While there’s much debate about the hamburger’s true origins (some suggest it was invented in Hamburg, Germany, while others insist it hails from Chicago, Ohio or Wisconsin) one thing is true: there’s nothing more American than the hamburger. It’s no wonder they’re a staple at tailgates, barbeques and—of course—4th of July Parties. This year, kick things up a notch with gourmet burgers and impress your guests with dessert sliders.

BYOB (build your own burger)

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Amass a spread of toppings and let guests assemble their very own creations. In addition to the staples (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard and mayo), supply a variety of cheeses, sauces (store-bought is perfectly fine!), veggies and anything else that comes to mind. Put a sign on the table that offers guests some ideas for building their own burgers. Some of our favorites are:

  • Caprese—thick-cut mozzarella cheese with a few basil leaves and balsamic-soaked tomatoes
  • Aloha—grilled pineapple, bottled Hawaiian-style barbeque sauce, cheddar cheese and bacon
  • Mac daddy—thousand island dressing, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun
  • Giddy up—sautéed onions, barbeque sauce and Swiss cheese
  • Fire hydrant—sriracha/mayo spread, pickled jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese

Sweeten the deal
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No party is complete without dessert, right? Keep with the hamburger theme and serve “slider” cupcakes. This adorable and delicious treat is super simple to make:

  1. Bake yellow cupcakes according to the instructions on the box (or use your own special recipe if you’re especially ambitious)
  2. Bake (or buy) chocolate cookies; you’ll need as many cookies as you have cupcakes, so plan accordingly
  3. After the cupcakes have cooled completely, cut them in half with a serrated knife
  4. Divvy up a batch of buttercream frosting (canned or homemade) into three bowls; add red, green or yellow food coloring to each bowl
  5. Spread a thick layer of yellow frosting on the bottom halves of the cupcakes (this creates the “cheese”)
  6. Place a chocolate cookie on top of the cheese (this creates the “burger”)
  7. Pipe red frosting (the “tomato”) and green frosting (the “lettuce”) on top of the cookies
  8. Top with the remaining cupcake halves
  9. Gently press down on each “slider” so the “toppings” ooze out a little on the sides
  10. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top

And that’s it! Are you hungry yet?