Thursday, July 3, 2014

Easy, Fun July 4th Treats...Featuring Patriotic Peeps and Häagen-Dazs Gelato #StressFreeHoliday

July 4th…a time to celebrate our nation’s independence as we spend time with our family and friends. This year is even better, because it’s also a three-day weekend! If you're like me, the holiday also means it's time to unwind and enjoy a few of your favorite Summer BBQ and potluck dishes before it's time to watch the fireworks light up the night sky. This year, I vowed to make my holiday treats as easy and stress-free as possible. Today I’m sharing two July 4th treats that are so easy to make that you won’t end up frazzled putting them together. My friends at Peeps and Häagen-Dazs  recently sent me some fun Summertime goodies, so I decided to create a duo of fun goodies that taste great and are a snap to make -- even on a busy holiday!
These Patriotic Peep Parfaits are a snap to make. They’re festive red, white, and blue...and topped with a fun,patriotic marshmallow Peep. If you think that Peeps are just for Easter, think again! They make seasonal goodies year round! Their July 4th Patriotic Peeps are Vanilla Creme flavored and covered with red, white, and blue sugar confetti decorations. To make these parfaits, simply prepare two packages of your favorite white-colored instant pudding mix according to package directions. I used sugar-free cheesecake pudding, but white chocolate works great too. Spoon a layer of pudding in the bottom of a parfait glass. For your red and blue colors, spoon a layer of chopped strawberries and blueberries on top of the pudding. Top the berries with a second layer of pudding and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Just before serving, arrange a Patriotic Peep on top of each parfait. This dessert is cute as can be, simple to make…and totally delish!
If a frozen treat is more your speed, you’ll love staying cool with my colorful Stars 'n Stripes Cookie Gelato Sandwiches. These sandwiches are made with yummy Häagen-Dazs Pomegranate Swirl Gelato. This gelato combines tart pomegranate and creamy vanilla gelato swirled together, and it’s positively addictive! To make these fun gelato sandwiches, I dipped 5 store-bought sugar cookies in melted white chocolate. I placed the dipped cookies on a parchment-lined tray and decorated them with July 4th sprinkles. After a 15-minute visit to the fridge to firm up the white chocolate, I was ready to assemble. I placed a small scoop of the gelato onto the top side of 5 undecorated sugar cookies, then I placed the decorated cookies on top of the gelato and pressed lightly. After that, they went in the freezer for 30 minutes to let the gelato firm up a bit before serving. Talk about fun…and tasty! Kids...even us big kids...are guaranteed to go crazy for these frozen treats.
By the way…if you have any melted white chocolate left after dipping your sugar cookies, you can also dip some of the strawberries left from making the parfaits! Simply decorate with colored sugar or more July 4th sprinkles. As you can see, these strawberries make another great addition to your holiday treat table. I hope that you’ll give one of my stress-free July 4th sweets a try tomorrow. The holidays are all about spending time with those you love…not spending the entire day in the kitchen. These easy desserts can even be made tomorrow morning and stored in the fridge or freezer until it’s time for fireworks and dessert tomorrow evening.

Disclosure: Peeps and Häagen-Dazs provided me with product samples to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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