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I can hardly believe it’s JULY already ~ can you?!?  It is, though, and that means it’s time for another edition of The Recipe Box in Direct Magazine!  Summer is a great time to get kids into the kitchen, and Independence Day lends itself to making these easy and patriotic treats using chocolate candy melts and sprinkles.  Be ready to hear as many “oooo’s and ahhhh’s” for your creations as you do for the fireworks! Just for you, I’ve included a couple of super fun bonus ideas for the quintessential outdoor summer treat – s’mores – scroll down for the recipes!

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Candy melts in chocolate, peanut butter and all kinds of colors and flavors make for fun in the kitchen creating patriotic treats for the 4th of July – and it’s so easy!  Kids will have a great time dipping pretzels and potato chips into white (or milk or dark) chocolate and decorating with their choice of seasonal sprinkles.  Chocolate bark is a snap to put together with GORP (remember Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts?), and Sparkling Strawberries will be a huge hit – fair warning, they will turn your mouth blue (temporarily), which kids love.

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Have all your ingredients at the ready and your baking sheets lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Make sure the strawberries and all your bowls and utensils are completely dry – any bit of water will make the melted candies immediately solidify, and you won’t be able to use them.

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Melt a package of candies in the microwave – I start with 1 minute, then stir well, then continue in 15-30 second intervals, stiring after each.  It doesn’t take long.  Then dip your item in as much as you like.  Gently shake over the bowl to remove excess and set on the parchment.  Sprinkle immediately with decorations.  (Finish one piece at a time; if the chocolate sets quickly the toppings won’t stick.)

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So fun, right??  For the pretzel rods, use a spoon to evenly drizzle the melted candies over.

For the GORP Bark, combine the raisins, peanuts and M n M’s and mix well.  Melt a package of the candy melts and pour over the mixture…

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…then work quickly to pour out onto a baking sheet and spread with a spatula.  Refrigerate until set, then break into pieces.

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For the strawberries, dip each one into the white candy melts 2/3 of the way to the top, and allow the excess to drip off..

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Then immediately dip into the edible blue sparkles 1/3 of the way up.

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For the s’mores, dip each graham cracker half into the chocolate I used white and milk chocolate melts mixed together this time), place on the parchment and drop a few marshmallows on top, then drizzle with a little more chocolate.

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I have made several versions of the dipped s’mores for years; you can use white, milk, or dark chocolate, or other flavors if you prefer, along with whatever toppings you think would be decorative and delicious.  They are especially pretty – and dare I say even a little sophisticated! – with dried fruits and nuts at Christmastime.

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Here’s a fun new s’more I tried for the first time this year, using the new square s’more-sized marshmallows.  I melted a package of peanut butter candy melts and coated the marshmallows.

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Then I dipped them into crushed graham crackers and sprinkled the top with nonpareils.  So cute (and so good)! You can insert lollipop sticks for “S’mores on a Stick”.

Here are some handy dandy tips for you:

~You can make most of these in advance, but the berries are best the day they are dipped.  Store them in the fridge until a few minutes before you’re ready to serve.  The rest of the treats are fine in a cool place, unless your house is very warm; definitely don’t set them in direct sun as they will melt.

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~Special containers make the treats even more appealing.  Use seasonal bowls, mason jars, quirky things like hot dog holders and plastic sandwich baskets and vintage plates.  Cellophane bags and fun ribbons are great for wrapping treats to go.

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~ Always be on the lookout for new foods, flavors and decorations that are released for big holidays (like Halloween).  Many stores begin putting this merchandise out way in advance (which seems crazy, but there it is).  If you see something you like, get it – special merchandise often sells out quickly and if you wait until closer to the actual holiday it may be gone.

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What’s not to love about these tasty, fun and easy treats? Don’t be surprised when you start searching through your pantry for extra foods to dip and sprinkle – it’s hard to stop once you get started!  The best part?  Your imagination and seasonal candy melts, decorations and treats mean an endless variety of fun foods to dip for celebrations through summertime and all year long. Enjoy, and Happy 4th, y’all!

Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends. unknown


4th of July Fun Foods
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Make these easy 4th of July treats – and get ready for as many “oooo’s and ahhhh’s” for them as you hear for the fireworks! Your imagination and seasonal candy melts, decorations and treats mean an endless variety of fun foods to dip for celebrations through summertime and all year long.
Author:
Recipe type: Desserts, snacks
Cuisine: American
Serves: many servings
Ingredients
  • 2-3 - 12 oz. bags Wilton Bright White Candy Melts (or your choice flavor and color - available at craft stores)
  • 1 - 12 oz. bag Wilton Peanut Butter Candy Melts (or your choice flavor and color)
  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Pretzel rods
  • Potato chips (Kettle Cooked preferred)
  • 1 cup Red, White and Blue M n’ M candies (milk chocolate)
  • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 package mini-marshmallows
  • 1 package s'more-size marshmallows
  • 8 chocolate graham crackers, halved (16 pieces)
  • 1 sleeve honey graham crackers, crushed fine
  • 4th of July sprinkles
  • Edible blue glitter*
  • Parchment paper-lined baking sheets
  • *available at craft stores
Instructions
  1. Melt the candies: Place 1 package candy melts in a glass bowl. Microwave 1 minute, stir, then microwave in 15-20 second increments, stirring well each time, until the mixture is smooth. Note: microwave ovens vary in strength, so adjust your timing accordingly; if your oven power is very strong start with 30-second increments. Stir thoroughly - candies won’t look melted until you mix them up. (Be patient – use several short cook times to melt, rather than burn them.) If the chocolate solidifies as you are working, microwave for a few seconds and stir.
  2. Sparkling Strawberries: wash the berries and set them out to dry thoroughly. Any bit of water will make the chocolate “seize”, rendering it unusable. Pat them once more with a paper towel before dipping them. Have your melted candies ready, and pour the edible glitter into a small bowl.
  3. Dip each strawberry into the white chocolate about ⅔ to the top of the berry. Allow excess chocolate to drip off into the bowl. Immediately dip the berry into the edible glitter about ⅓ of the way up and place on the baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, transfer to a platter and refrigerate until serving time. Fair warning: these will (temporarily) turn your mouth blue – kids love this!
  4. Pretzels and potato chips: set pretzels and chips on baking sheet and pour sprinkles into a bowl. Dip chips and pretzels, one at a time, halfway into the chocolate and tap gently on the side of the bowl to allow the excess to drip off. (Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the pretzel rods.) Hold each chip/pretzel over the bowl of decorations and sprinkle lightly over both sides; set on the baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, then store in airtight bags in a cool spot.
  5. GORP (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts) Chocolate Bark: combine M n’ M’s, peanuts and raisins in a large bowl. Melt one package of candy melts, and pour over the mixture. Mix thoroughly and spread evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set; break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool spot.
  6. S'mores: Melt the white (or milk or dark) chocolate candies. Using a fork, dip a graham cracker into the melts. Lift it out and tap the fork gently on the side of the bowl to allow the excess to drip off. Place on the parchment and drop a few mini-marshmallows onto the coated cracker. Use the fork to drizzle a little more chocolate over the marshmallows, and immediately sprinkle with decorations. Let sit on the parchment until set.
  7. Peanut Butter Marshmallow S'mores: Melt a package of peanut butter candy melts. Use a fork to dip a s'more-size marshmallow into the melts, coating thoroughly. Use the fork to lift out of the melts and tap gently on the side of the bowl to allow the excess to drip off. Set the marshmallow into the crushed graham crackers and use a different fork to coat the sides. Lift out and place on parchment, then sprinkle with decorations. Let sit until dry and set.

 

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