Happy 3rd Birthday to Tag Sale Tastes!  My very first post — Patriotic Red and Blue Spritz Cookies — was July 1, 2012.  Each year around this time I’ve continued to post a recipe or two for some sort of patriotic-themed treat:  Giant M&M Cookies, 4th of July Firecrackers, Stars and Stripes Pie, and this year’s Red, White & Blue Biscotti:

I hope one of these might inspire you to make a special dessert to celebrate Independence Day.

If you are not quite into red, white, and blue, in honor of Tag Sale Tastes’ birthday, I’m sharing a recipe my daughter made for Father’s Day that is worthy of any summer celebration.  Layers of brownie, mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate ganache, real whipped cream, and a topping of shaved chocolate — it’s easy, cool, and quite decadent.  Although I think you cheat yourself if you use whipped topping instead of real whipped cream, don’t think twice about using Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix instead of making your own brownies.

Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 box Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix
  • 1.5-quart container good quality Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5-ounce chocolate bar
  1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Lightly spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Spread brownie batter in prepared pan and bake according to package directions. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
  2. Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, until soft enough to spread. Spread ice cream over the cooled brownie layer, leaving approximately ½" to top of pan for ganache layer. Place pan in freezer and allow ice cream to harden, at least 1 hours.
  3. Prepare ganache by placing ¾ cup heavy cream in a microwave-proof container and heat for 2 minutes until hot but not boiling. Add the chocolate chips to the cream and set aside for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then stir until cream and chocolate are thoroughly combined. Set aside and allow to cool (ganache will thicken as it cools). When the ganache is cool, spread evenly over the ice cream layer and return pan to freezer for 2-3 hours, until ice cream and ganache are firm.
  4. Just before serving, whip 1 cup heavy cream and powdered sugar using an electric beater, just until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overwhip -- you don't want butter!).
  5. To serve, cut into 2" squares. Pipe or dollop whipped cream decoratively on top of each square. Garnish by grating chocolate over whipped cream. Serve immediately.

 IMG_6319Happy 3rd Birthday to Tag Sale Tastes!


When in the course of blogging events, it becomes necessary to create a holiday dish, it’s fun to try to come up with something creative in order to form a more perfect celebration.  For this year’s 4th of July festivities, I’ll be making Red, White and Blue Biscotti, which hit all the high notes with my family.  (I’ve seen it suggested that Chicken Catch-a-Tory would be a good Independence Day party dish, but these colorful biscotti are so much more fun.)  There’s a few steps involved, but the end result is worth the extra time.

Begin with your favorite biscotti recipe, or use the one I’ve provided below.  Divide the dough into thirds, placing each third in a separate bowl.

To color the dough, it’s best to use gel food color, as opposed to liquid food color, for deeper colors:


Be careful when using the food color, however, as it will stain your clothes, countertops, wooden spoons, fingers, dogs, etc.  Add enough food color to get the depth of color you desire, and mix it thoroughly into the dough (I find a metal fork works best for mixing the food color in):


To shape the biscotti, cover your workspace with a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, and lightly flour the surface.  Place one portion of dough on the waxed paper, and using your bare arms (which is your right), knead the dough a few times and then roll into a log about 14 inches long.  Repeat with the remaining two portions of dough.  Lay the three logs side by side, and gently twist them to form a single log:


Cut the log into two pieces and transfer to a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Shape logs into fat rectangles:


Bake according to recipe directions, then remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet.  The dough will have puffed up considerably.


When cool enough to handle comfortably, slice on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices using a serrated knife.  Stand the slices up on the baking sheet.  (For some recipes, you lay the slices on their side and bake, then turn over and bake longer, but for this recipe, in order for the colors to stay sharp, you don’t want to brown the sides.)


If you really want to gild the liberty bell, you can spread a little white chocolate on the tops of the biscotti and sprinkle with red, white and blue nonpareils:


Peaceably assemble (which is your right) the biscotti in a decorative container, and stand back and receive full faith and credit for these crowd-pleasing treats.   If you bring these to a 4th of July picnic, it should be a self-evident truth that they will be a surefire hit.


I tried to find a knock knock joke to post for the 4th of July, but apparently there aren’t any, because freedom rings.  Happy 4th of July!

Recipe type: Cookie
The beauty of this recipe is that it's a blank canvas -- you can doctor it up as you desire with nuts, flavorings, chocolate, etc. The butter keeps it from being tooth-breaking hard, but still crunchy enough for dunking.
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Place eggs, melted butter, and extracts in a large bowl, and beat together using an electric beater. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and stir until well combined, and a sticky dough is formed.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 5 or 6 times. (If making red, white, and blue biscotti, divide dough into thirds and color one third with red gel food color, one third with blue gel food color, and leave the last third uncolored. Form each third into a rope approximately 14 inches long. Lay the ropes side by side and gently twist to form a single rope.) Divide the log into two equal portions.
  5. Transfer the logs to a baking sheet, and using your hands, pat into fat rectangles. Bake until lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the logs from the oven and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and slice them on the diagonal into ½-inch thick slices using a serrated knife. Stand the cookies up on the cookie sheet and bake again until the biscotti are dry, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.