Some holidays are all about traditions, like having turkey on Thanksgiving and eggnog on Christmas, so the 4th of July should naturally have a little more sizzle and pop right? There are fireworks, after all. After barbecuing all day, these desserts are the perfect grand finale for any 4th of July feast.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
-These decadent brownies have so many yummy ingredients, they are almost impossible to dislike. And the red and white colors are very festive for the fourth!
? 1/2 cup butter
? 2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
? 1 cup sugar
? 2 large eggs
? 1 tsp vanilla extract
? 1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
? 2/3 cup all purpose flour
? 1/4 tsp salt
? 8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
? 1/3 cup sugar
? 1 large egg
? 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
2. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir until combined and very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Add flour and salt and stir until combined, with no streaks of dry ingredients remaining.
4. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
5. To prepare cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until smooth. Distribute the cheesecake mixture in 8 dollops over batter in the pan. Swirl in with a knife or spatula.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
Let cool completely in pan on a cooling rack before lifting out the parchment paper to remove the brownies.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
-A classic treat all done up for Independence Day. Just add sprinkles!
16 ounces white chocolate
2 tablespoons shortening
1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
One bottle blue sprinkles
-Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
-In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. -Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
-Dip strawberries in sprinkles.
-Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into Styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.
Independence Day Cake
-This very patriotic cake is not as hard as it seems, meaning first-time bakers can whip it up without a problem!
Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
3 1/2 cups Bleached All Purpose Flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 tablespoon blue food coloring
* Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
2 cups butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 (13 oz.) jar marshmallow cream
Fresh blueberries and strawberries (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350º F. Coat three 8-inch round pans with no-stick cooking spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper, cut to fit. Coat paper with no-stick cooking spray.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl. Add buttermilk and shortening. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg whites, vanilla and almond extract. Beat an additional 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
3. Pour 1/3 (about 2 cups) of batter into prepared pan. Divide remaining batter into 2 medium bowls. Stir in food coloring to make one red batter and one blue batter. Pour batter into remaining pans. Tap pans on counter several times to remove air bubbles.
4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before removing from pan. Remove cake and cool completely on wire rack.
5. Beat butter in a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until fluffy. Beat in almond extract. Stir in marshmallow cream until well blended.
6. Place blue cake layer on cake plate and generously frost top. Stack white layer and generously frost top. Add red layer, frosting top and sides of all three layers. Garnish with fresh blueberries and strawberries, if desired.