Sparks will fly when you present this 4th Of July Firework Brownie at your next patriotic party! This fun treat looks amazing on any table and will have your tastebuds bursting with flavor.
A few nights ago, I wandered across the street to talk to my neighbors. During our conversation, a small voice broke in to say “hi, Mrs. K.” I turned, expecting to see my neighbor’s son coming around the house from the backyard, but instead found him peeking out from his bedroom window. After we exchanged pleasantries, his mom reminded him that camp started early in the morning and that he needed to get to sleep. It was still daylight but past his bedtime and he just wasn’t ready to go to sleep. I laughed to myself, remembering how I felt as a young girl on those summer nights when I had to be in bed before the sun set.
I roomed with my sister and we spent many nights longingly staring out the window watching the neighborhood kids playing wishing we were out there with them. We had a pretty strict bedtime and there weren’t very many occasions when we got to stay up later than 7:30 p.m., so when July 4th rolled around, we were excited. Not only did we get to stay up late, we got to see fireworks, which only happened once a year, back then.
Even now as an adult, although I don’t need to stay up past my bedtime, I enjoy a good fireworks display. To celebrate the 4th of July this year, I decided to create a dessert featuring a night sky filled with fireworks. I can’t think of too many July 4th picnics that I have attended where brownies were not served, so I chose to use a brownie to create my edible art. I glazed the brownie with chocolate ganache which gave it a nice smooth surface. I could have created my fireworks using frosting, but I wanted them to sparkle, so I chose to use colorful luster dusts. If you’ve never used them before, they are edible metallic powders, that when mixed with vodka or a flavored extract, can be used just like paint. As the painted image dries, the vodka or extract will evaporate, and you are left with a sparkling painted image. As an option, you could, if you prefer, use food coloring markers to draw your fireworks on the brownie, the final image just wont sparkle, but it will still look bright and colorful.
Just a note: If you mix your luster dusts with vodka, as I did, the alcohol will evaporate and you wont detect any flavor other than chocolate when eating your brownie. If you use a flavored extract like lemon, you’ll taste the extract on the brownie. I dont’ know about you, but lemon and chocolate just don’t go together. Therefore, I suggest using orange extract, as it will add a delightful flavor to the chocolate.
Fourth of July Fireworks Emblazoned Brownie (serves 8-12)
1 baked and cooled brownie (8″x”8, 9″x9″ or even 9″x13″*)
6 ounces very finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
cranberry, blue, cantaloupe, white, and silver luster dusts
these are the colors I used, but you can use any colors you like
1-2 tablespoons vodka or orange extract*if using a 9″x13″ brownie, make your ganache using 8 ounces chocolate, 1/2 cream, and 1 tablespoon corn syrup
Special Equipment Needed:
wax coated cake board or a piece of cardboard covered in foil
cut to just slightly smaller than the size of the brownie
parchment or wax paper
fine tip paint brushes (use new or food only brushes)
plastic paint palette or small bowls
Make the ganache:
Pour finely chopped chocolate in a glass bowl. Heat in microwave on medium power for 20 seconds, just to warm the chocolate. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a boil in a saucepan set over medium heat or in a microwave safe bowl set at high heat for 40-70 seconds. If using the microwave, keep an eye on your cream, to make sure it doesn’t boil for more than a few seconds. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes to allow the cream to begin melting the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, start stirring in small circles in the center of the bowl and gradually make the circles bigger until you’ve incorporated all the cream and chocolate together. If you still have chocolate chunks in your ganache, heat in the microwave on defrost for 5 seconds. Stir until chocolate chunks melt. Don’t over-heat or your ganache will get oily. If this happens, you can stir a 1/2-1 tablespoon of cold cream until your ganache is smooth.
Once the ganache is smooth, allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes until it thickens just slightly.
Place brownie on top of wax coated cake board or tin foil covered cardboard. Set a piece of parchment or wax paper on your work surface. Set something like a glass, coffee mug, or small bowl in the center of the paper and top it with the brownie. Pour ganache over the center of the brownie. Use an offset spatula to spread the ganache in an even layer over the brownie. Allow any excess ganache to drip over the sides of the brownie onto the parchment paper. Use your finger (or a spoon if your prefer) to scoop up a bit of the excess ganache and enjoy a taste – you know you want to!Let the brownie set for at least two hours, but best overnight. If you are in a hurry, you can refrigerate the brownie for 45-60 minutes, but the surface may get a bit sticky.
Now to the fun part:
Pour 1/2 teaspoon of vodka into a small bowl or in one cavity of a plastic paint palette. Pour in about an equal amount of cranberry luster dust. Stir until well blended. Some colors blend easier than others. Just keep stirring! Do the same with some white luster dust.
Begin by painting a dot in the spot where you want the center of your first firework. Paint curved lines going out and down from the center point using the cranberry luster dust. Leave about 1/4 inch in between each curve. Once you’ve gone all around the center point using the cranberry, mix some white into the cranberry to lighted the color. Go around the center point again, placing lighter cranberry colored curved lines in between or crossing the darker lines. Add some white dots or lines all around the firework to complete the look. Use the white to paint a star burst in the center of the firework.
Repeat process, using various colors to create your fireworks. I used peacock blue and silver luster dusts for my middle firework and cantaloupe and white for the one on the right.
Add some brush strokes below each firework, so that it gives the illusion of the firework being shot into the sky. Allow to dry for 15 minutes. Place on a serving platter and bring to your picnic.
Fourth of July is just a week away and yesterday I attempted to make a red, white, and blue potato gratin using purple, red, and Yukon gold potatoes. Although it tasted great, it didn’t look colorful at all – too much cheese sauce (which is what made it taste so good.) So, this will be my last 4th of July recipe, but I just had to share another recipe from fellow food blogger, Naomi over at Bakers Royale. She created some spectacular Fourth of July Fruit Pops that you must check out. All you need are some slices of watermelon and apple and some blueberries along with two sizes of star shaped cookie cutters, a small round cookie cutter, and some striped straws. So simple and so sweet. I just love this idea and can’t wait to make them. Naomi has some wonderful recipes on her blog, so be sure to stop by and see all of her creations. I hope you all have a great 4th of July celebration and that you enjoy some spectacular fireworks this year, on your brownies and in the sky.
Jen over at Which-Craft? did a fantastic job painting fireworks onto her brownie. She mixed her luster dust in mint extract and said “it gave a nice hint of flavor to the brownies!” I’m so glad she shared her pictures.