4th of July Goodies!!
I think the timing is just right to tempt you with these two amazing desserts which would be perfect for your 4th of July celebration …. (if you’re reading this from outside the good ‘ole US of A, these would be perfect for just about any kind of celebration). There are three things in particular that I love about these two desserts; first - both desserts are a take on one of my favorites - CHEESECAKE!! Second - both desserts can be made ahead, and third - both desserts are EASY to make!
The first dessert, the 4th of July Mini-Cheesecakes, were actually made for Memorial Day and turned out to be a hit with all our friends at the beach party. They are individual, so easy to eat, colorful with the red, white and blue and super tasty …. with their creamy cheesecake filling and tart cherry filling; a guaranteed hit for your 4th of July party.
My second dessert, the 4th of July Mini-Fruit Trifles were inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest! [If you haven’t signed up for Pinterest, I highly recommend it. It is an encyclopedia for any cooking/baking/ house project you have been dreaming about.] Anyways - I made these trifles last weekend for my cousin’s graduation party. Believe it or not, they disappeared before the chocolate cake! I was amazed. But then, who can pass up whipped cheesecake with fresh ripe berries and an amazing baked graham cracker crust! Not to mention, they looked so cute in their clear plastic cups, they just screamed eat me!!
I hope you give these recipes a try for your upcoming festivities.
And for all those men and woman serving in our armed forces and to those who have given their life for our country -- WE SALUTE YOU! Special recognition to my partner-in-crime (our blog J ) Faye, and for her support of her husband Michael through 25 years of his services to our country in the US Navy. They are an amazing team!!
Happy 4th of July everyone… Let’s Celebrate with some dessert!
4th of July mini-Cheesecakes
2 packs (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup softened butter
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can of cherry pie filling (not the cherries in water)
Box of Nilla wafers
Aluminum baking cups (regular size)
White sprinkles (or stars if you can find them)
Blue food color
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Take two muffin pans. Place a baking cup in each cup.
2. Spray the baking cups with spray oil (this will make it easier to remove the cups in the end.
4. Using an electric mixer. Mix the cream cheese and butter till it is smooth.
6. Add eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla and lemon juice.
7. Once filling is done, divide the filling, placing half the filling into another bowl.
8. To one of the filling bowls - add enough blue food color to make the filling a nice bright blue. Leave the other bowl the original white color.
9. Taking the white filling (or you can start with blue), add three tablespoons of filling on top of the Nilla wafer (make sure the wafer is completely covered). Now add three tablespoons of the blue filling. You should get about 18 cheesecakes
10. Bake @ 350* for 15-20 minutes. The middle should be set. Remove from oven and cool. You will notice that middles might fall - not a problem since you will be adding the cherry pie filling.
11. Once the mini-cheesecakes are cool, add 1-2 tablespoons of cherry pie filling (try to use more cherries than sauce)
12. Add the Sprinkles on top and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (I left them overnight)
4th of July Mini-Fruit Trifles
3 cups of graham cracker crumbs (about two packs of cookies)
2/3 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups of whipping cream (liquid, not the one in the can)
2-8oz cream cheese blocks
1 cup powder sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons of half and half milk
Fresh Strawberries (diced in to ½ inch pieces)
8-10 Clear plastic cups 10 oz’s (bought mine at WalMart)
1 large ziplock bag
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
1. Taking the graham crackers, crush either using a food processer or you can crush by hand by adding cookies to a large ziplock bag and rolling over the cookies with a rolling pin.
2. Add graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and cinnamon to a bowl and mix till they are well blended. Divide the crust mixture between two 9x13 baking pans. Lightly press down. (it does not need to be perfect)
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes. It will bake quickly so keep an eye on the crust - I burnt one! It will get a nice brown color. Remove pans from oven and cool.
4. For the filling, with electric mixer beat the four cups of whipping cream until it forms hard peaks (if you have a kitchen aid, use the whisk attachment - much faster)
5. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is nice and smooth.
6. Gradually add the powder sugar until it is completely incorporated into the cream cheese.
7. Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla and half-and-half milk to the cream cheese filling.
8. Take the whipped cream you made and fold into the cream cheese filling. Make sure you do not over stir, you do not want to breakdown the cream but make sure the whipped cream is mixed well with the cream cheese mixture.
9. Taking the large ziplock bag, fill with all the cream cheese filling. Cut-off one of the corners of the plastic bag (about ¾-1 inch slit) - Set aside carefully, with the cut part up until needed.
10. Add two tablespoons of graham cracker crumb to the bottom of each cup.
11. Taking the ziplock bag full of the cream cheese, squeak about ¼ cup of cream over the graham cracker crumb (make sure the crumbs are covered)
12. Add a few tablespoons of strawberries.
13. Add more cream cheese filling.
14. Sprinkle with lots of blueberries.
15. I topped off each cup with a little bit of cream cheese filling and a sliced strawberry.