Sweeten Fourth of July standards

You won’t need fireworks to have guests oohing and aahing this Fourth of July.

Prepare sparkling sweets with patriotic flair and decorate the table with red, white and blue accents.

Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton, suggests putting your own signature on your Independence Day party by turning traditional summertime foods into unexpected treats to give the festivities a bang.

Begin with burgers with a sweet bite. Instead of the traditional summer party hamburger, offer guests Sweet Sliders. Build the “burgers” with unexpected ingredients.

Use whoopie pies for the buns and a brownie for the patties. Yellow fruit candies rolled into thin layers makes a nifty stand-in for cheese. Top the slider with red and yellow Sparkle Gel for the ketchup and mustard.

Instead of fresh watermelon, surprise guests by serving slices of delicious watermelon cheesecake. A strawberry cheesecake dotted with minichocolate chips imitates the flesh and seeds of the melon, and a pistachio and coconut crumble crust takes the place of the watermelon rind.

For the grand finale, bring out patriotic pops: Nestle Red, White and Blue Treat Pops in a bowl of red Cinnamon Drops. Make the pops by layering vanilla cake, colored icing and star-shaped sprinkles. Finish with stars and stripes decorations or red, white and blue pinwheels.

For more celebration ideas, visit http://www.wilton.com.

Wilton and Family Features
contributed to this story.