party

Perfectly Patriotic Chocolate Recipes to Satisfy Your Sweet American Soul


Still can’t get over this year’s 4th of July festivities? We’ve got just the cure! Since there is really nothing that chocolate can't fix, why don’t we continue to commemorate Independence Day while celebrating International Chocolate Day this July 7. 

Even if it’s no longer the 4th of July, you will immediately feel the red, white and blue spirit, once you see and taste these amazing chocolate recipes. With easily-found ingredients, plus a reliable food coloring kit, you can easily make your dining table still feel festive even without the party and a bunch of guests. And frankly, after satisfying your sweet tooth cravings, you won’t even notice that the Independence Day merriment are over.

Here are some of our most favorite 4th of July Chocolate Desserts:


Proudly American Cupcakes

Here's a cupcake version of the surprise-inside cakes. But today, we’ll make a tad bit more 4th-of-July-ish. This red white and blue-colored interior will instantly delight your guests when they take a bite of these adorable cupcakes.

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix

  • 1 1/4 cups water

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 egg whites

  • 8 drops red and blue food coloring

  • 2 drops raspberry candy oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

Beat the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and egg whites together on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium for 2 minutes, until smooth. Divide into 3 parts. Stir 4 drops of red food coloring into 1/3 of the batter, stir in the raspberry oil. Then fill your cupcake liners with the red batter (about ⅓ full).

Now mix another 4 drops of blue food coloring into the other bowl batter until it is in the blue shade that you want. Pour the batter into a resealable plastic bag. Don’t forget to set aside some white (uncolored batter).

Now cut the corner off of the blue and white batters. Individually Stick the open tip of the bag with the white batter into the center of the red batter. Then squeeze about 1 tablespoon blue batter into each cup.Bake the layered cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.



Frozen Yogurt Icebox Cake 

Hot summer days like the 4th of July call for ice-cold frozen treats to cool things down. So try our make-ahead icebox cake for your patriotic get-together. It's colorful, flashy, IG-worthy, scrumptious, and sure to wow your guests.

Plain Yogurt:

  • 2 pints low-fat vanilla-flavored Greek frozen yogurt

  • Nonstick cooking spray

Red Yogurt:

  • 2 pints low-fat strawberry-flavored Greek frozen yogurt

  • ¼ cup pomegranate or cherry juice

  • 2 teaspoons red gel food coloring or 4 1/2 teaspoons red liquid food coloring (optional)

Blue Yogurt:

  • 2 pints low-fat blueberry-flavored Greek frozen yogurt

  • ¼ cup blueberry juice

  • ½ teaspoon blue gel food coloring or 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid blue food coloring (optional)

Assembly:

  • Coconut chips


Place vanilla yogurt in a chilled bowl; stir to soften (reserve 1 empty carton of yogurt). Coat the inside of the cavities of 1 silicone star-shaped mini treat mold (6 cavities total) with nonstick cooking spray. Fill with cavities with softened yogurt, about 1/3 cup each). Freeze until very firm, at least 12 hours. Spoon any remaining yogurt back into the reserved carton and freeze for another use.

In a chilled bowl combine strawberry frozen yogurt and pomegranate juice. Stir to soften. If desired, tint with food coloring. Cover and freeze for 1 hour or until mixture is spreadable.

In a chilled bowl combine blueberry frozen yogurt and blueberry juice. Stir to soften. If desired, tint with food coloring. Cover and freeze for 1 hour or until mixture is spreadable.

Line a 9-inch Pullman or a 9x5-inch loaf pan with 2 sheets of plastic wrap, enough to cover the bottom and sides, allowing plastic wrap to extend over sides of pan. Spread red yogurt evenly in the bottom of the pan. Remove the stars from the cavities and place down the center of the red yogurt, pressing down so that the bottom points of the stars are completely submerged in the red yogurt and the tops are just visible, and placing stars so that they are touching. Freeze for 1 hour. Spread blue yogurt in an even layer over the stars to cover. Freeze for 24 hours or until very firm. Use the plastic wrap to lift mixture from pan. Transfer to a serving plate; sprinkle with coconut. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, slice with a sharp knife.





Shooting Star Cookies

Make way for a star-spangled buffet with these 4th of July cookies. The red, white, and blue sandwiches feature bold colors and two layers of tasty sugar cookies—and they burst with sprinkles when broken.

Plain Dough:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla

Blue Dough:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla

  • 1/4 tsp. blue gel food coloring or 1 Tbsp. blue liquid food coloring

Royal Icing:

Assembly:

  • Red colored sugar


In the large bowl of a stand mixer* combine the butter and sugar. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour and salt; whisk to combine. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla to the butter mixture, then gradually add the flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and press into a rough rectangle. Wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer* combine the butter and sugar. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour and salt; whisk to combine. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and food coloring to the butter mixture, then gradually add the flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and press into a rough rectangle. Wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Divide each dough in half. Roll each piece of dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Invert a blue rectangle on top of a plain rectangle and remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Invert remaining plain rectangle on top of the stack, removing plastic wrap. Add remaining blue rectangle, and remove the plastic wrap. Cut the dough crosswise into four 8x3-inch strips. Stack one strip on top of the other and press gently to adhere (16 layers). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours.

Using a very sharp knife, trim the short end of the stack. Cut a 1/4-inch slice from the short end of the stack. Press the slice with your hand until even and the layers hold together. Using a 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut a striped star from the slice. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining stack (you should have about 28 striped stars). Gather the scraps and pat together. Reroll to 1/4-inch thickness and cut 3-inch stars. Place all stars on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are very lightly browned. While still warm, cut again with clean 3-inch cutter. Using a small 1 1/2-inch star cutter, cut a small star from the middle of 14 marbled stars. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Place half of the striped cookies top-sides down; pipe a thin ribbon of royal icing around the inside edge of each. Place a marbled cookie with cutout on top of each piped cookie, aligning edges. Let dry for about 2 minutes. Spoon red sugar into the cutout in each. Pipe another thin strip of royal icing along the inside edge of each and top with remaining striped cookies, top sides up. Allow to dry completely, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl stir together powdered sugar and egg whites. Add water, one teaspoon at a time, until mixture resembles a thick, pipable paste. Add a small drop of blue gel food coloring, if using, and stir to combine. Transfer to a small pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Place a damp paper towel into the bottom of a tall glass and place the bag with royal icing with the tip resting in the towel to keep icing from hardening.






Cleaning Hacks to Learn Just in Time for Your Independence Day Celebration

1200x620-1.jpg


When thinking about hosting parties and holding special occasions just like this year’s Independence Day Celebration, more often than not, we get so engrossed in planning all the fun that we forget one of the hardest parts of the whole event: The Cleaning--yes, the one you need to do before and after the festivities.

While we can all wish to enjoy hosting a fun Independence Day party and just skip the cleaning part by hiring professionals to do so, oftentimes we end up realizing that the money we’ll spend on paying those cleaning pros could just be spent for more food, more decor, more booze, and basically, more fun for everyone!

That said, we’re here to back you up and give you some of our most brilliant and helpful tips when it comes to before and after party cleanups:

1000x1000-1.jpg

Ready a Home Cleaning Kit That’ll Change Your Life

Making sure that your home is in shape before your guests arrive would sound like additional work for you, but actually, it’s not. It will even cut your after-party cleanup time in half. The more prepared you are, the less cleaning tasks you’re going to do. 

That said, you have to set a realistic cleaning plan--let’s say after you’ve cooked or prepared the drinks. Then, curate your very own cleaning kit. Get a reliable caddy filled with all the cleaning supplies and tools that you need. With this carry-all cleaning kit, you can breeze through cleaning your kitchen, hallway, living area, and other parts of your home before the event. 

Keep this kit nearby during the event as well so that you’ll be well prepared for emergency cleanup situations!




square image 2.jpg

Lovely Disposables are Life Savers

If you simply want to make your life easier for your Independence Day soiree, forget all the fussy dinnerware. Sure, your lovely collection of china or glassware will make your event look more posh. But once guests accidentally break them, you will not only be stressed out while cleaning the pieces in the middle of the party; but also, you’ll be devastated to bid one of your collections goodbye. 

But using disposable party ware doesn’t have to make your party look cheap. Actually, there are lots of cool disposable plates, flatware, glasses, and other tableware that will even complement your party theme. You may even find lots of those that are in a patriotic design, too. The best part about using those is, apart from being free from broken dishes or glasses, it will speed up your post-party cleanup as well. And by the way, using a disposable table cloth/cover is a brilliant idea as well!




1000x1000-4.jpg

You can Never Have Too Many Trash Bags

One of the many reasons why house parties are just too messy too handle is--guests do not really know where to place their used up plates, glasses, utensils, etc. So while you’ve already embraced using disposables in your party, you should never ever forget to place trash bins or trash bags in and around your home. 

Again, you can never have too many of them. One is not enough. Place them in every corner and every area possible so that your guests will be encouraged to clean up as they go. 



Divide the Post-Party Cleanup Tasks Into Two

We know how tired you already are after the party. However, there are really just some after party cleanup tasks you can’t avoid for later (or tomorrow)-- some of these are wiping up spills, storing leftover food, turning on the dishwasher, and the like. 

Then, after you’ve done all the urgent cleanups, you can make a list of what you need to do tomorrow--like cleaning the floor, throwing out the trash, etc. Remember, if you let yourself be overwhelmed with all the mess, you will be more stressed out, and you won’t be pleased with the results. 


Save What You Can for The Next Party

While we’re all for using disposables for parties, we also know that you often can’t help but use seasonal decor, adorable partyware, and other stuff just to impress your guests. But, you have to keep in mind that most of those are a one-time-theme or seasonal kind of thing, there is always going to be another opportunity for you to use them. 

Carefully store and organize those decorations and other party needs in a secure and orderly manner. Wrap them individually so that they’ll be extra safe from color fading, breaking, and being too dusty. So even though it’s a tad bit of additional work, trust us, you’ll thank us later.