes!

    For those who don’t know the lyrics/tune to George M. Cohan’s classic, “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” practice on You Tube.

     

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    It’s a grand old pie! Photo courtesy Agata and Valentina | NYC.

     
    A NOTE ABOUT WHIPPED CREAM

    If you use an aerosol whipped cream like Reddi-Wip, the air will deflate much sooner than if you whip your own stabilized whipped cream.

    Even if you don’t stabilize the whipped cream, your own beater-whipped cream will stay fluffy longer. You don’t need to create whipped cream stars, which the Reddi-Wip nozzle enables. Instead, just emulate the real white bars of the flag, and use one long line of whipped cream in-between the rows of strawberries.

      

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    JULY 4TH BREAKFAST: Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast

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    A spectacular breakfast parfait. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.

     

    What better way to celebrate July 4th, than to wake up to a red, white and blue yogurt parfait and star-shaped toast.

    Smucker’s uses its Natural Orange Marmalade Fruit Spread, Seedless Strawberry Jam and Blueberry Preserves to make the parfait. Prep time is 20 minute, cook time is 5 minutes.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE PARFAIT

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries or fresh red raspberries
  • 1 medium ripe banana, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1-1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 loaf (16 ounces) presliced cinnamon swirl bread, frozen until firm
  • Blueberry or strawberry jam or preserves for the toast
  • Preparation

    1. HEAT the broiler to HIGH. Combine the strawberries, banana and blueberries in medium bowl. Combine the yogurt and marmalade in separate small bowl.

    2. DIVIDE half of the fruit mixture into 4 parfait glasses. Top each with half of the yogurt mixture. Repeat the layers.

    3. CUT out 4 (1-inch) and 8 (3-inch) star shapes from frozen sliced bread using 1-inch and 3-inch cookie cutters. Place on a baking sheet. Broil five inches from the heat for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, turning when lightly toasted.

    4. PLACE one small toasted star on top of each parfait. Spread the remaining toasted stars with jam and serve with the parfaits.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pavlova Dessert

    If you’ve ever seen meringue like shells in a bakery and wondered what they are: They’re Pavlovas.

    The Pavlova is one of the most popular desserts in Australia, where it’s commonly known as a Pav. The dessert is named after the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926 and 1929.

    Both countries claim to have invented this dessert, and have made it their national dessert. New Zealand may have the edge: Published recipes of fruit-filled meringue shells existed there without the name Pavlova.

    According to chef Herbert Sachse of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, Australia, the Pavlova was born at the hotel 1935. According to hotel legend, it was named at a meeting at which Sachse presented the cake. Either the hotel licensee, the manager or Sachse remarked, “It is as light as Pavlova,” who had been a guest of the hotel during her 1929 tour.

    Years later, Sachse stated in an interview that he sought to improve the Meringue Cake recipe that he found in the Women’s Mirror Magazine, which was contributed by a New Zealand resident.*
     
    *Source: Linda Stradley, What’s Cooking America.

     

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    A Pavlova and the ingredients to make it. Photo courtesy CiaoSamin.com.

     
    The Pavlova consists of a meringue base topped with fresh fruits. Most people buy the meringue shells at bakeries, but ambitious bakers can make their own (the recipe is below).

    In addition to individual meringue shells, the meringue can be shaped into one large family-style shell, or into cake layers that are alternated with fruit for a spectacular effect (photo below). This type of cake is also called a Swedish Midsummer Meringue Layer Cake. And the meringue is the same recipe used to make individual meringue cookies.

    Then, all you have to do is cut up your favorite fruits and add them to the shell. You can customize your Pavlova with:

  • Liqueur. If you want to exert more effort, you can marinate the fruits in wine or liqueur.
  • Topping. Add an optional topping: crème fraîche, mascarpone, raspberry purée, whipped cream.
  • Garnish. Garnish with chocolate curls or candied orange peel, or something as simple as a mint leaf.
  •  
    While the desert is light and airy for summer, and the red, white and blue colors are spot-on for July 4th. The toppings can be tailored to every season:

  • Fall: Assorted nuts (raw or candied), dried fruits garnish on the plate.
  • Christmas: Brandied fruits, candied fruits, crushed peppermint plate garnish.
  • Valentine’s Day: Strawberries and cream, candied rose petals plate garnish.
  • Spring: Apricots, nectarines, figs; edible flowers to garnish.
  • Summer: Seasonal fruits garnished with shaved coconut, lemon mint, lemon verbena or spearmint.
  • Anytime: Mousse or Strawberries Romanoff.
  •  
    RECIPE: PAVLOVA MERINGUE SHELL

    This recipe (the first photo, above) is courtesy Samin Nosrat of CiaoSamin.com, via Good Eggs. She has many wonderful recipes. This one has a touch of Indian flavor: rosewater, rose petals and cardamom. If you don’t have those ingredients, we’ve provided substitutions in the preparation steps.

    Samin serves the Pavlova with fresh-brewed mint tea: Steep fresh mint leaves in boiling water.

     

    pavlova-swedish-midsummer-meringue-cake-http-_www.thedomesticfront.com_swedish-midsummer-strawberry-meringue-layer-cake_230

    A Pavlova Cake is called a Swedish Midsummer Cake in—you guessed it— Sweden. Here’s the recipe. Add blueberries for a July 4th red, white and blue theme. Photo courtesy Kate of TheDomesticFront.com.

     

    Ingredients For The Meringue

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces (about 3) large egg whites at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of saffron, ground in a mortar and pestle and dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water, cooled (substitute: water only)
  •  
    Ingredients For The Topping

  • 1 cup each sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, kept separate
  • 4 tablespoons rosewater
  • Dried rose petals (you can use rosebud tea) for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Preparation

    1. PLACE the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

    2. WHIP the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

    3. INCREASE the speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the saffron tea. Increase the speed a bit and whip until the meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

    4. SPOON the meringue into an 9-by-6-inch oval on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once the meringue is baked.

    5. PLACE the baking sheet in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 225°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp (dry to the touch on the outside) and white (not tan-colored or cracked). The interior should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on the meringue at least once during the baking time. If it appears to be taking on color or cracking, reduce the temperature 25 degrees and turn the pan around.

    6. GENTLY LIFT the meringue from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. It will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to a week, barring any humidity. While the meringue is baking…

    7. MACERATE the berries. In separate dishes, macerate each type of berry for at least 30 minutes with 1 tablespoon of rosewater (substitute orange liqueur or plain water) and 1 tablespoon sugar. This draws out their juices.

    8. ADD the cardamom (substitute: 1 teaspoon vanilla or orange extract or orange liqueur) and 1/4 cup sugar to the cream and whip to soft peaks.

    9. ASSEMBLE: Place the meringue on a serving dish and spoon in the whipped cream. Spoon the juicy berries atop the cream. Top with crushed dried rose petals (substitute: chopped pistachio nuts or mint leaf). Serve with fresh mint tea.

    Leave off the whipped cream and you have a cholesterol-free dessert with far fewer calories than a cake.
     
    WHAT IF THE COOKIE CRUMBLES?

    Don’t despair if your meringue cracks. If you can’t use it/them for a shell, simply create a “parfait” in a sundae dish or bowl, along with the berries and whipped cream.

    Or, use the same ingredients create a Pavlova version of an English Trifle.

      

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    JULY 4TH: Star-Shaped Sandwich Skewers

    We loved this idea from Smucker’s, which uses its creamy Jif peanut butter and seedless strawberry jam to make these charming sandwiches.

    You don’t have to use PB&J: Any sweet or savory spread will do. You can make some very sophisticated combinations for adults.

    Prep time is 15 minutes.

    RECIPE: STAR-SHAPED SANDWICH SKEWERS

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 3 slices white or whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon seedless strawberry jam
  • Large fresh strawberries, halved
  • Seedless green grapes
  • Skewers
  •  
    Variations

    You can use other spreads:

  • Chicken mousse pâté and fig jam
  • Cream cheese and raisins
  • Goat cheese and beets
  • Tapenade and julienne of carrots and celery
  •  

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    July 4th lunch or snacks. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.

     
    Try more sophisticated breads, too, like brioche, date nut bread, Irish soda bread, olive bread or walnut bread.
     

    Preparation

    1. CUT 10 shapes from bread using 2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter.

    2. SPREAD peanut butter (or ingredient of choice) on half the stars and jam on remaining stars. Press together to make five small sandwiches.

    3. THREAD the sandwiches, strawberry halves and grapes alternately onto skewer. Serve immediately.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: July 4th Recipes

    You’re a grand old pizza! Photo courtesy
    BevCooks.com.

     

    What are you dishing up for July 4th? While your tradition may be to turn on the grill, you can do that any day. How about some festive red, white and blue dishes?

    JULY 4TH BREAKFAST RECIPES

  • Red Velvet Pancakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blueberry Muffins (recipe)
  • Poached Eggs or Egg White Omelet With A Side Of Red & Blue Berries
  • Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast (recipe)
  •  
    JULY 4TH SIDE & MAIN DISH RECIPES

  • Apple Ginger Cole Slaw (recipe)
  • Blue Cheese & Red Vegetables (recipes)
  • Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberries(recipe)
  • Firecracker Macaroni & Cheese (recipe)
  • Patriotic Cheeseburger (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Star-Shaped Sandwich Skewers (recipe)
  • Tomato & Mozzarella Skewers (recipe)
  •  
    JULY 4TH SNACK RECIPES

  • American Flag Crudité Plate (recipe)
  • American Flag Fruit Skewers (photo)
  • Bacon Flag Pizza (recipe)
  • Cheese American Flag (recipe)
  • Marshmallow Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Popcorn (recipe)
  • Stuffed Celery (recipe)
  •  
    JULY 4TH BEVERAGE RECIPES

  • Red, White & Blue Layered Cocktail (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Shooter (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tequila Shooters (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Spicy Hot Lemonade (recipe)
  •  

    JULY 4TH DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2,
    recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  •  

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    Red, white and blue shortcake: a pretty way to celebrate. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s Berries.

     
    MORE JULY 4TH RECIPE IDEAS

  • More Recipes 1
  • More recipes 2
  •   

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    FOOD FUN: Pie Crust Cutters

    Surrounded by luscious spring and summer fruits, it’s hard not to want to bake a pie—or to learn how to bake one, if you’ve never dipped a toe in the oven.

    Two pie gadgets from Williams-Sonoma make even a novice seem like a sophisticated pie baker.

    LATTICE PIE CRUST CUTTER

    Like lattice crusts but lack the time or patience to make them?

    Williams-Sonoma offers this solution: a lattice pie crust cutter. It quickly and easily cuts a lattice-like crust from rolled-out dough.

    You simply place the lattice insert in the bottom of the gadget’s frame, then lay a sheet of rolled dough on top. To create the pattern, use a rolling pin to press the cutter into the dough. Lift off the insert and invert the latticed dough onto the pie.

    It’s not as dramatic as a hand-woven lattice, but it’s certainly more interesting than a solid top crust!

       

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    Press a lattice-style pie crust in 1-2-3. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    Get yours at Williams-Sonoma.com, $19.95.

     

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    A patriotic pie, indeed! Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.com.

     

    AMERICAN FLAG PIE CRUST CUTTER

    What we really love is this American flag pie crust cutter, also from Williams-Sonoma and also $19.95.

    While we try to avoid bringing single-use gadgets into our small kitchen, we made an exception for this one. Now, a patriotic pie will be our annual contribution to July 4th festivities.

    Get yours at Williams-Sonoma.com.

    Both inserts are designed for use with a 12″ diameter pastry crust.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Red Velvet Pancakes

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    Red velvet pancakes: use seasonal garnish
    for July 4th, Christmas, Valentine’s Day or
    Mother’s Day. Photo courtesy Taste Of
    Home.

     

    For a special Valentine’s Day breakfast, brunch or lunch, Taste Of Home magazine suggests these red velvet pancakes.

    Red food works for July 4th and Christmas, of course. Just vary the garnish:

  • Christmas: mint leaf or sliced kiwi (or make green whipped cream!)
  • Valentine’s Day: red berries
  • July 4th: whipped cream, crème fraîche or mascarpone; plus blueberries
  •  
    Note that the recipe below is for a party-size batch of pancakes—five batches of 16 pancakes per batch.

    However, the mixed dry ingredients can be divided into five batches, which can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. You can use the recipe as a guide to make smaller amounts.

    Or, make the five-batch lot, and give the four extra batches as Valentine gifts—tied with a red ribbon.

     
    RECIPE: RED VELVET PANCAKES

    Prep time is: 30 minutes, cooking time is 15 minutes per batch.

    Ingredients For 5 Batches (10 Cups Mix Total)

  • 10 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 6 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  •  
    Additional Ingredients (For Each Batch)

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • Butter and maple syrup
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Place 2 cups in each of five resealable plastic bags or containers.

    2. PREPARE pancakes: Pour the mix into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and food coloring. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.

    3. POUR the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

    4. SERVE with butter and syrup.

      

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