Five Fun Fourth of July Desserts

Thursday, 30 Jun 2011 05:03 PM

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This Fourth of July, break away from the typical American flag sheet cake and treat your family and friends to a unique and delicious treat.

We’ve got five fun desserts that are sure to be a hit:

1. Meringue Berry Bowls: The recipe for these delicate individual desserts is simple and health-conscious. With just 125 calories per serving, you can indulge in more than one!

- Ingredients :
4 egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
¾ cup sugar
1 cup raspberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup blackberries
¼ additional cup of sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 250 degree F. Cover 2 baking sheets with nonstick foil.
2. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar a few tablespoons at a time, beating constantly, until fully incorporated, 5 to 7 minutes; meringue should form glossy, stiff peaks, without sugar granules.
3. Transfer meringue to large re-sealable plastic bag. Snip off a corner and pipe eight 3-1/2-inch round outlines onto prepared baking sheets. Fill in outlines with a small amount of meringue, spreading with spatula. Build walls on top of base at edges using a continuous stream of meringue. Do not pipe higher than 1-1/4 inches, as walls may fall over. There should be a total of 8 bowls.
4. Bake at 250 degree F for 50 minutes; the meringues should be firm but not yet brown. Remove baking sheets to wire racks to cool. Once meringues have cooled, gently peel them from the foil. If meringues are sticking, cut around them and remove from the baking sheet, with the foil attached to the meringue, then slowly and carefully peel the foil from the bottom of the meringue. To prepare ahead, bake, cool and store meringues in airtight container at room temperature for a day or two. If meringues are soft or moist, return to a 250 degree F oven for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, toss together berries, sugar and orange juice in large bowl.
6. Place a meringue bowl on a dessert plate. Fill with 1/4 cup of the berry mixture. Repeat with all bowls and berries.

2. Frozen Tiramisu with Berries: The frozen version of a popular Italian dessert, frozen tiramisu is the perfect treat on a hot day. An added bonus: prep time is just 10 minutes!

Ingredients:
1 pint coffee-flavored frozen yogurt
3 tbsp. chocolate sauce
1 tbsp. instant coffee granules
1 container (8 oz.) frozen light whipped topping, thawed
1 package (3 oz.) soft ladyfingers
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
+ Red and Blue berries for garnishing

Directions:
1. Soften frozen yogurt on countertop for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine chocolate syrup, coffee granules and 1 tablespoon warm water in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat frozen yogurt with 2/3 cup of the whipped topping until good spreading consistency. Place half the ladyfingers on bottom of an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish, spreading to cover as much as possible. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture. Working quickly, spread with 1 cup of the frozen yogurt mixture. Top with 1 cup whipped topping. Repeat layers (ladyfingers, chocolate sauce mixture, frozen yogurt, whipped topping).
4. Dust top with cocoa; cover with plastic wrap. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight. Let soften slightly before serving
5. Serve with berries and whipped topping for a more patriotic look.

3. Star-spangled shortcake: Put a festive spin on a summer favorite with this patriotic dessert from Martha Stewart’s website.

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. baking powder
12 tsp. salt
12 tsp. (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3½ cups plus 2 to 3 tbsp. heavy cream
1 large egg
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries
2 pints strawberries, cut in half or quarters, depending on size
½ pint red currants (optional)
Confectioners' sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter; use a pastry cutter or two knives to incorporate butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Blend 2 cups heavy cream into flour mixture using a fork. Turn out onto a clean work surface; press away from you with the heel of your hand just to combine dough. Add 1 tablespoon cream if the dough is too dry to combine.
3. Prepare egg wash: Place egg and 2 tablespoons cream in a small bowl, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
4. Press dough into a 7-by-10-inch rectangle, 1 inch thick. Use a 3 1/2-inch star cutter to cut out six biscuits. Press three of the stars to flatten slightly. Form into a ring on a parchment-lined baking sheet, alternating flattened stars with unflattened stars, using egg wash to join them along common edge. Gather remaining dough; cut out four more stars for additional servings, if desired. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove dough from refrigerator. Brush top of star ring and individual stars with egg wash, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.
5. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees; continue baking until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. Combine raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, red currants (if using), and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Allow berries to macerate for at least 30 minutes, until very juicy. Whip remaining 1 1/2 cups cream to soft peaks.
7. Use a serrated knife to cut star ring in half crosswise. Cut the four extra stars as well. Use two large offset spatulas to carefully lift the top half of the ring, and set aside, leaving the spatulas in place. Set aside tops of stars as well. Transfer bottom of ring to a serving platter. Transfer bottoms of stars to plates, if desired. Spoon macerated berries, juices, and whipped cream over star ring and additional stars. Place the tops on the star ring and stars using the spatulas, and dust with confectioners' sugar, if using. Serve immediately.

4. Firecracker ice pops: Kids and adults alike will love this homemade classic.

Ingredients:
½ pound strawberries, hulled and quartered (1 ½ cups)
¼ cup sugar
½ pound blueberries (1 ½ cups)
1 ¼ cups low-fat plain yogurt

Directions:
In a food processor, puree strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar. Transfer to a small bowl. In processor, puree blueberries with 1 tablespoon sugar. In another small bowl, whisk together yogurt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Pour the 3 mixtures, alternating, into ten 3-ounce ice-pop molds, making 3 to 5 layers in each. With a skewer or thin-bladed knife, swirl mixtures together in an up-and-down motion. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until solid, 2 1/2 to 3 hours (or up to 1 week).

5. Buttercake sundaes: This inventive dessert is super decadent and easy to make. There’s cake inside the ice cream cone, so you get two desserts in one.

Ingredients:
1cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium-high for about 1 minute. Add sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with buttermilk, and beating on low after each addition until combined.
3. Stretch heavy-duty foil across a deep soufflé dish. Cut about 10 holes in top to hold rolled sugar ice cream cones. Place cones upright in dish. Pipe or spoon batter into cones to fill 2/3 to 3/4 full, making sure to get batter into the bottom of the cones. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
4. Top with sorbet, ice cream, nonpareils, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Makes 24 cupcakes.


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