Fourth of July: American flags, fireworks and barbeques. For all the munchies in between lunch and dinner, try these easy-to-make bites.

Fresh Fruit: Dressed for the Party

A cute way to serve up fresh-cut fruit is to stamp out shapes with cookie cutters you already have at home. This is great for pineapple, melons, and even strawberries!

 

All Wrapped Up Asparagus

Steam some asparagus and wrap them in deli meat, like prosciutto, to give them a salty kick. Then bake them in the oven for a few minutes. Don’t wrap all of the asparagus so that vegetarians and vegans can eat them too!

Red, White, and Yummy!

Coconut is a great summer flavor. To accompany these cupcakes, serve coconuts to drink out of or a fresh fruit juice.

Ingredients
-3 sticks unsalted butter
-2 cups sugar
-5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
-1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
-3 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup buttermilk
-14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

Optional cream cheese frosting (not pictured above):
-1 pound cream cheese
-3 sticks unsalted butter
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
-1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer , cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

4. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

5 (optional: frosting). Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

6.Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Add raspberries and blueberries to top them off with a patriotic vibe.