Sweet Independence: Patriotic Desserts for Your July 4th Bash

They can take away our fireworks, but they can't take away our patriotic desserts. I scoured the Interwebs for a few sweet, flag-themed treats to add a spark to your dessert table this weekend.

Stock up early on the basics, like red and white fruit: strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, raspberries. I'm guessing they will be in short supply soon.

Red, White and Blue Trifle Recipe

Everyone's favorite thematic cook Sandra Lee has created this layered dessert with just four ingredients! Sandra Lee's July 4th tablescape must look like some sort of Independence Day orgy took place.

Her Red, White and Blue Trifle takes two hours total and requires one box of red velvet cake, one tub of whipped topping, blueberries and strawberries. No word on what happens if you sub in raspberries for strawberries.

Star Spangled Fruit Tart

This recipe for a Star Spangled Fruit Tart comes from a top 10 list of patriotic desserts compiled by Taste of Home. I'm a sucker for a cream cheese filling, and I love the idea of using cookie dough as tart crust here. Why am I not using cookie dough as a crust in more of my desserts? I need to remedy this situation.

Total tart time: approximately one hour, including prep, baking and cooling. You'll need a pre-made sugar cookie dough, cream cheese, sugar, almond extract, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Flag Cookies

Add a little hand-held patriotic fun to the party with these flag cookies from Pastry Wiz, via Martha Stewart. It's a simple sugar cookie recipe, decorated with blue and white food coloring. A-feared of the food colorings? Ice and decorate with fresh red-and-blue fruits of your choice.

The dough in this recipe requires chilling for one hour, so make these cookies ahead of time. You'll need the usual suspects for making sugar cookies, as well as a plain, white icing. If you're feeling really crazy, substitute a cream cheese icing; I think sugar cookies and cream cheese icing go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Patriotic Cupcakes

Cupcakes are another way to honor the way the US handily defeated the British! Try these Patriotic Cupcakes that employ fruit leather as the stripes for the flag motif, while blueberries serve as the stars. You can find all-natural brands of fruit leather at some supermarkets, but I'm curious--do they still make Fruit Roll-Ups?

This recipe requires reconstituting dried cherries for the batter. Total time from prep to decoration spans approximately two hours; consider making these confections the day before your party.

Fruit Pizza

Probably my favorite dessert in the world, Fruit Pizza can be topped with any combination of your favorite fruits, but for July 4th stick with blue and white. Keep this recipe handy for other holidays, though--think kiwi and oranges on St. Patrick's Day or an all-red Valentine's Day pie.

In a search for variations on the theme I found this recipe for individual fruit pizzas. Consider my mind officially blown.

Stars and Stripes Forever Dessert

Heavy on fruit, the recipe for the Stars and Stripes Forever dessert appeals to the "Let's Move" patriot in me, with emphasis on fresh produce rather than processed sugar. Sure, there is a sugary dip and some pastries, but the emphasis here is on fresh fruit. Your health-conscious guests will love you.

Total time from prep to finish is approximately 95 minutes, but the dip does require chilling, so time your preparation accordingly.

Have a safe and happy July 4th, everyone!

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