Happy 4th of July


EDITION NUMBER 21 - Summer 2004

July 1, 2004

Welcome Home Baker's and Friends,

Summer has finally arrived and here in Northern California (where we live) the weather has really begun to warm up. It's a great time to go on picnics, to barbeque, travel to the beach, and spend a little time enjoying the ocean breeze and taking in a bit of the nice warm sun.

It's also the best time for making "cool and refreshing" light desserts and treats to enjoy during these warm summer months. In this edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter, the recipes will focus on desserts that can be enjoyed especially during this time of the year, and most of them are "no-bake" treats so you don't have to slave over a "hot" stove or oven during these warmer summer days.

Since the 4th of July (America's Independence Day) is celebrated this month, I am including in this edition several refreshing and light dessert recipes to make for this special holiday.

The Diana's Desserts Guest Submitted recipe this month comes from Pat Wynn who shares with us her recipe for Low-Carb Chocolate Truffles.

The subject for this month's Food Tips and Information Section below is the delicious Mango, a sweet and "oh so juicy" tropical fruit in season between April and September, and at it's peak during June and July. A wonderful recipe for Key Lime Pie with Mango Sauce is included below.

Next Month, Etc.
My husband Kenny and I will be taking a break from our daily routines in August, maybe even getting away for a short holiday, so I will not be sending out a newsletter next month. Diana's Desserts Newsletter will return in early September, just in time to give you some helpful ideas for Labor Day weekend picnics and barbeques and also some "back to school" snack ideas for the kids. I will also share with those of you who celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, a couple of "sweet" holiday dessert recipes for the Jewish New Year.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and please let me know if you make any of them and how they turned out. Have a great 4th of July, and enjoy!

Guest Submitted Recipe

Low Carb Chocolate Truffles

Servings: Makes about 25 truffles

These are really good, and great for those of you who are trying to cut back on carbohydrates. Also a tasty and chocolaty treat for people who are diabetic.

For Truffles:
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. Splenda (sugar substitute)
1/2 tsp. sugar-free liquid sweetener (any brand)
1 tbsp. sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix
1/4 cup chopped nuts

For Rolling Truffles In:
Ground nuts
Flaked coconut
Unsweetened cocoa

Melt butter and heat heavy cream in small saucepan. Add cocoa and ricotta cheese and stir until creamy. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Add vanilla, both sweeteners, pudding mix, nuts, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Let cool until a little firm. Scoop by rounded teaspoons onto chilled plate. Refrigerate one hour until firm. You can roll the truffles in ground nuts, flaked coconut, or unsweetened cocoa before refrigerating.

Makes about 25 truffles.

Source: Friend

Submitted By: Pat Wynn

Date: June 11, 2004

Thank you Pat for sharing with us the recipe for these wonderful low-carb truffles. Everyone loves candy and most of us love chocolate and now we can have both in a low carbohydrate goodie......Diana

Click here to view recipe and photo of Low-Carb Chocolate Truffles on Diana's Desserts Website

Independence Day - 4th of July

The Story of Independence Day and America's Birthday

Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States of America commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At the time of the signing the US consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of England's King George III. There was growing unrest in the colonies concerning the taxes that had to be paid to England. This was commonly referred to as "Taxation without Representation" as the colonists did not have any representation in the English Parliament and had no say in what went on. As the unrest grew in the colonies, King George sent extra troops to help control any rebellion. In 1774 the 13 colonies sent delegates to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to form the First Continental Congress. The delegates were unhappy with England, but were not yet ready to declare war.

In April 1775 as the King's troops advanced on Concord Massachusetts Paul Revere would sound the alarm that "The British are coming, the British are coming" as he rode his horse through the late night streets. The battle of Concord and its "shot heard round the world" would mark the unofficial beginning of the colonies war for Independence.

The following May the colonies again sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. For almost a year the congress tried to work out its differences with England, again without formally declaring war.

By June 1776 their efforts had become hopeless and a committee was formed to compose a formal declaration of independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. Thomas Jefferson was chosen to write the first draft which was presented to the congress on June 28. After various changes a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration, 2 - Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No, Delaware undecided and New York abstained.

To make it official John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. It is said that John Hancock signed his name "with a great flourish" so "King George can read that without spectacles!."

The following day copies of the Declaration were distributed. The first newspaper to print the Declaration was the Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776. On July 8th the Declaration had its first public reading in Philadelphia's Independence Square. Twice that day the Declaration was read to cheering crowds and pealing church bells. Even the bell in Independence Hall was rung. The "Province Bell" would later be renamed "Liberty Bell" after its inscription -

Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof

And although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence. The first Independence Day celebration took place the following year - July 4 1777. By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America's birthday. And although fireworks have been banned in most places because of their danger, most towns and cities usually have big firework displays for all to see and enjoy.

Source: Holidays on the Net - http://www.holidays.net/independence/story.htm

Dessert Recipes for Summer and the 4th of July

Frozen Chocolate Bananas on a Stick

Servings: 8

My Mother made these for us when we were young kids, and now when I see them at an ice cream shop or candy store, I must have one. They are so refreshing when they are frozen, and it's hard not to finish the whole thing. What a great treat for the 4th of July. The kids will love these "cool" goodies.

8 medium firm bananas
8 wooden popsicle or ice cream sticks
1/4 cup corn-oil margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 pkg. (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate pieces
Chopped nuts or colored sprinkles (optional)

Peel bananas. Insert wooden stick in end of each piece of banana; freeze on a cookie sheet until firm.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring margarine and syrup to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate pieces until smooth.

Working quickly, spread bananas evenly with chocolate mixture. Roll in chopped nuts or sprinkles if desired.

Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze until firm. Wrap pops in plastic wrap or foil and store in freezer.

Makes 8 frozen chocolate bananas.

Source: DianasDesserts.com

Click here to view recipe and photo of Frozen Chocolate Bananas on a Stick on Diana's Desserts Website

Strawberries with Pound Cake and Whipped Topping

When you're busy enjoying the 4th of July celebrations and don't have time to make a fancy dessert for your family or friends, here's a quick and easy recipe just for you. You needn't tell your guests that you didn't bake the pound cake from scratch, and no one will know the difference. Everyone will enjoy this delicious and pretty dessert. Other summer fruits may be substituted for the strawberries if desired.

Servings: 7

1 frozen pound cake, thawed and cut into 14 slices
3 cups strawberries, sliced and sweetened with sugar
1 (8 oz.) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed (3-1/2 cups)

Place 7 of the pound cake slices on individual dessert plates. Spoon about 3 tbsp. of the sliced strawberries over each cake slice. Top each with 1/4 cup whipped topping. Top with a second slice of pound cake, sliced strawberries and whipped topping. Continue until you have used all slices of pound cake, and made 7 servings. Serve immediately.

Makes 7 servings.

Substitute Lite or Fat-Free non-dairy whipped topping for the Regular whipped topping for a lower fat version of this recipe.

Peaches, blueberries or other summer fruits of your choice may be substituted for the sliced strawberries in this recipe.

Click here to view recipe and photo of Strawberries with Pound Cake with Whipped Topping on Diana's Desserts Website

Watermelon Ribbon Basket Salad

Servings: 12-15

This lovely watermelon ribbon basket makes a beautiful and spectacular presentation to serve at any picnic or barbeque, or even at an outdoors brunch, but I think it is especially suited for the 4th of July when you really want a festive dessert or fruit salad. The carved watermelon is filled with sweet melon balls, grapes, and strawberries, and would be so nice served with a glass of champagne or sparkling cider. Making it is not as difficult as it looks and everyone will really love it.

1 large oval shaped watermelon, weighing about 15 pounds
2 cantaloupe melons
2 honeydew melons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
2 cups green or red seedless grapes, washed and dried

For Garnish: (optional)
Whipped cream or frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
Ice Cream (vanilla ice cream goes well with this melon salad)
Mint sprigs



1. Select an oval-shaped watermelon. If necessary, cut a thin slice from the bottom of the watermelon so it sits level.

2. Draw a straight line (just above the middle) lengthwise around the watermelon for the baskets edge.

3. Draw a handle diagonally across the top as shown in the photograph.

4. Draw a bow as shown on the photograph so that one edge of the bow is connected to the baskets edge.

5. Cut and remove the top sections leaving the handle and the bow intact.

6. Scoop out the flesh from inside the watermelon with a melon baller leaving a trace of red on the inside of the watermelon. Drain the watermelon before filling.


1. Slice the melons in half, and scoop out seeds. With a melon baller, scoop out flesh from cantaloupes and honeydews (or other melon types, if using).

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, lime juice, lemon juice, vanilla extract, orange liqueur (optional) and lime zest. Stir well.

3. Add all melon balls (including the watermelon balls), strawberries and grapes and toss to combine.

4. Allow fruit to chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. Just before serving, transfer fruit salad to watermelon basket.

6. Serve the watermelon fruit salad in dessert cups or glass goblets as a refreshing and colorful summer dessert, or as a special dish for a mid-day brunch or an afternoon or early evening barbeque.

7. Top each serving with a scoop of whipped cream, or ice cream, and garnish each with a mint sprig (optional).

Tip: It is important to purchase watermelons that are fully ripe, since they don't continue to ripen once they have been picked. A ripe melon feels heavy for its size and has a sweet, fresh fragrance.

Serves: 12-15

Source: DianasDesserts.com

Click here to view recipe and photo of Watermelon Ribbon Basket Salad on Diana's Desserts Website

Summer Dessert

Servings: 8

To me this is the "perfect" dessert to serve on a warm summer's day or on a balmy evening, after dinner, when you just want a little something that's sweet, light and refreshing. Also, great to serve at a barbeque, or wrap well in plastic, keep chilled in a cooler and bring to a picnic such as a 4th of July celebration.

1 package lemon flavored jello
1 cup sliced fresh fruit * (see note below)
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp. sherry wine (optional)
1 package vanilla pudding mix
A selection of fresh strawberries, melon, plums, apricots, raspberries, cherries or blueberries
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Prepare jello using quick set method as directed on package. When slightly thickened, stir in sliced fruit. Spoon into a 6-cup (1.5 liter) glass serving bowl or individual dessert dishes; chill.

Meanwhile, prepare pudding layer. Pour milk and sherry into mixing bowl. Add pudding mix and beat at lowest speed of mixer until smooth. Pour over jello in bowl (or individual dessert dishes). Chill for 30 minutes.

To serve, arrange fruit pieces and mint around rim of bowl (or individual dessert dishes).

Makes 8 servings.

*Note: Do not use fresh kiwi, pineapple or papaya.

Source: DianasDesserts.com

Click here to view recipe and photo of Summer Dessert on Diana's Desserts Website

Food Tips and Information Section


The delicious and juicy mango has long been one of the world's most popular fruits. The fruit's flavor is often described as an exotic mix of pineapple and peach. Mangoes are available from April to September, but June and July usually offer the best pick and prices.

Thought to be native to India, mangoes have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. The tree is related to the pistachio and cashew and grows to an average of 50 feet in height. Each tree produces about 100 mangoes. If you haven't tried a fresh mango, you're in for a treat!

When buying a mango, make sure it has a tropical fruity aroma; unripe mangoes have no scent. A fresh mango will give slightly to the touch, but stay away from very soft or bruised fruit. Some mangoes ripen to a combination of raspberry, orange and green shades, while other varieties are golden yellow or green when ripe. If your mangoes aren't quite ripe, storing them in a paper bag for a few days will help them along. The size can vary, but larger mangoes will have more fruit in relation to the pit.

Mango Preparation and Storage Information
Cut fresh mangoes lengthwise, along the pit. Once you learn to locate the mango pit, the rest is easy. The long, 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick pit runs the length of the fruit between the two plump cheeks. Cup the mango in your palm, then peel the skin from the flesh with a small, sharp knife. After determining the location of the pit and allowing for its 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness, cut through the mango lengthwise down the side of pit until its fleshy cheek is cut off. Do the same for the other side. Cut the remaining fruit from the pit in thin slices; use in recipes that call for diced fruit, in sauces, or serve raw as an appetizer.

How to Cube a Fresh Mango
Without peeling, cut the fruit from the cheeks, as described above, score flesh into squares about 1/2- to 3/4-inch in size, cutting to, but not through, skin. Gently push the mango cheek inside out, pushing fruit cubes up and apart. Cut chunks from the skin to serve. (The skin can cause irritation, so it should not be eaten.)

How to Store Mangoes
Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature to ripen, which may take up to 1 week. A paper bag might help them ripen sooner, but they will not ripen at temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celcius). Ripe mangoes can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or they can frozen, dried, cooked in syrup or puréed.

Source: About.com - URL: http://southernfood.about.com/library/weekly/aa052498.htm


Key Lime Pie with Mango Sauce

Servings: 8

This Key Lime Pie is so refreshing and so scrumptious. Serve it garnished with whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping and finely grated lime zest, and serve each slice over Puréed Mango Sauce (see Puréed Mango Sauce recipe below).

For the Crust:
1 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons graham-cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For The Key Lime Filling:
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. grated lime zest
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup fresh or bottled Key Lime juice* (see note below)

For Garnish: (optional)
Whipped Cream or Non-Dairy Whipped Topping
Finely grated lime zest

Puréed Mango Sauce (recipe follows)

For The Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).

In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press mixture into bottom and sides of a buttered 9-inch pie pan, forming a neat border around edge. Bake crust in preheated oven for about 5 minutes or until set and golden. Set aside to cool.

For The Filling:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and a nonreactive bowl, beat egg yolks and lime zest on High speed about 5 minutes or until very shiny. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, and continue to beat 3 to 4 minutes or until thick. Reduce speed of mixer to Low. Add lime juice and mix just until combined. Pour lime mixture into cooled crust. Bake in 350 degree F (180 C) oven for about 10 minutes or until filling has just set.

Place pie in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Cut pie into wedges and serve very cold over Puréed Mango Sauce (recipe follows). If desired, top each slice with whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping and a little grated lime zest.

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, 8 servings.

Puréed Mango Sauce

This easy-to-make sweet sauce complements Key Lime Pie and plain or fruit-flavored cheesecake.

2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into pieces
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Purée mango, sugar and lemon juice in food processor or blender until smooth. Sauce may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Bottled Key Lime juice can be found in most supermarkets on the juice aisle. If Key Lime Juice is unavailable in your area, you can substitute it with bottled concentrated lime juice, or use the juice of 8 to 9 fresh limes.

Bottled Key Lime juice may also be purchased online at King Arthur Flour's website (www.kingarthurflour.com). Fresh Key Limes may be purchased through Amazon.com. Put in a search at Amazon's website for Key Limes.

Source: DianasDesserts.com

Click here to view recipe and photo of Key Lime Pie with Mango Sauce on Diana's Desserts Website

Until September

Wishing you all a wonderful and very happy Summer and have a great 4th of July, and as always I hope you enjoyed the recipes in this edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter and that the information on Mangoes was helpful, interesting and useful to you.

The next edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter will be back in early September (after a month's break) with new and hopefully very interesting recipes for you to try.

If you'd like to submit one of your favorite dessert, bread or beverage recipes to Diana's Desserts Website, please click on the "Submit a Recipe" link below:

Submit a Recipe

Have a great Summer, and Happy Baking and Cooking!

Sincerely, Diana

Diana's Desserts
A Website Dedicated to Home Bakers

E-mail Address: diana@dianasdesserts.com