The Fourth of July is traditionally associated with food, family, and celebration. It also frequently refers to patriotic desserts in red, white, and blue. Even if you're not hosting a big party this year, watching fireworks without a great dessert won't be the same. So take a look at our collection of the most inventive patriotic desserts and choose your favorite.
- American Flag Ice Cream Cake
This ice cream cake in red, white, and blue is likely to become a 4th of July favorite. Thanks to a press-in-the-pan crust consisting of shortbread biscuit crumbs, it's a lot easier than it appears. Then it's just a matter of stacking on jam and homemade ice cream that doesn't require churning. The stripes are easily created using parchment templates.
- Two 10-ounce boxes shortbread cookies, such as Lorna Doone (about 60 cookies)
- One 1.2-ounce package freeze-dried strawberries
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Two 13-ounce jars blueberry jam (about 3 cups)
- 3 cups cold heavy cream
- 2 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons blue nonpareil sprinkles
- 2 tablespoons white star-shaped candies
- Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
- Pulse the shortbread cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and set aside. Add the freeze-dried strawberries to the food processor and pulse until finely ground. Remove 1/4 cup of the ground strawberries to a separate bowl and set aside. Reserve 1 cup of the cookie crumbs for the topping. Add the rest of the cookie crumbs to the food processor along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the brown sugar and pulse to combine. With the processor running, drizzle in the butter and continue to process until the crumbs are coated and the mixture resembles wet sand. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the jam over the crust and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze while you make the ice cream.
- Whip the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer to low speed. Add the sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the vanilla, then raise the mixer to medium speed and beat until combined and the mixture has soft peaks.
- Pour the cream mixture over the jam and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours.
- Meanwhile, cut six 3/4-inch-thick strips of parchment that are at least 13 inches long. Cut a 4-by-5-inch square from parchment as well.
- Using the foil overhang, lift the assembled dessert out of the pan and place onto a cutting board with a long side facing you. Sprinkle the reserved shortbread crumbs to cover the ice cream layer completely in an even layer. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the confectioners' sugar over the shortbread crumbs in an even layer until the top is completely white.
- Place the 4-by-5-inch piece of parchment on the top left-hand corner of the desert. Arrange the parchment strips in even intervals across the cake, starting 3/4-inch from the top and stopping 3/4-inch from the bottom. Using the fine-mesh sieve, dust the reserved ground strawberries in an even layer over top of stencils. Carefully remove all the parchment templates. Sprinkle the blue sprinkles over the blocked-off corner area in an even layer. Scatter the star candies on top of the blue sprinkles. Slice into 12 equal pieces using a sharp knife to serve.
- No-Bake Berry Cheesecakes
Avoid turning on the oven on this already hot summer day by opting for this delicious no-bake cheesecake recipe.
For the crust:
- 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
For the cheesecake layers:
- 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 8 oz. package frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 2 tbsp. strawberry jam
- 1 tbsp. blueberry jam
- Red and blue food coloring gel, optional
- 3 strawberries, stemmed and diced
- 1/4 c. blueberries
- whipped cream, for garnish
- Additional berries, for garnish
- In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Divide the crumbs evenly between four small glass dessert cups and press down. Set aside while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add in the thawed frozen whipped topping and beat mixture until creamy and fluffy, scraping the sides as needed to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Divide the mixture equally between three bowls. Add the strawberry jam to one bowl and the blueberry jam to another. Stir to combine. Add a little tiny bit of red food coloring to the strawberry mixture and a little bit of blue to the blueberry mixture if desired (I did this just to brighten the colors a bit).
- Pipe or spoon a quarter of the strawberry cheesecake layer into the bottom of each prepared graham cracker crust. Sprinkle with diced strawberries. Repeat with the vanilla cheesecake layer and sprinkle with blueberries. Finish by piping or spooning the blueberry layer on top.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Cover with plastic wrap if you’re leaving them in the fridge for longer than a few hours.
- Garnish with whipped cream and additional berries right before serving.
- American Flag Donuts
These American Flag Donuts are a quick and easy dessert for the Fourth of July! Make red, white, and blue doughnuts using candy melts!
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavor extract)
- 3 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
- 1 bag each of red, white, and blue candy melts
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray, use a paper towel to lightly spread/remove excess spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, vanilla, and oil. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mix just until combined.
- Transfer the batter to a large piping bag or use a ziploc bag with one corner cut off. Pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling each donut hole about 2/3 full. Tap the donut pan against the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Bake the donuts for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the donuts sit in the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Allow the donuts to cool completely before moving on.
- Melt 1/3 bag of the white candy melts. They can be microwaved or you can melt them on the stove top, whatever your preference. If microwaving, place each color (about 1/3 of the bag) in a microwave safe bowl and melt one color at a time. I like to start with 1 minute at 60% power, then stir and another minute at 60% power and stir again. Allow the candy melts to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the melted white candy into a shallow bowl that will easily allow you to dip the donuts into. Dip each donut, allowing the excess to fall off. Place the donuts on a cooling rack and allow them to harden.
- Melt the blue candy melts (about 1/3 to 1/4 of the bag) and allow it to cool for 5 minutes (otherwise it might be too runny). Transfer the blue candy melts into a small squeeze bottle and draw the blue corners onto the donuts. Use a toothpick to help spread out the blue chocolate.
- Melt the red candy melts (about 1/3 to 1/4 of the bag) and allow it to cool for 5 minutes (otherwise it might be too runny). Transfer the red candy melts into a small squeeze bottle and draw the red stripes across the donuts.
- Once the blue corner is semi-set, transfer a small amount of white candy melts into another squeeze bottle and add the white polka dots to the blue corner. Allow the candy melts to harden completely. Store in an airtight container.
- Patriotic Rice Krispie Treats
This classic dessert is dressed up for the Fourth of July with white chocolate and colorful sprinkles.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 16oz package mini marshmallows
- 8 C rice krispie cereal
- 12 oz white chocolate chips
- patriotic sprinkles for garnish
- Coat 15×10 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
- Set aside.
- In a large plastic microwaveable bowl place butter and mini marshmallows, microwave 1 minute, stir, microwave 30 seconds, stir well.
- If not completely melted microwave 15 seconds more.
- Stir in half rice krispies; mix well.
- Stir in remaining rice krispies; mix until well coated.
- Pour into baking dish, lightly wet hand with water and press flat into pan.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Invert onto a cutting board or piece of parchment paper and give it a giggle to remove treats.
- Cut rice krispie treats into 1 inch thick strips, cut strips in half lengthwise.
- In a small microwave dish melt white chocolate for 30 seconds, stir well, microwave 15 seconds more, stir until smooth.
- Take each treat and cover 3/4 the way with white chocolate.
- Return to parchment paper and add sprinkles.
- Let cool completely. Then cover airtight until serving.
- Patriotic Ice Pops
Delicious, refreshing, and patriotic, what more could we want from an independence day dessert?
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
- 2 pints red raspberry sorbet, slightly softened
- Star sprinkles
- 10 large wooden craft sticks
- Line a 10 x 5-in. loaf pan with parchment paper so the paper overhangs on all four sides. Scatter the blueberries evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the ice cream in a large bowl until just smooth. Spread on top of the blueberries and place in the freezer.
- In a second large bowl, beat the sorbet until just smooth; spread on top of the ice cream layer. Top with sprinkles, if using. Push 10 craft sticks three-quarters of the way to the bottom, spacing them evenly down the center of the loaf pan; freeze until firm, at least 8 hours.
- When ready to serve, use the parchment overhangs to remove from the pan. Peel away the parchment and cut between the craft sticks.