Easy to eat handheld foods for 4th of July

From handpies to cake pops, check out these tasty patriotic foods.

June 30, 2022, 8:58 AM

Need a free hand to hold a drink or a sparkler this 4th of July? No problem. These individual serving bites have all the appeal of summer favorites for a crowd without the need for plates, cutlery or worries of potential double-dipping.

Plus, since these personal-sized snacks and treats are self-contained, guests can easily grab the perfect portion to try each dish.

Just a Taste food blogger Kelly Senyei shared these simple self-contained recipes like flakey brie and jam bites, guacamole bruschetta, marinated shrimp skewers, fresh berry handpies and even a refreshing frozen cocktail favorite in popsicle form.

Easy Pizza Dough Soft Pretzel Bites

PHOTO: Easy pizza dough soft pretzel bites are a perfect 4th of July snack.
Easy pizza dough soft pretzel bites are a perfect 4th of July snack.
Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste

Cook: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

Cooking spray

All-purpose flour, for rolling out dough

1 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough, at room temp

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

1 large egg yolk, whisked with 1 tablespoon water

Everything seasoning or kosher salt, for topping

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper greased with cooking spray.

2. Lightly flour your work surface then cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. (They do not need to be uniform in shape but should be roughly the same size.)

3. In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot set over medium-high heat, whisk together the water and baking soda. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.

4. Working in batches, boil the pretzel bites for 1 minute, then using a slotted spoon, transfer them into a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 1 inch apart.

5. Brush the pretzel bites with the egg wash then sprinkle them with everything seasoning or salt.

6. Bake the pretzel bites until they are dark golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip Wonton Cups

PHOTO: Individual spinach and artichoke dip wonton cups are a perfect handheld dish.
Individual spinach and artichoke dip wonton cups are a perfect handheld dish.
Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste

Cook: 20 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

12 wonton wrappers

Cooking spray

1/2 of a 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and very well-strained

1 (8-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

2 oz. cream cheese, at room temp

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Arrange the wonton wrappers in a standard 12-cup muffin pan then spray them lightly with cooking spray. Bake the wonton cups for 5 minutes then remove them from the oven and set them aside.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped artichoke hearts, spinach, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and minced garlic.

4. Divide the spinach mixture evenly among the wonton cups then return them to the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the spinach mixture is warm and the wonton cups are golden brown.

Baked Brie Bites with Jam

PHOTO: Baked brie and jam puff pastry bites.
Baked brie and jam puff pastry bites.
Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste

Cook: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed but cold

1 (8-oz.) wheel brie cheese, cold

1/4 cup raspberry, apricot or fig jam

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon whole milk

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut along the seams lengthwise on each sheet of puff pastry to form three long rectangles then cut each rectangle into three 3-inch squares. (Each sheet of puff pastry will yield 9 squares.)

3. Slice the brie into 18 wedges. Place each puff pastry square on the baking sheet then place the wedge of brie in one corner of the square (leaving a small border along the edge). Place a dollop of jam on top of the cheese then sprinkle the jam with chopped nuts. Stretch and fold the puff pastry over the cheese so that the two corners of the squares meet to form a triangle. Using a fork, crimp together the edges so that the puff pastry pocket is firmly sealed. Repeat the filling and crimping process with the remaining pieces of puff pastry. Cut a slit in the top of each triangle.

4. Whisk together the egg and milk then brush the tops of the puff pastry. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked throughout. Remove the puff pastry from the oven and allow the bites to cool for 5 minutes then serve immediately.

Guacamole Bruschetta

PHOTO: Handheld guacamole bruschetta alleviates the possibility of double-dipping from a shared bowl.
Handheld guacamole bruschetta alleviates the possibility of double-dipping from a shared bowl.
Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste

Cook: 6 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

1/2 loaf French bread

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 roma tomatoes, medium chopped

2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.2. Slice the bread on the diagonal into ½-inch rounds and arrange them on a baking sheet.

3. Toast the sliced bread in the oven for 3 minutes, then flip each piece over and toast an additional 3 minutes.

4. Remove the toasted bread from the oven and immediately rub one side with the clove of garlic. (It works best to first cut a small tip off the garlic clove so that the oils will seep out).

5. Brush the tops of the garlic-rubbed toasts with olive oil and set aside.

6. In a large bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mash to your desired level of chunkiness.

7. Spoon a portion of the guacamole onto each of the garlic toasts and serve.

Glazed Honey-Garlic Shrimp Skewers

PHOTO: Glazed honey garlic shrimp skewers.
Glazed honey garlic shrimp skewers.
Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste

Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes + 8 min cook time

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

1. Place the shrimp in a large sealable plastic bag.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, honey, balsamic vinegar, hoisin, garlic and pepper. Pour half of the mixture into the bag with the shrimp and set the remaining half aside. Seal the bag then shake it lightly so that the shrimp are thoroughly coated. Refrigerate the shrimp for 1 hour.

3. While the shrimp marinates, soak the wooden skewers in water.

4. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Slide several shrimp onto each of the wooden skewers then place the skewers on the grill and cook the shrimp until pink throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. While the shrimp cook, transfer the remaining half of the marinade to a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook it just until it has thickened into a glaze, about 5 minutes. Set the glaze aside.

5. Remove the shrimp skewers from the grill then brush them with the glaze. Serve immediately.

Red, White and Blue No-Bake Cookie Pops

PHOTO: These no-bake cookie pops will be a handheld hit at a 4th of July party.
These no-bake cookie pops will be a handheld hit at a 4th of July party.
Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste

Prep: 35 minutesYield: 14 pops

Ingredients

18 vanilla sandwich cookies with cream filling

4 ounces cream cheese

1 cup red candy melts

1 cup white candy melts

1 cup blue candy melts

Red, white and blue sprinkles, for topping

Instructions

1. Add the sandwich cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until roughly chopped. Add the cream cheese and continue pulsing until the mixture is smooth and there are no large visible pieces of cookie.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands, pinch off pieces of the mixture and roll it into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet then insert a lollipop stick into each and freeze them for 20 minutes.

3. Once the cookie pops have hardened, melt the red, white and blue candy melts in separate bowls according to package instructions. Dip the chilled cookie pops into each of the candy melt colors, shaking off any excess, and then immediately top them with the corresponding red, white or blue sprinkles.

4. Return the cookie pops to the baking sheet. Refrigerate them an additional 5 minutes until the candy melt has fully hardened then serve.

Easy Blueberry Hand Pies

PHOTO: Easy blueberry hand pies from Just a Taste food blogger, Kelly Senyei.
Easy blueberry hand pies from Just a Taste food blogger, Kelly Senyei.
Kelly Senyei

Cook: 15 minutesYield: 20 small hand pies

Ingredients

1 (14.1-oz.) package store-bought pie crust (2 pie crusts total)

2 cups blueberries

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 large egg

Sanding sugar (optional)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats.

2. Lightly flour your work surface then unroll the pie crusts. Using a 3- or 4-inch circular cookie cutter, cut out circles from each crust, re-rolling and re-cutting the scraps as needed.

3. Arrange half of the pie crust circles on the baking sheets, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Set the remaining pie crust circles aside.

4. In a medium bowl, stir together the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Divide the blueberry mixture among the pie crust circles on the baking sheets, centering the filling in each circle and leaving a 1/4-inch space around the edges.

5. Top each pie crust circle with an additional pie crust circle, using a fork to crimp together the edges. Cut small slits atop each hand pie. (Alternately, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out a shape from each top crust.)

6. Beat together the egg with 1 tablespoon water then brush the tops of the hand pies with the egg wash. Sprinkle the sanding sugar on top (optional) then bake the hand pies for about 15 minutes or until they're golden brown and the blueberry juice is bubbling.

7. Remove the hand pies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the baking sheets before serving.

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

PHOTO: Frozen strawberry margarita popsicles are a perfect handheld treat for the 4th of July.
Frozen strawberry margarita popsicles are a perfect handheld treat for the 4th of July.
Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste

Prep: 6 hours (includes freezing)

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 1/4 pounds strawberries, stems removed

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon silver tequila

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Instructions

1. Blend the strawberries in a blender until they are puréed.

2. Pour the strawberries into a large liquid measuring cup or bowl with a spout then stir in the tequila, agave nectar and lime juice.

3. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds, insert the popsicle sticks and freeze the popsicles until they are frozen solid.

4. To unmold the popsicles, run them under lukewarm water for 10 seconds then slide them from the molds.

Recipes and photographs reprinted courtesy of Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste.

An earlier version of this story was originally published on June 30, 2021.

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