July 05, 2010

4th of July Goodies

I didn't realize this... but 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  Okay, I like holidays in general BUT... 4th of July is awesome.  It's super casual, there's no pressure... Everyone's just happy to be chillaxin' and having a good time. 

Hmmm... maybe the reason I like 4th of July so much is because it's never 'my thing.'  Marie & Chris always do 4th of July so I just get to show up with whatever I feel like making, drink & eat grilled food all day.  No work for me--WIN!  ;) 

I've just always loved the 4th of July, though-- even if I DID have to host.  I think mostly because it's about community.  Whether it's your community of friends or your neighborhood, everybody's eating watermelon and pasta salads, drinking beer and lemonade.  There's no pressure, there are no gifts... It's just a celebration of thankfulness for getting to live in this country. 

And for me, I always like to give thanks in baked goods.  :)

So here are a few things I made this year...

'Team USA' Red Velvet Cake Pops
(Oooh!  I'm going to give everything goofy 4th of July names!).

They don't kid around with the humidity here. It is HOT.
These babies didn't even begin to solidify until I put them in the fridge!

Oh, how I miss you central air...
But hey!  How about all of this LIGHT!?  :)

In some Southern states, we call these 'Freedom Brownies.'
They're actually my 'Grasshoppah Mint' Brownies but I used some Wilton melting chocolates instead of my Guittard green chunks of awesomeness.  And of COURSE, oreos.  :)

Then I made some mini mixed berry tarts.
I call them... umm... "THE ARMY OF TARTNESS."
(Bruce Campbell would be so proud).

Fresh blueberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and a little bit of apple.  All the fruit was SO ripe & fresh.  Mmmm!  Loved it!

And then I made cupcake-size mini pies.

Very time consuming these here pies.

I really love my pie crust because it almost tastes like sugar cookies.  But at the same time, it's always difficult to get it that crispy beautiful brown color- even using egg wash.  Suggestions?

And finally, this one was my favorite.  Because it doesn't look so much like a lattice pie crust as it does the emblem to the book from 'The Never Ending Story.'  HA!

'Say my name, Sebastian!!!'
'Moonchild Mini Pieeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!'

Happy 4th of July, everybody!!! 
(Apparently it's still the 4th here because some dude is lighting fireworks outside in LINCOLN PARK?  If you don't here from me it's probably because a firecracker went through my window & into my cranium!)

Sunshine and summertime,


Darci Monet said...


Wait no...booooooo...I can't have none...boooooo!

(Just thought I'd stop by and make things all about me for a minute. You're welcome.)

Freya said...

Ha! I love that you know the name is Moonchild (dumbest name ever to build up the way they did). Apparently, his mom's parents were hippies.

Robyn said...

Mandi! Every time I see those cake pops on blogs, it's usually something like "Cake Pop Disasters" and the little cakes are falling off the pops and the whole thing look ridiculous. HOW did you do it?!?!

Will you post a cake pop how to?!?! (oh wait. did you already? hmm...)

Teacher_1 said...

Thanks for clearing that up. You would think that I would have known the name of the child in the Neverending Story, but Sebastian says it all contorted like. On an unrelated note, I do love the pops. A teacher made them for a Christmas party two years ago, and I may have inhaled 6 or so in mere minutes! Yours looked more professional though. :)
-Joy (Teacher_1) aka: Freya's friend-

MandiCrocker said...

Freya! I only knew the name because I read the book recently! I can't tell you how many times I rewound that scene in the movie as a kid trying to hear what he said... I read it in the book & I was like, "THANK YOU GOD." My inner 8-year old could die happy. ;)

MandiCrocker said...

Robynski! I will definitely try to do a 'how to' in the future... although I WILL say, I have had A-PLENTY of cake ball/pops/truffle disasters in my day, so I'm hardly an authority on the subject. I think they didn't fall off the pop because of the humidity honestly. They can't be too cool. And then also the chocolate has to be tempered just right. (Apparently, chicago at 88 degrees plus crazy humidity is considered perfect!) If if it's too gloppy and you find yourself banging them against a pan there will be casualities! Hmmm... I'll see what I can do. :)

MandiCrocker said...

Teacher_1 Ooooooh, yes... Best things about being a baker are the mistakes. :)

Dingy Dongy-- love you berry much!!! :)