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Brownie Berry Pizza

The 4th of July. Some people celebrate America's birthday with fireworks, parades, baseball games, and family reunions. I celebrate by making as many red, white, & blue foods as I possibly can. We are hosting a little shin-dig this year for the 4th, and I've gone a bit crazy planning the party food. (Thanks to the help of Pinterest, I've discovered star-shaped jell-o jigglersAmerican flag cake ballscheesecake shotsfireworks pretzels, and Oreo pops... and those are just a few.) So, I knew for this week I needed to share an easy, patriotic dessert for the 4th of July, a twist on the traditional fruit pizza. We've all seen the fruit pizza at the 4th of July barbecues... the one with the sugar cookie crust, vanilla frosting, and strawberries & blueberries decorated to look like a flag? Brownie Berry Pizza is the more grown-up, more chocolatey version. (Because can dessert really be considered dessert without chocolate? I think not.) You start out with a basic brownie base. I'm all for brownies from scratch, but when you're planning a holiday celebration, it sometimes makes sense to make things a bit easier on yourself. So I went with my favorite box mix - Ghirardelli. (Seriously, the best ever.)

Mix up the brownie batter, and spread it into a circular pan. Since this is a dessert pizza, I wanted to use my pizza pan. However, I didn't think it would hold the batter very well with all the holes in it. (Make a judgment call on that for yourself.) I ended up using a 9-inch springform pan, which ended up being a good thing because I ended up with a larger brownie to topping ratio. (More brownie = a good thing.)

After your brownie has baked and cooled, prepare the topping. Just cream cheese, a bit of sugar, vanilla extract, and good ole' fashioned Cool Whip.

Spread it evenly over the brownie base.

Now it's time for the berries! You could really top it with whatever fruit you want, but we're going with the patriotic theme here, so I chose strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. (Bonus! They're on sale this week, 2/$5. So stock up!)

I sliced my strawberries and arranged them around outside edge. It kinda reminds me of fireworks.

Then I arranged a layer of blueberries.

And filled the center with raspberries!

Not only is this dessert stunning to look at, but it's absolutely delicious. The fresh, juicy fruit combines with the creamy topping and the fudgy brownie for the perfect bite. So many wonderful textures! My husband and I each enjoyed a slice (or two), and I happily sent the rest of it with him to work. (To prevent myself from eating it for breakfast the next day. Although, one could consider it a balanced meal - fruit + dairy serving!)

If you're still considering your Independence Day dessert menu, make sure you include this Brownie Berry Pizza! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Brownie Berry Dessert Pizza

Servings/Yield 8-10 servings
  • 1 family-size brownie mix, plus eggs, oil, water called for on package
  • 4-oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ container Cool Whip
  • 2 cups mixed berries, (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  Method Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a spring form pan with foil, and spray with cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix according to directions on package. Spread into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven 33-38 minutes, or until toothpick inserted one inch from side comes out clean. Let cool. Once brownies are cool, remove from pan. For topping, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Gently fold in Cool Whip. Spread over brownie crust. Top with mixed berries. Store in refrigerator. Source: idea from Betty Crocker, recipe adapted from Livin' the Dream in Beantown USA

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