STAR SPANGLED SHORTCAKE
Puff pastry (can be found in boxes in the frozen foods section)
1 large can cherry pie filling
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup fresh blueberries
Sweetened whip cream or custard
3-4″ star cookie cutter
Thaw puff pastry and cut shapes using a star cookie cutter. Place stars on a baking sheet and bake according to package directions. Let cool. Mix together cherry pie filling, sliced strawberries, blueberries and lemon juice (adjust amounts to taste). To assemble: Place a dollop of whip cream or custard on one star pastry. Place a scoop of fruit mixture on top. Place another star pastry on top and then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with raspberries if desired. Note: Pastry can be made with layers of buttered phyllo dough instead of puff pastry. Stars can also be made from scone dough or cut from slices of pound cake. Also this fruit mixture makes a great topping for a cheesecake or can be used in a trifle or parfait.
1 small package (3 oz.) flavored gelatin (any red and/or any blue flavor)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
6-8 quarts popcorn
Combine first three ingredients and stir over low heat. (Make red batch separate from blue batch.) Boil for one minute and pour over popped popcorn. Make into balls if desired. For added pizzazz, press warm popcorn balls into red white and blue candies or mini marshmallows. A fun surprise/favor would be to wrap a small novelty in plastic wrap and place inside a large popcorn ball. Mixing several batches of blue and red popcorn makes a fun patriotic treat. You could also shape this mixture into a large star – simply grease a large star pan and press popcorn inside. Let set and un-mold. Another option would be to layer red and blue popcorn in a Bundt pan and make a popcorn cake (place candies in the bottom of the pan before adding popcorn for a fun topping).