Independence Day calls for a celebration with plenty of fanfare, and I think there’s no better way to celebrate this patriotic holiday than with friends, family and food.
With sparklers to light, there’s no time for a lot of fussing in the kitchen, so I like to host a potluck. Nothing is as friendly, down-home and all-American as a “pitch-in” for a block party or backyard gathering. Invite everyone to bring their favorite dish to celebrate neighborhood, family and nation.
Pull out all the stops with the traditional holiday colors of the Fourth:
+ Dress up your flowers beds and window boxes with red, white and blue annuals. If you have enough space – and ambition! – plant them to resemble a flag.
+ Freeze blueberries and cubes of watermelon to use as “ice” for keeping lemonade cold.
+ Light red, white and blue votive candles to keep the night sparkling after the fireworks are over.
Create your own fireworks when you bring out this starringrole treat as the centerpiece on a dessert buffet. Red, White & Blueberry Torte is a patriotic treat bursting with chocolate morsels: The cake-like bottom is layered with a fluffy cream cheese and whipped topping mixture and decorated with colorful seasonal fruit. Blueberries and strawberries on the field of white make a festive statement for the Fourth of July.
Red, White and
Blueberry Torte Makes 8 to 10 servings
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon water 1-1/2 cups (9-ounces) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Morsels, divided 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided 2 large eggs 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 of an 8-ounce container frozen light whipped topping, thawed
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Line 9-inch-round cake pan with wax paper; grease paper.
COMBINE 3/4 cup sugar, butter and water in small, heavyduty saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add 3/4 cup morsels; stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add flour, baking soda and salt; stir until well blended. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup morsels. Pour into prepared cake pan.
BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert torte onto wire rack; remove wax paper. Turn right side up; cool completely.
BEAT cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until creamy. Stir in whipped topping. Spread over torte; top with berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
+ Nutrition Information per serving: 540 calories; 290 calories from fat; 32 g total fat; 21 g saturated fat; 105 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 58 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 42 g sugars; 7 g protein
Jenny Harper is Senior Culinary Specialist for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.