If you want your Fourth of July celebration to sparkle, you need a great patriotic dessert. Something that involves stars, stripes and red, white and blue.
There's nothing wrong with being a bit of a show-off for this last piece of the Independence Day party menu, even if the burgers off the grill were outstanding.
Let's face it, there's no competition: Everybody wants to know what's for dessert. They want to know ahead of time, too, so they can savor the thought of digging into something sweet and special.
So, if you're the one hosting, go for the Banana Split with Dulce Leche and Strawberries. Of course, you can offer any kind of sundae and you'll have a happy crowd, but this one combines some great flavors.
If you're the one doing the bringing, the Flag Cake made with cake balls is an eye-popper. And, if a classic pie is your specialty, then the one here with stars for the crust, filled with apples, rhubarb and raspberries, will be remembered for a long time.
Blogger Jessica Walker from Lil Miss Bossy shares a festive dessert. Check bettycrocker.com for more cake recipes.
While this recipe calls for red, white and blue candy melts, if you can't find those colors, you can buy just white ones and tint them.
Cake Ball Flag Cake
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container whipped vanilla frosting
1 bag (14 ounces) red candy melts
1 bag (14 ounces) white candy melts
1 cup blue candy melts (from 14-ounce bag)
Red sugar crystals, if desired
White sparkling sugar, if desired
Blue sugar crystals, if desired
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 13-by-9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Crumble cake into large bowl. Add frosting; mix well.
Using 1-inch scoop, shape mixture into balls; place on cookie sheet. Freeze about 45 minutes, or until firm. When firm, transfer to refrigerator.
In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave red candy melts uncovered on high 90 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 15-second increments until melted and smooth.
Remove a few balls from refrigerator at a time. Using 2 forks, dip and roll 1 ball at a time in red coating. Return to cookie sheet; immediately sprinkle with red sugar crystals, if using. Dip a total of 28 cake balls in red coating.
Repeat melting instructions for white candy melts. Dip a total of 23 cake balls in white coating; immediately sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
Repeat melting instructions for blue candy melts. Dip remaining 12 cake balls in blue coating; immediately sprinkle with blue sugar crystals. Refrigerate all coated cake balls about 10 minutes or until set.
On serving tray, arrange cake balls in flag pattern in 7 rows, starting from the bottom: 1 row of 9 red balls, 1 row of 9 white balls, 1 more row of 9 red balls, 1 more row of 9 white balls, 1 row of 4 blue balls and 5 red balls, 1 row of 4 blue balls and 5 white balls, and 1 more row of 4 blue balls and 5 red balls. Store tightly covered. Serve at room temperature.
Tips: To keep the candy coating smooth, place bowl in pan of hot water while you are dipping. Or it can be reheated in the microwave if too thick to coat.
These cake balls are great to make ahead and freeze, wrapped tightly, until your party.
Decorate the cake with red, white and blue candy sprinkles instead of colored sugar, or use star-shaped candy sprinkles for an even more patriotic touch.
If you are a pie baker that finds frozen roll-out dough the answer to your worries about a good crust, feel free to substitute the store-bought variety for the recipe.
Apple, Rhubarb and Raspberry Pie with Almond Star Crust
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice or ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples
2 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened sliced rhubarb
1 cup frozen red raspberries
Almond Star Crust (below)
Water or milk
Coarse sugar (optional)
1. In a large bowl, stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, flour and apple pie spice.
Add apples, frozen rhubarb and frozen raspberries; toss gently to coat. Let stand about 45 minutes, or until frozen fruit is partially thawed but still icy.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare Almond Star Crust, or unroll frozen ones. On a lightly floured surface, roll one pastry ball into a 12-inch circle. Ease pastry circle into a 9-inch pie plate without stretching it. Stir fruit mixture; transfer to pastry-lined pie plate. Trim pastry even with pie plate rim.
3. Roll remaining pastry ball into a 12-inch circle (or unroll second dough circle). Using a 1/2- to 1-inch star-shape cutter, cut out pastry to make 28 to 30 tiny stars; set aside. Using 2- and 3-inch star-shape cutters, cut remaining pastry into stars. Reroll scraps to cut additional stars. Try not to overwork the dough, or it will become tough.
4. Lightly brush edge of pastry in pie plate with water. Place tiny stars in a single layer on edge of pie. Place remaining stars on top of pie (some filling will show through). If desired, lightly brush cutouts with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
5. Cover edge of pie loosely with foil. Place pie on middle oven rack. Line a baking sheet with foil; place on bottom rack to catch any drips. Bake 50 minutes. Remove foil from pie. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.
Almond Star Crust
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground toasted almonds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, cut up, or shortening
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
In a large bowl stir together flour, ground almonds and salt.
Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea size. If desired, sprinkle with almond extract; toss gently with a fork.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour mixture; toss gently with fork. Push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Gather flour mixture into a ball, kneading gently until it holds together. Divide pastry in half; form halves into balls.
Better Homes & Gardens
BANANA SPLIT WITH DULCE DE LECHE AND STRAWBERRIES
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 banana, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups coconut or vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup strawberries, stemmed and sliced, plus 3 small strawberries, stemmed
1/4 cup dulce de leche or other caramel sauce
2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until cream holds soft peaks.
2. Place banana slices in a long, narrow, shallow dish. Arrange 3 scoops of ice cream on top of banana. Spoon sliced strawberries over ice cream and drizzle with about half of the dulce de leche sauce. Top with whipped cream, drizzle with more dulce de leche and sprinkle with coconut. Top each mound of ice cream and whipped cream with a small strawberry. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.