Here are two creative, fun and tasty ideas for a July 4th dessert grand finale.  Family and friends will want to participate in creating the red, white and blue balloon cups.  They will enjoy rocking the blown up balloons in the candy melts and then, after placing the balloons for a brief stint in the freezer, they will perform the pièce de résistance by popping the balloons with a pin or other pointy object. The end result will be a beautifully formed tulip-shaped shell. I’ve also provided one of my favorite cookie recipes to make cookie sandwiches to be filled with either a cream cheese frosting or ice cream.  Enjoy these delightful treats and, most of all, have a Happy Fourth of July!

Ingredients for Red White and Blue Balloon Cups

  • 12 balloons (small round ones, if possible)
  • 10 ounces red candy melts*
  • 10 ounces white candy melts
  • 10 ounces blue candy melts
  • red, white and blue jimmies

Blow up the balloons.  The balloons I used in this recipe were about 3 ½ “ in diameter.

Place the red candy melts in a microwave safe bowl approximately 2’’ larger in diameter than the balloons.  I used a glass bowl 5 ½  “ in diameter.  Heat the candy melts in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power.  Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the candy melts.  Replace the candy melts in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds at 50% power.  Remove and stir the melts.  Repeat this process until the candy melts are fully melted and smooth.

Allow the candy melts to cool slightly—to about 90 degrees.  Then take a blown up balloon, place it in the melted confection and, with a rocking motion, cover the bottom of the balloon with the candy melt.  Rock the balloon forward and backward and then side to side.  Do this at least five times to reinforce the thickness of the candy melt shell.  When you are done, the candy melt shell should resemble a tulip shape. Lift the balloon out of the bowl, allowing the excess candy melt to drip back into the bowl.  If desired, sprinkle with the jimmies. Place the candy melt coated balloon on a small paper plate lined with wax paper.  Place in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.

Repeat the above process with the remaining balloons and the white and blue candy melts.  You should end up with 4 balloon cups of each color.

Remove one balloon at a time from the freezer.  Pop the balloon with a pin or other sharp object.  Remove the pieces of popped balloon from inside the balloon cups.

You now have a lovely red, white or blue candy melt shell in which you can serve ice creams, sorbets or mousses.  Or, if preferred, you can place red, white and blue candies in the shells.

You can make these weeks in advance and keep them in the freezer.

12 servings.


* I use Wilton Candy Melts.  You can find them at Party City or Michaels—both stores are in East Hanover.

Ingredients for White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie Sandwiches

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups macadamia nuts, toasted* and chopped coarsely
  • Pillsbury Supreme Cream Cheese Frosting**
  • red white and blue jimmies***

Before you begin, line two 15×11 inch cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until softened.  Add the white and brown sugars and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.  Add the flour mixture in several additions, beating on low speed until just mixed in.  Gently fold in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls or tablespoonfuls depending on your preferred size of cookie.  Bake for 9 to 15 minutes depending on the size of cookie.  Cookies are done when they are golden brown.  Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for a couple of minutes, then remove to cooling racks.

When cookies are completely cooled, place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese frosting on the flat side of the cookie.  Top with the flat side of another cookie.  Press lightly on the cookie to spread the filling slightly beyond the edges of the cookie.  Roll the cookie sandwich in the jimmies.

Makes 3 to 5 dozen cookies, or 1 ½ to 2 ½ dozen cookie sandwiches.


* To toast the macadamia nuts, place them on a baking sheet into a 350 degree preheated oven, and bake for 5 to 8 minutes until golden, checking frequently to make sure they don’t burn.

** Use any other frosting you like, just make sure it is firm enough to hold its shape.  These cookie sandwiches are also great filled with ice cream.

*** Feel free to roll the cookie sandwiches in other toppings such as coconut, chopped nuts, cookie crumbs, granola, etc.