Star cookies can add to any Fourth of July table. Read on for some recipes and party ideas Photo by: thebakermama.com
June 20, 2018 10:51:25 AM
In two short weeks, we'll be showing our red, white and blue. In my family tribe, I get to celebrate Independence Day twice -- once on July 4, with sister, nieces and nephews, and again a few days later when my husband's large family holds an annual 'Round the Fourth Shrimp Boil.
The bottom line is -- I have two occasions to take food to, especially dessert, so I'm always trolling for themed ideas this time of year. I've looked at dozens, but am including recipes today for three "likelys." They all involve berries because, let's face it, they're our best natural source for the desired patriotic palette.
Star cookies, a recipe from thebakermama.com, are easy on ingredients and have lots of "pretty." A citrus berry tart, a recipe that began with Burrowing Owl Bakery in Iowa City, is more involved, but shows you care. A no-bake icebox cake? Now, that sounds up my alley. The recipe is from lifemadesweeter.com.
Food aside, I'm just as interested in ideas for activities and decor. Any time I happen to be hosting, I get more joy from adding special touches than any guest does who notices them.
One I've personally used before is a history trivia challenge. On that occasion, it was geared more or less for youngsters, but you can tailor the questions for any age, i.e.: "What famous character with a stars-and-stripes top hat became a symbol of America? Cat in the Hat? Uncle Sam? Captain America?" to "What was the first state added to the original 13? Kentucky? Vermont? Ohio?" (Answer: Vermont.)
I jotted out questions on slips of paper and we passed around the basket, drawing at random. Last patriot standing got a prize.
Here's a really easy one: Fill a jar or fishbowl with red, white and blue candies and have guests write their name and guess of how many are in it. Winner gets the goodies, and whatever other prize you'd like to add.
Readers Digest suggests a scavenger hunt, with guests given clues to search for mini versions (or even illustrations) of a liberty bell, Declaration of Independence, flags and other symbols of Americana.
Another idea is a patriotic balloon pop. Put "You Win" notes inside deflated red, white and blue balloons before blowing them up and decorate your party site with them. Have guests pop them to find out if they win a prize.
You get the idea. Adding a little something extra -- at the dessert table or just for fun -- can help make for a fabulous Fourth.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
24 strawberries, thinly sliced
1 cup blueberries
(Source: Maegan at thebakermama.com)
Shortbread pastry crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut in 8 pieces, at room temperature
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons butter, cut in 4 pieces
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
Fresh blueberries and/or chopped strawberries
Citrus curls (optional)
NO BAKE BERRY ICEBOX CAKE
3 1/2 cups freshly whipped cream, divided (or can use 3 1/2 cups of your favorite whipped topping like Cool Whip)
1 each 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
12 graham crackers
2 1/2 cups mixture of fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and hulled and sliced strawberries, divided leaving the prettiest slices for the top
Crushed graham cracker crumbs
Drizzle of chocolate
Powdered sugar for dusting
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.