Monday , 23 April 2018

Kyra’s Kitchen: Sweet Recipes to Celebrate Our Independence

By Kyra Effren, TSB Food Writer

July 4 — The date on which the United States declared its Independence from the Kingdom of Britain.  The Federal Holiday is celebrated with parades, concerts, barbecues and picnics.  And the iconic colors marking this event are the Red White and Blue of the American flag.

To help you celebrate in true ‘blue’ [and red and white] style,  here are a few suggestions for your festive dessert:

Note:  You can use pre-bought or baked items as the basis for your dessert – making it easier and less time- consuming.

½ angel food cake
2 x 14 oz. cans fruit – your choice – pineapple, mandarins, pears, peaches
1 package raspberry gelatin
2 cups custard [see note] or 2 packages vanilla pudding
1 ½ cups whipped cream
Strawberries, blueberries for decoration

Break the cake into a glass bowl.
Drain the cans of fruit – reserving the juice for the gelatin and spoon the fruit over the cake.
Allow to soak.
Prepare the raspberry gelatin according to package directions but add 1 cup boiling water and the juice from the cans of fruit.  [If there is less than 1 cup do not worry.] Pour the gelatin over the fruit soaked cake and allow to set.
Spoon over the vanilla pudding or the custard
Note:  English Custard powder is available at many supermarkets.  Follow the recipe on the can to make the custard.  I usually use the microwave method.
Allow to cool.
Whip cream and spoon over the custard.
Decorate with the blueberries and strawberries

This dessert may be prepared up to two hours ahead.


1 container large strawberries
1 package white Candy Melts [available at Michaels or JoAnn] or  8 oz. white chocolate  [chopped up] 1 jar blue sugar crystals [available at Michaels or JoAnn]

Clean strawberries and set on a baking paper sheet lined tray.
Melt the candy melts or white chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave for one minute.
Stir until smooth.
Pour some of the blue sugar crystals into a bowl.
Dip the strawberries into the chocolate half way up.
Then dip into the blue sugar ¼ way up.
Set in refrigerator.

The cake base:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter

3 x 8 oz. packages soft cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Jello Stars
1 large package raspberry Jello
1 punnet blueberries (Click here if you are not British!)

Pre heat oven to 325.
Combine the crumbs and sugar.
Melt butter in a 9×12 pan in the oven for five minutes.
Remove – add the crumbs to the butter and press into the bottom of the pan.
Bake for five minutes.  Remove from the oven.

Beat together the filling ingredients and pour onto the graham cracker base.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center no longer ‘jiggles’.

Cool and chill.

Prepare the Jello following the directions on the package for the Jigglers – but using only half the ingredients.
Pour into a 8×8 pan and allow to set.

To serve:
Cut stars out of the Jello.
Cut the cheesecake into squares.
Set the stars on top – add the blueberries.
Note: If you do not want to go to the trouble of cutting out stars etc., just pour the cooled gelatin on top of the cheesecake and decorate with the fruit and some whipped cream.

4 cups cookie crumbs [use your leftover cookies, etc.] ½ cup buttercream frosting
2 oz. melted dark chocolate
1 package each blue, red and white candy melts
Red, white and blue sprinkles

Process the crumbs in the processor together with the buttercream frosting and the melted chocolate.  You should have a mixture – that can be formed into balls.
Make small balls and allow to chill.

Melt the cookie melts in separate bowls and dip the cookie balls into each color.
You can use the colors separately or make a red white and blue cookie.
Sprinkle with decorations if desired.
Allow to set

Note: To make it more fun for the kids – stick cookie sticks into the ball to make them Cookie Pops!

Finally, the following recipe comes from a British Food website – featuring July 4th recipes – go figure!  I find it ‘cute’ that they either do not remember the significance of the United Sates Independence Day – or they have graciously acknowledged the loss of yet ANOTHER country from their Empire and simply ‘moved on’.

Buy or make cupcakes – using you favorite recipe
1 can buttercream frosting
Red White and Blue Decorations [yes you guessed it – Michaels or Jo-Ann]

Frost the cupcakes with the frosting
Decorate with red white and blue decorations

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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