For political junkies, election night is the biggest event of the year. But once you’ve done your civic duty and voted, all that’s left to do is wait. And there’s no reason to do it alone. So, why not throw a party?
Of course that means you have to pull out some summer decorations. What? Well, you’re going to need some red, white and blue accents to get the party going. So, dig around in your box of Fourth of July stuff and put some of it to work.
One must-have: Post a sign on the front door to leave all political arguments outside.
As for the food, well, you can go two ways: Come up with some cute names to label regular appetizers, like Bipartisan Pizza Bundles and Election Star Sandwich Cookies, or put real names like Rachael Ray’s Donkey Tails and Elephant Ears to good use on the buffet table.
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If you’re looking for some easy food fixes, try these:
Divide red and blue jelly beans into clear glass jars. Add plastic shot glasses for distribution.
Cast Your Vote Cake: Make any sheet cake, frost it half red and the other half blue. Pipe white icing around edges and down middle to make them look like two boxes. Then use the white icing to make a big check mark or X in each box.
Buy red and blue sprinkles, melt some vanilla or chocolate candy melts and go to town: Dip apples, marshmallows (then put on sticks or skewers) and pretzel rods, or ice sugar cookies. Add sprinkles.
Blue State adult beverages: Blue Moon, Labatt Blue (a Canadian pilsner) or Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Red State specials: Jamaican classic Red Stripe, Killian’s Irish Red, or if you want to stay all-American, good old-fashioned Budweiser with the red label.
Elephant Ears and Donkey Tails
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon.
Dust a work surface with some cinnamon sugar. Unfold 1 sheet of the thawed dough onto the sugared surface and roll out into a 10-by-13-inch rectangle. Spread more cinnamon sugar over the dough to cover. Repeat with the second sheet of dough and place on top of the first; sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top to cover.
To make Elephant Ears: With the long side of the dough facing you, fold over 1 inch of dough from the left end. Repeat the same fold on the right side. Repeat this process, folding the dough over itself until the two sides meet in the middle. Fold the left side so that it rests on top of the right side, forming a cylinder. Roll the cylinder of dough gently on the countertop to help keep its shape. If the dough seems soft at this point, place on a plate and freeze for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice crosswise. Place the slices on 3 parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through, until golden and puffy, about 10 minutes.
To make Donkey Tails: With the long side of the dough facing you, and using a knife or pizza cutter, slice the dough crosswise into thin strips. Take each strip and lightly twist together. Place on 3 parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets. Make two cuts at each end of the twists and fan the pieces out. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through, until golden and puffy, 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the cookie sheets to racks to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto racks to cool completely. Makes 40.
Tip: Bake these a day before, then crisp them up in a 350-degrees oven for a few minutes before serving.
Bipartisan Pizza Pie Bundle
Grab several 8-inch round cake pans and make a bunch of these for your party crowd.
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated classic pizza crust
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup pizza sauce
25 slices pepperoni (about 1 3/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Unroll dough; press or roll to form 14-by-10-inch rectangle. Place in sprayed pan with sides of dough extending evenly over sides of pan. Lightly press dough in bottom and up sides of pan.
Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over dough. Spread pizza sauce evenly over cheese. Top with pepperoni and remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
With scissors, make 2-inch cut at each corner of dough. Bring all ends of dough together at center; twist to secure at top of pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Serves 4.
Election Star Sandwich Cookies
Roll of refrigerator sugar cookie dough
Raspberry or strawberry jam
Plain, red and blue decorator sugar
Cut dough and roll out slightly. Cut with star cookie cutter. Bake according to package directions.
Let cool slightly, then sprinkle half the cookies with sugar. Cool completely. Spread a thin amount of jam on flat side of plain cookie. Press the flat side of a sugared cookie against the jam to make a sandwich. Make an equal number of sandwich cookies.
Adapted from Martha Stewart