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Host a star-studded 4th

Posted: June 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.

 

The Fourth of July calls for a care­free party, with good friends, fab food, fun and fireworks — a real star-studded holiday celebration.

The entertaining experts from Wilton have plenty of ideas to add star power to the occasion, beginning with the decorations. Festive stars and stripes napkin rings in red, white and blue dress up napkins and containers of colorful blossoms to brighten up the table. Then, on to the main course. Serve an all-American favorite meal of grilled burgers and corn on the cob, appropriately topped with a star-shaped pat of butter.

The grand finale is always part of this all-American celebration. Patriotic pops cut into star shapes definitely say “Happy Fourth of July.” Decorated in red, white and blue icing, red licorice and colored candies, these easy-to-make crispy rice treats are a favorite for both youngsters and the grown-ups. The kids can lend a hand to help decorate by placing the candy pieces on the stars.

Add a taste of nostalgia for the child in all of us with ice cream sandwiches — everybody loves ’em. Homemade brownies and buttery vanilla cookies, sandwiched with the ice cream flavor of your choice are a cut above ice cream truck offerings. The new ice cream sandwich pan from Wilton ensures perfectly shaped cookies for every treat. Give them the flair of the Fourth by rolling the edges in patriotic sprinkles and sugars. Or, dip part of the sandwich into melted candy melts and decorate with sprinkles for a fun and festive finish.

Even beverages can boast the star treatment. Star-shaped ice cube kabobs in the colors of the day are a celebratory way to
keep lemonade icy cold. Or, they’re perfect for chilling the holiday cocktail.

Visit www.wilton.com for more celebration ideas, to order decorating supplies, the ice cream sandwich pan or the silicone star ice kabob molds.

Ice cream sandwiches
Makes about 12 ice cream sandwiches

Brownies:
    1     cup all-purpose flour
    1/4    teaspoon baking soda
    1/4     teaspoon salt
    1/4     cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    1-1/2     cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    2/3     cup granulated sugar
    2     eggs
    1     teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray ice cream sandwich pan with vege­table pan spray.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter with chocolate chips. Whisk in sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Add flour mixture; stir until just combined. Spoon two tablespoons batter into each pan cavity, spreading evenly.
Bake eight to 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted at an angle toward center comes out clean. Immediately remove to cooling rack; cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

Vanilla cookies:
    1-1/2     cups all-purpose flour
    1/2     teaspoon baking powder
    1/4     teaspoon salt
    1/2     cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    1/2     cup granulated sugar
    1/4     cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
    2     eggs
    1     teaspoon vanilla extract
    1     teaspoon lemon extract, orange extract or
            ground cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray ice cream sandwich pan with vegetable pan spray.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter.
Whisk in sugars, eggs, vanilla and, if desired, other extract or cinnamon; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix until blended. Spoon two tablespoons batter into each pan cavity, spreading evenly.
Bake eight to 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted at an angle toward center comes out clean. Immediately remove to cooling rack; cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

To assemble:
    1     quart ice cream, any flavor
        Assorted patriotic mix sprinkles and red and blue sugars
        White candy melts, melted (optional)
Scoop about 1/4 cup ice cream onto smooth side of half of the brownies. Top with remaining brownies, pressing gently. If desired, roll edge of sandwiches in sprinkles or sugars. Wrap and freeze immediately.
Or, dip a portion of the sandwich in melted candy melts; add sprinkles and sugars. Freeze five minutes to set, then wrap and freeze until ready to serve.

Patriotic pops
Makes about 2 dozen pops
   
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups crisp rice cereal
24 8-inch cookie treat sticks
Red, blue and white cookie icing
Red and blue candy-coated chocolates
Red licorice

Spray star cookie treat pan and rubber spatula or wooden spoon with vegetable pan spray.
In large saucepan, melt butter. Add marshmallows; cook and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add cereal; mix well. Press into prepared pan; insert cookie sticks.
When cool to touch, remove from pan.
Repeat with remain­ing cereal mixture. (If mixture becomes hard to work with, microwave at 50 percent power 30 to 60 seconds to soften.)
Outline treat as desired with cookie icing; add candy and licorice. Let dry at least one hour.

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