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Stars, Stripes and Sweets: desserts for the Fourth of July

Want to make Fourth of July weekend a treat?

You don’t have to limit your patriotism to a high-flying flag this Friday, July 4. Spread the red, white and blue to your table with a festive array of desserts that will sweeten up any Independence Day celebration. (These also work quite nicely for cheering on the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 2014 World Cup.)

Take the cake (or pie)

These desserts show their colors on the inside as well as out. Serve a slice of American Flag Pie from blogger The Winthrop Chronicles, made with cherries, strawberries, blueberries and pastry stars. Bakerette’s 4th of July Firecracker Cake uses boxed ingredients and dyed batter for a simple – but bright – Bundt with drizzled frosting. For a more compact bite, 4th of July Cake Pops from Southern bloggers Trish and Bonnie will make an edible flag-themed centerpiece.

The smartest cookies

Forget the forks with Red, White & Blue Funfetti sandwich cookies from Two Peas & Their Pod. The dough is full of red and blue sprinkles; a homemade buttercream frosting holds the sandwiches together. If your guest list has Rice Krispie fans, try two flag-inspired takes: blogger Itsy Bitsy Foodies uses sprinkles, while Lil’ Luna dyes the cereal with food coloring.

A frozen Fourth

Cool off with Red Velvet Shortbread Ice Cream Sandwiches, using star cookies and a cheesecake ice cream. A Farmgirl’s Dabbles explains how to churn and freeze your own filling; if you’re short on time, substitute vanilla ice cream. For a patriotic popsicles, Kraft Foods has an easy-to-make recipe for Rocket Pops with layered Cool Whip, colored Jello and a five-hour freeze time.

Bring on the fruit

Strawberries get in the spirit with cream-filled and chocolate-dipped recipes. Bakers Royale hollows out the berries and fills them with vodka-infused whipped cream, then tops each one with a blueberry. Try coating strawberries in white chocolate and blue sugar like the Sisters Café for a striped version.

The lighter bites

There are plenty of healthier dessert options with just as much pizazz. A strawberry and blueberry trifle served with sweetened condensed milk and angel food cake has a mere 170 calories per serving, says blogger Skinny Taste, while a panna cotta parfait made with whole milk and gelatin is heavy on fresh currants and blueberries. Get the recipe from Martha Stewart.

What are your 4th of July favorites? See main course ideas for the weekend celebrations on Flavor 574’s Pinterest board.

Follow Flavor 574’s board A Festive Fourth of July on Pinterest.

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