The greatest American celebration of the year is undoubtedly Independence Day (aka 4th of July). It’s fun and festive, but usually overwhelming.
Now you can prepare for your party with ease. Here are a few great ideas to decorate, entertain, and feed all your guests.
The stars and stripes are back in town. It’s only been a couple of months since Memorial Day, and it’s time to break out the flags once again.
As always with patriotic holidays, red, white and blue are the main colors to play with.
To set the tone as soon as your guests enter, you can create this star-spangled welcome wreath from Spoonful.
You want to celebrate, so the more interactive the decorations are, the more fun everything else will be. Arts and crafts are an easy win.
Inner Child offers a sweet DIY guide on making your own Fireworks Crowns.
They look pretty fun to do, especially if you have kids running around your bash.
Ultimately, you want to streamline your decor. In other words, simpler is better.
Focus on colors, and you’ll be set.
You can’t have an Indy Day celebration without one thing: fireworks.
If you have kids involved in the party, you can even make a game (without it being dangerous). Apples4TheTeacher shows us how:
If you’re having fireworks at your home, you might have a big box of assorted fireworks. Everyone has their personal favorites and people might have clear ideas of what they want to see and hear.
You can play a game to determine who gets to pick the next firework to go off next.
You might ask trivia questions (“why are there 13 stars on the flag?”). Another idea is to have a dance-off. While music plays in the background, each person who really wants to pick the next firework to go off has to dance the craziest, silliest dance they can come up with. Someone who’s been designated a judge will decide who won the dance off and that person gets to pick the next fireworks item. Unless there are more fireworks than people, each person only gets to pick once.
Going back to patriotic routes, you could always try your own game of Flag Tag Relay.
Perfect Party Games offers the basics:
- One small novelty flag per player
- Two plastic buckets
Place the sand in each bucket. Put the flags in the sand so they stand up. Place the buckets on the far end of the playing field.
How to Play:
Have each team form a single line, one player behind the next, facing the flag buckets. On cue, the first player from each team races to the appropriate bucket, grabs one flag, and marches back to his team as quickly as possible. No running allowed in this part of the relay. The player then tags the next team mate, who then runs to the team bucket to retrieve another flag. Play continues until all members of one team have gotten a flag and returned to the starting line.
Finally, you can also play with USA bean bags you might have created for Memorial Day.
When it comes to the entrees, we have one word for you: meat.
Pork, beef, or chicken, have your pick. You’ll please most people.
If you want to minimize cooking, you can create an open BBQ system, where people bring their own meat or produce to grill themselves (and, of course, share with the group).
It’s convivial, and everyone is happy with their own culinary preference.
As for desserts, you can bet on tradition. You don’t need anything extravagant to make an impact. For visually striking ideas, try out variations of red, white and blue treats.
For example, you can make colorful fruit skewers. All you need are: strawberries, bananas and blueberries. Alternate them on a platter to create an American flag.
Cherry Tea Cakes has a cool recipe for raspberry candy bars that show American flags when eaten.
For the nougat:
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup corn syrup
- ½ cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- red food coloring
- white food coloring
For the striped cookie base:
- ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Confectioners Sugar
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp raspberry extract
- blue food coloring
For the chocolate coating:
- Dark chocolate
- Begin by making the nougat. Put the sugar, syrup, and water into a small sauce pan and put over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is melted.
- Turn heat to high and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 248°, or until it forms a firm ball when dropped into cold water. While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Slowly pour the hot syrup into the beaten whites of eggs. Beat the mixture constantly while pouring the syrup into the whites, and keep beating until the candy
- begins to stiffen. Add vanilla. Add blue food coloring.
- Turn the candy onto a buttered slab or platter. Allow to cool.
- While the nougat is cooling, make the cookie dough.
- Cream together the butter (I do not allow butter to soften), sugar and any flavorings you’re using. Beat until just becoming creamy in texture. Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Mix red food coloring into two pieces and white food coloring into the remaining third.
- Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 2 mm. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
- Once chilled, peel off parchment, and stack the layers. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into a 3x.75 inch bars. Pierce each cookie four or five times with a chopstick or the base of a thermometer. Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
- Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
- Leave to cool on cooling racks.
- Cut the nougat into the same shapes as the candy bars, and stack on top.
- Place two thirds of the chocolate in a double boiler. Melt slowly to 107 degrees. Remove from heat and stir until it reaches 110 degrees. Add in remaining third of chocolate and stir to combine until the mixture reaches 90-93 degrees. Use immediately.
- Place a candy bar on a fork and proceed to spoon the tempered chocolate over it, covering completely. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set completed candy bar on the sheet. Repeat with the remaining candy bars. Set the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to set the chocolate.
SheKnows offers an amazing firecracker cakelette recipe. Imagine a dessert that pops into your mouth. In other words, tasty firecrackers! Based on the famous Pop Rocks, these treats will surprise everyone. You can see a step-by-step picture guide on the website.
Here’s the general recipe:
- 1 box white cake mix
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sour cream
- Red and blue food coloring
- 3 packages Pop Rocks candy
- Black licorice ropes
- White frosting (less than 1/4 cup)
- Mix white cake mix, egg whites, oil, water and sour cream for three to four minutes on medium speed. Split cake batter into three equal amounts, adding red and blue food coloring to two of the portions. Coat three, 4 x 9-inch bread pans with cooking spray and lightly flour the bottoms. Add the three batters to the pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-23 minutes. Allow them to cool and remove from pans.
- Using a 1-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles from each of the baked cakes. (I got 10 out of each cake, but you might be able to get more if you try.)
- Using a serrated knife, carefully trim off the browned, baked bottoms of each cake circle.
- Using a jumbo straw or plastic tube (one-half or three-quarters-inch in diameter), remove the centers of the cake circles. Be sure to save the red and blue centers to use as plugs for later.
- Put a portion of the red cake plugs back into the bottoms of the red cake circles. Pipe a line of frosting around the centers of the red and white cake circles. Stack the white cakes on top of the red cakes and the blue cakes on top of the white cakes.
- Add Pop Rocks down the hollow centers of the stacked cakes. Put a portion of the blue cake plugs back into the tops, covering the center filled with Pop Rocks.
- Cut licorice rope pieces approximately 1-1/2 inches long and insert them into the centers of the blue cakes.
You’re now set for Independence Day.
What are some of your own favorite Fourth of July party ideas?