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Have a sizzling, sparkling Fourth of July

by:  - Banana Slpit Surprise Cake

On July 4, the perfect party calls for friends, food, fireworks and plenty of red, white and blue.
   “It’s an easy party to pull off,” says Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton. “Our celebration experts have created a patriotic themed spread of sweet and savory treats to provide star-spangled fun for everyone.”
   Start the festivities off with a bang using festive tableware and decorations like Fourth of July party pics – a simple way to add spark to any celebration. Play up the Independence Day theme throughout — from beverage to dessert.
   “Serve an easy-to-eat meal dressed up with holiday colors,” says Siler. “All Star Sliders on Cornbread Buns are a delicious spin on the classic burger. The cornbread buns are baked using the Wilton Star Whoopie Pie Pan to add a festive twist to the traditional bun. Patriot’s Peanut Butter Popcorn — a yummy mix of popcorn, peanut butter and colored candies — is an ideal salty-sweet treat. Packed in star-studded gift bags, this easy-to-make goodie is a party favorite and a perfect take-home for guests.”
   Cool down when the temperature rises with refreshing, fruity Red and Blue Raspberry Lemonade. Have a blast decking out the glasses with stripes, stars and swirls using edible blue Sparkle Gel.
   What’s more fun than the fireworks finale? Dessert! Guests will ooh and aah over Banana Split Surprise Cake — a decadent dessert with a surprise strawberry ice cream center. It’s a new take on cake and ice cream, great for serving a crowd.
   Visit www.wilton.com for more celebration ideas or to order baking and decorating supplies.
   Patriot’s Peanut Butter Popcorn
   Ingredients:
   1 bag (3.2 ounces) butter flavored microwave popcorn
   1/2 cup peanut butter
   1/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
   1 bottle (3 ounces) Patriotic Nonpareils or other patriotic sprinkles
   1 package (12 ounces) Red Candy Melts Candy
   Directions:
   Make popcorn according to package directions. In large bowl, microwave peanut butter and brown sugar for 1 minute; stir to combine. Add popcorn and stir until well coated. Sprinkle liberally with nonpareils, stirring to distribute. Spread onto parchment-lined sheet pan.
   Melt Candy Melts Candy according to package directions. Drizzle over popcorn.
   Banana Split Surprise Cake
   Ingredients:
   2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
   1 teaspoon baking soda
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
   1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
   4 eggs
   2 teaspoons vanilla extract
   3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/4 cups)
   1 cup sour cream
   1 cup (about 8 ounces) hot fudge sauce
   1 pint (about 2 cups) strawberry ice cream, softened
   1 box (10 ounces) Vanilla Whipped Icing Mix
   Fresh strawberries, halved
   Star Pics
   Directions:
   Preheat oven 350°F. Spray Fancy Fill pans from set with vegetable cooking spray.
   In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and mashed banana; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream; blend thoroughly but do not overmix. Pour into prepared pans.
   Bake 33 to 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove from pan and cool completely.
   Divide fudge sauce and spread evenly into cavities of cake; freeze 10 minutes. At same time, remove strawberry ice cream to soften. Fill cake cavities with ice cream. Assemble cake by inverting top layer onto bottom layer.
   Prepare icing mix according to package directions. Ice top and sides of cake; freeze at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. Garnish with strawberries and star pics.
   All Star Sliders on
   Cornbread Buns
   Cornbread Buns
   Ingredients:
   Directions:
   Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray Star Whoopie Pie Pan with vegetable cooking spray.
   In medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add sour cream, oil and eggs, stirring just until smooth. Fill cavities 3/4 full, spreading batter to edges of star.
   Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until center of bun springs back when touched. Cool in pan 5 minutes; remove to cooling grid. Repeat with remaining batter.
   Sliders
   Ingredients:
   Directions:
   Preheat grill or broiler to medium high heat.
   In large bowl, combine all ingredients until well incorporated. Form into twelve 2-1/2-inch patties. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side.
   Serve with star buns and your favorite condiments.