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.