Sparks will fly when you serve this 4th Of July Brownie. This festive-looking chocolate-glazed brownie is decorated with sparkly fireworks. It's perfect for the 4th of July, New Year's Eve, or a birthday party.
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 dust.
Luster dust is an edible metallic powder 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.
So, let's decorate a brownie.
heavy whipping cream
cranberry, blue, cantaloupe, white, and silver luster dust (these are the colors I used, but you can use any colors you like)
vodka or orange extract
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 into 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 your hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 3 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 low power for 5 seconds.
- Stir until the chocolate chunks melt.
- Don't overheat or your ganache will get oily. If this happens, you can stir a ½-1 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.
Frost the brownie:
- Place the brownie on top of a 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. You want the brownie to be elevated so that any excess chocolate ganache falls off.
- 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.
- Scrape along the bottom edge of the brownie to remove any drips of chocolate ganache.
- Let the brownie set at room temperature 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.
Create edible paint.
- Pour ½ 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.
Just a note: If you mix your luster dust with vodka, as I did, the alcohol will evaporate and you won't 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 suggest using orange extract, as it will add a delightful flavor to the chocolate.
As an option, you could, if you prefer, use food coloring markers to draw your fireworks on the brownie, the final image just won't sparkle, but it will still look bright and colorful.
Paint the fireworks:
- 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 cranberry luster dust.
- Leave about ¼ inch in between each curve.
- Once you've gone all around the center point using the cranberry, mix some white into the cranberry to lighten 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 white to paint a starburst in the center of the firework.
- Repeat the process, using various colors to create your fireworks.
- I used peacock blue and silver luster dust for my middle firework and cantaloupe and white for the one on the right.
Finish the design.
- Add some brush strokes below each firework, so that it gives the illusion of the firework being shot into the sky.
- Allow the painted fireworks to dry for 15 minutes.
- Place it on a serving platter and bring it to your picnic.
You can add fireworks to a 9x13-inch brownie for your 4th of July picnic or New Year's Eve party.
You'll just need a little extra chocolate ganache to cover the brownie. I've shared the quantities of the ingredients in the recipe card below.
You might also like these other 4th of July Recipes.
This post was originally published in 2011.
Frost a brownie with chocolate ganache then decorate it by painting luster dust fireworks on top. This dessert is perfect for the 4th of July or a New Year's Eve party.
- 1 baked and cooled brownie (8-inch or 9-inch square)
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- cranberry, blue, cantaloupe, white, and silver luster dust
- 1-2 tablespoons vodka, orange extract or peppermint extract
Pour finely chopped chocolate in a glass bowl.
Heat in microwave on medium power for 20 seconds, just to warm the chocolate.
Bring the heavy whipping cream and corn syrup just to a boil in a saucepan set over medium heat.
Pour your hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 3 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.
Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes until it thickens just slightly.
Pour the ganache over the brownie and allow the excess chocolate to drip off.
Scrape along the bottom edge of the brownie to remove any drips of chocolate ganache.
Let the brownie set at room temperature for at least two hours, but best overnight until the chocolate ganache firms up.
Pour ½ teaspoon of vodka into a small bowl then add
about an equal amount of luster dust.
Stir until well blended.
Create small bowls of all your "paint" colors.
Paint fireworks onto the brownie (see the tutorial for detailed instructions).
Allow the painted fireworks to dry for 15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.
If using a 9"x13" brownie, make your ganache using 8 ounces chocolate, ½ cream, and 1 tablespoon corn syrup.
Store your brownie at room temperature for up to 5 days.