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4th of July Picnic Dessert

{Hey Everybody! Our Leisure Arts Food Editor, Celia Harkey, is guest blogging again today! She’s ready for 4th of July picnic food and offering up a free Patriotic Dessert recipe for you from our Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday cookbook!}
When I plan for my 4th of July picnic, I start thinking of all the wonderful garden-fresh foods we have available to us. On my list every year – sweet corn, watermelon, and fresh berries. For me, fresh berries can only mean that sweet, juicy, and oh-so-delicious combination of blueberries and strawberries—perfect for every 4th of July picnic. Add creamy dairy, and you have the recipe for our Patriotic Dessert – a stars & stripes picnic of flavors (plus throw in some hot dogs, hamburgers, and a lotta barbecued ribs)! 

Frances, a fellow LA’er, got my taste buds in the mood for fresh berries when she showed up at my desk with a bag of freshly picked blueberries that she and her husband David had grown. Can you ask for a better treat to snack on (except a bag of strawberries would have doubled my enjoyment!)? I hope you will search out your local market in time to make the Patriotic Dessert recipe given below. Any variety of fresh berries would be scrumptious, but for my 4th of July picnic, it has to be blueberries and strawberries – going for the red, white, and blue in true holiday spirit!

The “berrylicious” Patriotic Dessert recipe is from a creative gift-giving flip book from Leisure Arts: one side has Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday; the other is Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas. This great combination of creative ways to make tasty recipes into gifts will come in handy for all occasions. For the 4th of July or any summertime invitation, you can showcase the Patriotic Dessert in a glass trifle bowl that will double as a hostess gift. 

2 cups whipping cream
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 quarts fresh strawberries, halved
2 quarts fresh blueberries
Place a large bowl and beaters from an electric mixer in freezer until well chilled.
2. In chilled bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract until fluffy. Gradually add whipped cream to cream cheese mixture; beat until smooth and stiff peaks form.
3. For garnish, reserve about 20 strawberry halves and 1/2 cup blueberries.
4. In a trifle bowl (we used a 5-inch-high x 8-inch diameter bowl) or large glass container, layer whipped cream mixture and remaining strawberries and blueberries, ending with whipped cream mixture.
5. Garnish top with strawberry halves and blueberries to resemble a flag.
6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: about 16 servings

While we are on the subject of tasty food gifts, look at these delish Red-White-And-Blue-Muffins with a hand-painted, decorative Flag Plate.

The muffins have lots of goodies in them, including oats and buttermilk, and have a patriotic theme with maraschino cherries, vanilla or white chocolate chips, and fresh blueberries. Instructions for making the star-spangled plate with patterns and techniques are just one of many imaginative gifts in Best of Gifts of Good Taste/Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas. Sections in the all-year collection are: Quick Gifts, Tasty Gift Baskets, Friendship Gifts, Gifts by the Bagful, and Holiday Gifts. The Christmas collection has: Breads and Spreads, Cakes and Pies, Candies, Cookies and Bars, Sauces, Seasonings and Mixes, and Snacks and Sips.

Order your copy of Best of Gifts of Good Taste/Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas today and have a Happy Independence Day!
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