Fireworks don’t have to be the only party element that makes guests ooh and ah during July 4th festivities. With colorful sweets that sparkle and a themed tablescape exploding with red, white and blue, your party is sure to be the best on the block.



“Adding patriotic flair to your Independence Day celebration is easy with the right recipes and decorating accents,” said Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton. “Put your personal John Hancock on the party by turning traditional summertime foods into amazing sweet treats.”



Try this dessert ideas from the Wilton test kitchen for a celebration that ends with a bang:



• Playful Twist on Summer Fruit: Make mouths water by serving up slices of delicious watermelon ... cheesecake! Strawberry cheesecake dotted with mini chocolate chips imitates the center of the fruit, and a pistachio and coconut crumble crust mimics the watermelon rind.



For more celebration ideas, visit www.wilton.com.



Cool Watermelon Cheesecake



Crust:



1-1/4   cups (16 ounces) roasted salted pistachios



2 cups sweetened flaked coconut



1/4 cup granulated sugar



1/2 stick butter, melted



Leaf green icing color



Filling:



3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened



2/3 cup granulated sugar



1 tsp. imitation clear vanilla



1 cup heavy whipping cream



1 (16 oz.) package frozen whole strawberries, thawed, pureed and strained (about 1-1/2 cups)



1 (1/4 oz.) envelope unflavored gelatin



No-taste red icing color



1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided



In food processor, pulse pistachios until coarsely ground. Add coconut, sugar, butter and icing color; pulse until well combined. Press into bottom and 3/4 up side of 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while making filling.



In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add heavy cream and beat until combined.



In small saucepan, bring strawberry juice just to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over top and whisk vigorously to dissolve completely, about 3 minutes. Pour into cream cheese mixture. Add icing color and beat until well combined. Beat in 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips. Pour into chilled crust. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate chips. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. Makes 12 servings



This article was contributed to The Log by Family Features.