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Patriotic platter sure to please all

Saturday is Independence Day. Let’s celebrate with a red, white and beautiful fresh fruit, crispy cracker and sweet fluffy dip platter sure to please everyone at your table.

First, let’s talk dip. Everyone loves dip and this one’s stellar. With only two ingredients and less than five minutes to prepare, I hope you keep this recipe to enjoy all summer long. This amazing amalgam is simply cream cheese and marshmallow cream for an iridescent creamy duo you’ll want to schmear on everything.

Marshmallow cream is light, fluffy and extremely sweet. Cream cheese is the perfect pairing for adding balancing tang and body to this dip. Oh, fluffy fruit dip! Where have you been all my life?

FLUFFY FRUIT DIP

What you’ll need:

1 8-ounce package cream cheese

1 7-ounce tub marshmallow cream

Here’s how:

Warm the cream cheese to room temperature. In a mixing bowl, with handheld mixer, beat cream cheese until loose and light. Add the tub of marshmallow cream and mix until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate until chilled and serve with your favorite fruits or eat directly from a spoon when no one is watching.

Now, let’s talk crackers. I wanted to create a golden star-shaped crisp to go with our patriotic fruit platter and came up with this cracker made from wonton wrappers. If you don’t regularly play with wonton wrappers, I hope this will encourage you to do so. They’re so versatile, delicious and fun.

Of course, if you don’t wish to make star shapes (it was fun, but admittedly an effort) just cut the wrappers in half diagonally into triangles or in strips and follow the directions as written.

Also, real maple syrup is expensive, if you don’t have it, pancake syrup works simply fine.

SWEET WONTON CRACKERS

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons oil or cooking spray

1 egg white

1½ tablespoons maple syrup

¼ cup sugar

1 14-ounce package wonton wrappers

Optional hardware, star-shaped cookie cutters

Here’s how:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Brush or spray two large baking sheets with oil. Or you can line with parchment paper, but still oil them. Molten sugar is sticky. I used coconut oil spray and it was perfect, but any neutral oil works.

In a small bowl mix the egg white with the maple syrup until completely incorporated and frothy. Place the sugar in another small bowl.

Taking the wonton wrappers one at a time, use the cookie cutter to make star shapes. (Unless you’re not, then just skip that part. OK.) It’s best to keep a damp paper towel over the wonton wrappers as you work, so they don’t dry out. Brush the wonton with the egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Once the sheet is full, place in the oven for five to six minutes, or until golden brown. With a spatula, place on a cooling rack and let sit until cool. Repeat with remaining wrappers.

To assemble platter: Arrange sliced fruit, dip, and crackers as desired. Bask in your Diva glory.

If having golden stars isn’t important to you, please add 2 teaspoons cinnamon to the sugar in the recipe above for a crisp that resembles churros in flavor. They turn out sepia brown and scrumptious.

Now, if you’re using the cookie cutter, you’ll have wonton scraps. Don’t toss them. You can make them into delectable crunchy bits for sweet or savory applications. You have the choice of baking them, as in the recipe above, or frying them in oil. Oil directions to follow. Either way is delicious.

For sweet, use cinnamon and sugar. Enjoy, sprinkled over ice cream or oatmeal. For savory flavoring add salt and your choice of garlic, rosemary, pepper, Italian seasoning, anything really. Add these to salads, popcorn or like scrumptious fairy dust over your next dinner. Or just eat them.

To oil fry wontons, heat about an inch of oil in a large pan to 350 F degrees. Cook unseasoned wontons in small batches until they’re golden, about one minute. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain, and repeat. Add seasoning as desired while warm.

Here’s wishing we all take a moment this weekend to be thankful that we live in an amazing country, full of marvelous people. This year is but a bump in the long road that is our American journey. God bless America.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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