Sweet Independence: 3 festive red, white and blue desserts for a memorable 4th

By Katalin Nagy
Wealth of Geeks

Marked by sights of fireworks across the nation and the red, white and blue colors of the American flag at every corner, the 4th of July is one of America’s most well-known national holidays, with 84% of Americans celebrating it.

However, this festive holiday is more than just fireworks. It is a day full of American history, tradition, and delicious food.

What exactly do we celebrate on the 4th of July?

Also known as Independence Day, the Fourth of July commemorates the Declaration of Independence, which the Second Continental Congress voted for on July 2, 1776, and officially ratified on July 4, 1776.

In the Declaration of Independence, the country’s Founding Fathers declared that the former 13 North American colonies were no longer under the political rule of Great Britain and were now free and independent states.

On this date, the United States was officially born.

It’s been a federal holiday since June 28, 1870, and since then one of the most important holidays in the country, with more than 8 out of 10 Americans celebrating it.

Popular 4th of July traditions

Each year, millions of people celebrate July 4 with parades, barbeques, festivals, concerts, carnivals, sporting events, political speeches and family gatherings. Homes and public areas are often decorated in red, white, and blue to match the American flag’s iconic colors.

However, the most popular tradition among all is the evening fireworks, with nearly 14,000 incredible pyrotechnic shows lighting up the sky across the nation. The most popular display is the Macy’s fireworks show in New York City, using more than 75,000 fireworks shells costing an estimated $6 million.

Typical 4th of July Fare

Backyard barbecues, including grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, are a staple during the 4th of July.

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans eat approximately 150 million hot dogs every 4th of July.

It is also common to find side items such as potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw, corn on the cob and baked beans on the table.

Don’t forget about the dessert table. Here are three easy-to-make festive recipes.

Popular 4th of July Dessert Recipes

American Flag Cake

This delectable and colorful American Flag Cake is a showstopper to close any 4th of July BBQ. This festive dessert isn’t just eye-catching but is also super decadent, made with an easy moist sheet cake topped with a light cream cheese frosting and vibrant fresh berries arranged like the iconic American flag.

Ingredients

For the sheet cake
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
4 room-temperature eggs
1 cup room temperature yogurt (thick Greek or Turkish style)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

For the cream cheese frosting
2½ cups full-fat cream cheese
¾ cups full-fat mascarpone
¾ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the strawberry and blueberry decoration
3½ cups fresh medium-sized strawberries (cut into half)
⅔ cups fresh blueberries

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 356°F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.

Whisk the yogurt, eggs, sugar and oil. Add the vanilla extract.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl.

Fold dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) into the egg mixture.

Pour the cake batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake at 356°F for 30 minutes then let it come to room temperature in the pan before frosting.

Whip the cream cheese, mascarpone and powdered sugar until fluffy then whip in vanilla extract.

Apply half of the frosting in a thin layer to the surface of the sheet cake.

Arrange the strawberries and blueberries as shown in the photo.

Add the second half of the frosting to a piping bag and apply it between the lines of strawberries resembling the American flag. Store refrigerated.

Chef’s Tip: Stop whipping the frosting as soon as it reaches a fluffy consistency. Overwhipping can result in a runny frosting that will break.

4th of July Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies get a patriotic upgrade for Independence Day, and we know that you’ll love it. These red, white and blue cookies will be the easiest dessert to make for a 4th July party. Founding Fathers approved.

Ingredients

⅔ cups room-temperature unsalted butter
⅓ cups brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 room-temperature egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅓ cup white chocolate chips
⅔ cups red and blue M&Ms

Instructions

Whip the butter with the brown and granulated sugar for a few minutes.

Mix in the egg and vanilla.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda, and fold into the egg mixture. Do not overmix.

Fold in the white chocolate chips and M&Ms. Reserve some left to press onto the cookie dough before baking.

Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 10 equal balls and place 5 cookies on each tray.

Place the dough in the fridge to rest for one hour. Preheat the oven to 347°F.

Once the dough is chilled, press the leftover white chocolate chips and M&Ms onto the dough and bake the cookies for 15 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store at room temperature.

Chef’s Tip: To achieve perfectly round shape cookies, use a large-diameter cookie cutter and apply circular movements around the cookies when they are straight out of the oven and still hot.

4th of July Cupcakes

These 4th of July Cupcakes are a delicious way to show off your American spirit. Decorated in patriotic red, white and blue to match the American flag, this festive and easy-to-make dessert will be the star of your Independence Day gathering.

Ingredients

For the red, white blue cupcakes
½ cup room temperature unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 room-temperature egg
1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cups room temperature whole milk
½ teaspoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon baking soda
Red and Blue gel food coloring

For the cream cheese frosting
1 cup full-fat cream cheese
½ cup full-fat mascarpone
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Blue gel food coloring
Sprinkles

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 347°F.

Cream together the room-temperature butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whip in the egg. Do not overbeat.

Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder (dry ingredients). The room temperature milk is the wet ingredient.

Fold the wet and dry ingredients into the batter in the following four steps: wet, dry, wet, dry.

Mix the vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl and fold into the cupcake batter.

Divide the mixture into three portions. Use food coloring to turn two of the portions into red and blue.

Add all 3 mixtures into a cupcake pan until ¾ full.

Bake for 25 minutes at 347°F. Cool them on a cooling rack before decorating.

Whip the mascarpone, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pipeable.

Divide the frosting into two portions and add the blue food coloring to one portion.

Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a nozzle tip.

Pipe the frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles. Store refrigerated.

Chef’s Tip: Use high-quality gel food coloring that does not break the cupcake batter and frosting and provides the best red and blue color.

Celebrating Together

The 4th of July is an eventful holiday for celebrating with family and friends. It is also an excellent time to learn about our nation’s history and progression throughout the decades. Whether enjoying the delicious food and desserts from home or at a large event, it’s always a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the independence of America and how far the nation has come since the 18th century.

This post was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks and made available through the Associated Press.