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Classic desserts are classic for a reason. While we would never scorn tradition (or a cherry pie), it’s fun to test out creative updates on tried-and-true dishes. Looking for something a little more daring that preserves the flavors we love? Try these ten dishes to give your Fourth of July dessert table a chic makeover.

Instead of: Yellow Sheet Cake Try: Yellow Blueberry & Strawberry Layer Cake 

A naked cake feels more rustic and a smidge more elegant than your standard sheet cake, and this version from The Cookery Wife is even decked out in patriotic colors making it perfect for your festive get-together.

Instead of: Strawberry Shortcake Try: Grilled Strawberry Shortcake Kebabs 

If the idea of grilling a shortcake sounds a little weird to you, don’t worry: The light grilling actually draws out the flavors and elevates the whole dessert exponentially. Foodess’s take on strawberry shortcake provides easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to guide you through making this summery treat.


Instead of: Classic Brownies Try: Espresso Brownies with Mocha Frosting 

There’s nothing better than a really good brownie… except when that brownie is infused with espresso powder and topped with a creamy mocha frosting. Stephanie Salvatore’s recipe relies on the coffee flavor to intensify and draw out the chocolatey taste of the brownie. And candied hazelnuts as a topping add some crunch and complement the dessert perfectly.  


Instead of: S’mores Try: S’mores Stout Milkshakes 

How Sweet Eats’s recipe combines two beloved American culinary traditions: s’mores and beer. These impressive-looking treats will be a refreshing way to end a hot summer barbecue.


Instead of: Cherry Pie Try: Cherry Turnovers 

Blogger Bake and Tell gives the ultimate all-American dessert a fun makeover with these adorable cherry turnovers. As an added bonus, the individual pies are way easier to eat (and clean up) if you’re hosting a large outdoor fête as opposed to a sit-down dinner party.  


Instead of: Lemon Squares Try: Blood Orange Bars 

According to Baked By An Introvert, the creator of these vibrant little squares, blood orange bars are the perfect solution for anyone who loves lemon squares but wants something a little less tangy. By simply swapping the lemon for blood orange, you can get a unique-looking and memorable summer dessert.


Instead of: Peach or Berry Cobbler Try: Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Honey Butter Biscuits 

Where your classic cobbler recipe uses either peach or berry, Half Baked Harvest’s take on the beloved summer dish draws on another seasonal favorite: strawberry rhubarb pie. Bake in a cast iron skillet and finish it off with a healthy (or not-so-healthy) serving of vanilla ice cream.


Instead of: Chocolate Chip Cookies Try: Triple-Dipped Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches 

We see your chocolate chip cookies and raise you these chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches dipped in smooth semi-sweet chocolate for the quintessential summer treat. Blogger F For Food reimagined the classic ice cream sandwich with a version that’s so much tastier than anything you could buy pre-packaged.


Instead of: Apple Pie Try: Salted Caramel Apple Galette

It may be thought of as a typically fall dessert, but apple pie is so good that there’s absolutely no reason not to enjoy it year-round. Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction suggests making an apple galette in lieu of a regular pie to make the dish a little lighter.  


Instead of: Cheesecake Try: Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Cupcakes 

Individual desserts are ideal for bigger barbecues because it makes serving dessert a breeze, and is there any better individual dessert than a cupcake? It turns out the answer to that is yes, and it’s these lemon ricotta cheesecake cupcakes by Baker By Nature. The decadence of the cheesecake is balanced out by a refreshing citrus flavor.

Related reading:

The Best Make-Ahead Side Dishes For A Summer BBQ Make This 3-Ingredient Patriotic Trifle On The 4th! No-Cook Salads For When It’s Too Hot To Turn On The Oven