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Dining In: Celebrate Independence Day with a sweet treat

Straw Hat Ice Cream Cake
(Courtesy of Darigold)
   1/2 gallon of your favorite ice cream
   1 pkg. filled wafer cookies
   Chopped nuts or candy sprinkles for garnish
   Allow ice cream to soften slightly, then spoon into 9-inch round cake pan with removable bottom, pressing firmly to remove trapped air. Freeze at least 4 yours or until firm. Remove sides of pan, leaving ice cream on removable bottom; place on serving plate. Measure height of ice cream and cut cookie wafers to size. Press cookies into sides of ice cream and wrap with red, white and blue ribbon. Tie in place.
   Sprinkle nuts or sprinkles over top and lightly press into ice cream. Wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze until ready to serve.
   Place on a flat-rimmed plate. With a ribbon as a hat band, this is truly a festive, memorable dessert that's perfect for the Fourth of July. Makes 8-10 servings.

Cherry Fruit Salad with Yogurt Dressing
   2 c. fresh sweet cherries, pitted
   1 small pineapple, pared and cut into spears
   1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
   1 small honeydew melon, pared and cut into spears
   1 c. sliced strawberries
   1/4 c. toasted sliced almonds
   Orange yogurt dressing (below)
   Arrange cherries, pineapple, orange, melon, and strawberries on serving dish. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve with orange yogurt dressing. Makes 4 servings.

Orange Yogurt Dressing
   1/2 c. plain, nonfat yogurt
   3 Tbsp. orange juice
   2 Tbsp. low-calorie mayonnaise
   1 Tbsp. each, lemon juice and sugar
   Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. orange peel.

Fruit Layered Pound Cake
(from Darigold's Celebrations)
   1 pound cake
   1 c. raspberries (fresh or frozen)
   1 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
   1 c. strawberries (fresh or frozen)
   1/2 c. orange liqueur
   2 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped and sweetened
   1 c. fresh berries for garnish
   Slice pound cake horizontally 3 times, making 4 layers. Place the bottom layer of cake back into the pan it was baked in. Cover this layer with the raspberries. Place the next layer of cake on top of the raspberry layer.
   Repeat layering, alternating cake and berries until there are 4 cake layers and 3 layers of fruit in between.
   Drizzle top of cake with orange liqueur if desired. Cover cake with plastic wrap.
   Place weighted object on top of cake, enabling cake and berries to condense. Refrigerate 6-8 hours. Turn cake out onto a serving plate. Swirl or pipe whipped cream on top and garnish with fresh berries. Slice into eight 1-inch pieces.

Strawberry Almond Shortcakes
   Almond Streusel (below)
   1 1/3 c. commercial baking mix
   1/2 c. milk
   3 Tbsp. sugar
   3 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
   3/4 tsp. almond extract
   Sweetened whipped cream
   3 c. fresh strawberries, sweetened
   Prepare almond streusel. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Stir remaining ingredients, except whipped cream and strawberries, until a soft dough forms. Gently smooth dough into ball on surface dusted with baking mix. Knead gently 8 to 10 times.
   Roll dough 1/4-inch thick. Cut with 3-inch round cutter dipped in baking mix. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Top each round with streusel.
   Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown. Do not split shortcakes. Place half of the shortcakes on dessert plates. Top with half of the whipped cream and strawberries. Top with remaining shortcakes, strawberries, and whipped cream. Makes 5 or 6 servings.

Almond Streusel
   1/4 c. commercial baking mix
   1/4 c. sugar
   2 Tbsp. firm margarine or butter
   14 c. sliced almonds
   Mix baking mix, sugar, and margarine until crumbly. Stir in almonds.

Berry Parfait
   1/2 c. peach preserves
   1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
   1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
   2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
   1/2 pint strawberries
   1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
   In medium mixing bowl, combine peach preserves, lemon peel, and juice. Stir in chopped peaches and strawberries. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in each serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the ice cream and top with a second scoop of ice cream.