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BEHOLD, GLORY EASY DESSERTS CAN ENTERTAIN AS WELL AS LET YOU ENJOY TODAY.

Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

It's July 4, but not too late for cooks to turn out a red-white-and-blue or patriotic-themed fast and fabulous dessert in keeping with the spirit of the day.

Fire up the kitchen this morning or afternoon and whip up one of these last-minute inspirations. Although some may sound corny, family and friends of all ages will love your patriotism. A couple of them would even make good buffet table decorations.

Try one of these:

A cookie pizza, spread with a cream cheese mixture, then topped with raspberries in a star pattern and surrounded with blueberries.

A liberty bell-shaped chocolate cake decorated with red, white and blue icing piped on in star shapes.

An Old Glory Cake starting with a cake mix base decorated with raspberries and blueberries to simulate a stars-and-stripes flag design.

A Berries and Cream Cake.

A Red, White and Blue Cookie Shortcake.

Ice cream sundaes.

To keep from slaving in the kitchen too long, the desserts rely on convenient items like pound cake, cake mix, ice cream, prepared ice cream toppings, refrigerated cookie dough, ready-to-spread frosting, aerosol whipped cream and lots of fresh berries. You may already have some of the ingredients on hand in your pantry or fridge.

Whatever else is included in your star-spangled celebrations, let desserts add festive flair to the Fourth. Clip and save some of these suggestions and keep them handy to use throughout the summer. With a little imagination, you can redesign the patterns on top of the cakes as well as change the colors and fruit selections.

EASY JULY FOURTH COOKIE PIZZA

(On the cover)

1 (18-ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookies

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoon grated lemon OR orange peel

2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried on paper towels

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried on paper towels

1/4 cup apple jelly, melted

< Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; place in sprayed pan. Press over bottom to form crust. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 15 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 25 minutes or until completely cooled.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon peel; beat until fluffy. Spread over cooled cookie crust. Arrange raspberries in a large star shape in center. Arrange blueberries around raspberries, covering entire top and leaving only a thin border of cream cheese showing at edges. Drizzle or brush with melted jelly. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. Store in refrigerator. Makes 16 to 18 servings.

NOTE: Can be assembled up to 4 hours in advance and kept refrigerated.

IT'S THE BERRIES SUNDAE

4 cups blueberries, rinsed

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 cup sliced strawberries OR red raspberries

8 scoops strawberry shortcake OR some type of raspberry-flavored ice cream

Whipped cream

< In a medium bowl, mash 1/2 cup blueberries with a fork; stir in sugar. Add strawberries and remaining 3 1/2 cups blueberries, stirring gently. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

For each sundae, put 2 scoops of ice cream in EACH of 4 dessert dishes; top with 1/4 of berry mixture. Top with whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

LIBERTY BELL CHOCOLATE CAKE

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter OR margarine, softened

1 2/3 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/3 cups water

1 (12- to 16-ounce) can vanilla ready-to-spread frosting

1 (4.25-ounce) tube EACH red and royal blue decorator icing

< Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy duty foil; grease and flour sides and bottom of foil.

Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl; beat on high speed of mixer 3 minutes. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder; add alternately with water to butter mixture, beating until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Peel off foil; cool completely.

Cut cake in Liberty Bell shape (see photo); use 1 small circle piece cut from trimmings as the clapper. Frost top, sides and clapper with vanilla frosting. Outline bell shape, make ``crack'' and star shapes on top of cake with red and blue decorating icing. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

PECAN PIE SUNDAE CUPS

4 (4-inch) waffle cone tulip cups

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

4 large scoops (2 cups) butter pecan ice cream

1/4 cup toffee-covered pecan pieces

1/3 cup chocolate ice cream topping

< Place a waffle cup on each of 4 dessert plates with rims. Spoon 1 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping in bottom of each cup. Top with 1 scoop ice cream. Sprinkle with toffee pieces, dividing evenly.

Drizzle remaining caramel topping and chocolate topping in crosshatch pattern across ice cream and plate. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

VARIATIONS:

2 tablespoons EACH coarsely chopped pecans and English toffee bits may be substituted for toffee-covered pecans.

Delete waffle cone tulip cups and prepare sundaes in dessert dishes.

BERRY-LICIOUS SUNDAE CONES

1 1/3 cups sweetened whipped cream

4 waffle ice cream cones

12 whole strawberries, quartered

3/4 cup blueberries OR raspberries

1/2 cup diced kiwi OR ripe banana

12 small scoops (3 cups) strawberry ice cream

3/4 cup chocolate syrup

< Spoon 1/3 cup whipped cream into EACH waffle cone. Place each cone on its side on dessert plate.

Combine strawberries, blueberries and kiwi in a medium bowl; toss gently to mix.

Place 2 scoops ice cream in opening of each cone; place 1 scoop on plate in front of each cone. Drizzle 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup on each plate. Spoon fruit over ice cream and around cones, dividing evenly. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

RED, WHITE & BLUEBERRY COOKIE ``SHORTCAKES''

COOKIES:

3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, softened (no substitutes)

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

Additional powdered sugar for rolling dough

FRUIT TOPPING:

2 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 cup red raspberries

ICE CREAM:

8 scoops (4 cups) vanilla OR French vanilla ice cream

< For Cookies, in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 3/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt. Add flour; mix until no streaks of flour remain. (Do not overmix; dough will be soft.)

On a well-sugared surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 4-inch round cookie cutter into 12 rounds. (It will be necessary to gently combine dough scraps and re-roll. If dough becomes too soft, cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll.) Cut 4 rounds in half. Place cookies 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 13 to 15 minutes, until somewhat firm but still pale in color. (Do not overbake.) Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack with wide spatula. Cool completely; store tightly covered at room temperature up to 3 days. To freeze, put cookies in airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper.

For Fruit Topping, mash 1/2 cup blueberries with a fork in a medium bowl; stir in granulated sugar. Gently stir in raspberries and remaining 1 1/2 cups blueberries. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

To assemble each dessert, place a whole cookie on dessert plate. Place 2 small scoops of ice cream on cookie; arrange a cookie half between ice cream scoops. Spoon fruit topping over ice cream. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

TIMESAVING TIP: Twelve large bakery or store-bought sugar or other cookies may be substituted for homemade.

BERRIES AND CREAM CAKE

1 (10.5-ounce) frozen all butter pound cake, thawed

1/2 cup strawberry fruit spread

6 cups strawberry OR other flavor ice cream, softened

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, as desired

2 cups blueberries

Whipped cream

< Line an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap. Cut pound cake into 1/4-inch thick slices. Line bottom of baking pan with cake slices, cutting slices as needed to fit pan; spread with 1/4 cup fruit spread. Spoon 1/2 of softened ice cream (3 cups) over cake slices, spreading to edges of pan. Repeat layering with remaining cake slices, fruit spread and ice cream. Cover and freeze at least 3 hours OR overnight.

About 1/2 hour before serving, combine strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Add blueberries; stir gently.

Remove cake from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Turn frozen cake out of pan; carefully remove plastic wrap. Cut into 9 squares. Top each cake square with whipped cream and berry mixture. Serve immediately. Makes 9 servings.

CALIFORNIA-STYLE ICE CREAM CAKECAKE:

1 (12- to 16-ounce) fresh OR frozen pound cake loaf, thawed if frozen

3 to 4 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (optional)

1 quart vanilla ice cream, very slightly softened

1/2 cup coarsely chopped mixed candied fruits

1/2 cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate

1/2 cup slivered almonds

CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING:

18 ounces (3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

1 1/4 cups whipping cream

1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder

3 tablespoons butter

< To prepare Cake, line a 10-inch loaf pan with a large piece of plastic wrap, pressing it well into corners.

With a sharp, serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into 4 equal layers. Sprinkle each with a little liqueur, if desired.

Place 1 layer in bottom of pan, cutting part of another layer to fit as needed and cover pan.

Combine ice cream with candied fruit, 1/2 cup chopped chocolate and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Quickly mix with large heavy spoon until thoroughly blended, being careful not to let ice cream melt. Spread pound cake layer evenly with 1/2 of ice cream mixture. Carefully place another layer of cake on top, cutting part of the other layer (already cut up) to fit as needed. Spread with remaining ice cream mixture. Place remaining cake layer on top and fit in any remaining cake pieces (from cut up layer) as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze about 3 hours or until firm.

An hour and a half before serving, prepare Chocolate Gananche Frosting: In a microwaveable bowl, melt together chocolate, cream and coffee powder in microwave oven on high (100 percent) power about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until smooth when stirred. Stir in butter until melted and mixture is smooth. Chill until mixture thickens to spreading consistency.

To assemble, invert loaf pan onto a dessert platter. Lift pan from cake and peel off plastic wrap. Spread Chocolate Ganache Frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling with a small metal spatula. Spoon remaining frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a medium size star tip and pipe rosettes on top of cake, if desired. Freeze frosted cake at least 1 hour or until frosting is firm. To serve, cut into slices. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

NOTE: To speed preparation time and for convenience, select a quart of ice cream that already contains nuts, chocolate pieces, toffee, fruits, etc. You can then delete mixing the fruits, chocolate and nuts into the ice cream as noted in recipe and continue assembling as directed.

OLD GLORY CAKECAKE:

1 (18.25-ounce) package white OR yellow cake mix

1 1/4 cups water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

TOPPING:

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme

1 cup fresh blueberries

3 cups fresh raspberries

< Spray a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. For Cake, prepare cake mix as directed on package, using water, oil and eggs. Pour batter into sprayed pan.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 30 minutes or until completely cooled.

For Topping, in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and marshmallow creme; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cake. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours before decorating.

Rinse berries; pat dry with paper towels. In upper left corner, arrange blueberries in a solid 5-inch square to make blue field of flag. Starting and ending at edges of cake, arrange 7 horizontal rows of raspberries, leaving white strips between red stripes. Store in refrigerator until serving. Makes 24 servings.

NOTE: You can also bake a 9x13x2-inch cake (according to package directions) using a cake mix, then spread with cream cheese frosting and simulate a smaller flag on top using the berries as described above.

ADD SPARKLE TO PARTY

Here are some additional ideas for easy holiday-themed desserts:

RED, WHITE AND BLUE BERRY BOWLS: Hull fresh strawberries and then rinse along with some raspberries and blueberries. Dry and place in individual serving bowls. Drizzle with hot fudge sauce (heated in microwave oven) and top with whipped cream from a can. Or top the berries with sour cream and a sprinkling of brown sugar or powdered sugar.

FIRECRACKER TRIFLE: In a large fancy bowl, layer prepared pound cake slices with prepared vanilla or chocolate pudding (make instant or use store-bought), raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. You'll want to make two to three layers of each ingredient. Keep refrigerated until serving time. Decorate top festively with pouffs of whipped cream and additional berries for a fabulous finale.

CREAMY FRUIT BROIL: Place fresh blackberries and raspberries in individual round ovenproof baking or gratin dishes. Spoon about two generous tablespoons sour cream over the berries in each dish, covering fruit. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar. Broil 6 inches from heat source about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until most of the brown sugar is melted. Serve immediately. Instead of brown sugar, try topping with flaked coconut and broil until coconut turns golden.

CHEESE AND FRUITS: Offer a plate with a variety of white cheeses including white Cheddar, blue cheese and Brie along with fresh whole cherries and whole strawberries. Accompany with crackers that have a slightly sweet flavor.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHORTCAKES: Use a couple of shortbread or Brussels cookies for the shortcake base instead of biscuits or sponge cake. Top with sliced strawberries tossed with a little granulated sugar, then add a big dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with a few blueberries. If you have them handy, pop paper flags in the top.

BERRY WHIP: Beat together some cream cheese with strawberries or fresh raspberries until as smooth as possible. Beat in some whipped cream and powdered sugar. Serve in stemmed glasses topped with additional red berries and blueberries.

FRUIT SKEWERS: Skewer whole strawberries and blueberries along with pineapple, peach or nectarine chunks. Serve drizzled with hot fudge sauce.

CARAMEL-Y FRUITS: Top a combination of raspberries or strawberries and blueberries with heated caramel sauce (from a jar) along with some creme fraiche or whipped cream.

SUNDAE MANIA: All kinds of sundaes with red, white and blue and other themes are possible. Use berries with all kinds of ice cream or yogurt flavors, top with chocolate, caramel, fruit or other sauces and add the finishing touches of plenty of whipped cream, maraschino cherries and chopped nuts or candies of your choice. You can also make layered sundaes with the same ingredients. If you have enough guests, you might present a make-your-own sundae bar, setting out different flavors of ice creams, fruits, sauces, candies, crushed cookies, coconut, whipped cream and more, letting party-goers help themselves.

EMBELLISHED BROWNIES: Cut brownies into triangles and top with a scoop of ice cream. Then drizzle with raspberry sauce easily prepared by processing partially thawed frozen raspberries (without syrup) with some powdered sugar and a little orange juice.

STAR-STUDDED CUPCAKES: Whip up a batch of cupcakes using a cake mix. Once baked, spread with cream cheese mixed with a little milk and powdered sugar and top with raspberries or blueberries that you've arranged in the shape of a star or other design.

CAPTION(S):

6 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) It's just not the Fourth of July without a BIG FINISH!

(2 -- 3 -- color) End this year's Independence Day celebration with a Liberty Bell Chocolate Cake, left, or Berry-Licious Sundae Cones, above.

(4 -- color) Pecan Pie Sundae Cups

(5 -- color) Red, White and Blueberry Cookie ``Shortcakes''

(6) California-Style Ice Cream Cake

Box: Add sparkle to party (see text)
COPYRIGHT 2001 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Jul 4, 2001
Words:2768
Previous Article:COOK'S CORNER BE SURE TO EAT YOUR (PIE) CRUSTS.
Next Article:NEW & NOTEWORTHY.


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