Somehow I feel like the 4th of July always sneaks up on me!
....and sometimes I want (::cough::need::cough::) a dessert that goes together quickly! A decorated 9x13 pan of brownies can easily be made from scratch OR doctored-up mixes, and they’re easy to decorate, festive, delicious, and can serve a large crowd! Recipe below!
(Disclosure: As a way to keep my kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, and flour I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
My posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!)
(Of note – you have lots of options here! If you’d rather doctor up brownie mixes, use two mixes (I usually go with Ghiradelli), substitute butter for the oil, replace the water with milk, and add an extra egg!)
To make the cake layers from scratch though, I love this recipe!
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray.
Mix together melted butter and granulated and brown sugars. Whisk in eggs until well combined. Whisk in cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and gradually stir in all-purpose flour until combined. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips, and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 35-37 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
This is a great time to make your frosting!
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
(Save and add later! 1-2 Tablespoons Americolor Navy Blue and Americolor Super Red – you’ll need about 1/3 of each color.)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
- Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
- Small piping bag & tip – this set has been one of my favorites, and contains the small star and teardrop-tips I used to pipe the brownies in the photo/video!
- Red, White & Blue sprinkles – I used ‘Silver Bells’ by Fancy Sprinkles, but ‘Old Glory’ by SprinklePop is another great option and often available faster on Amazon!
Divide your frosting into thirds, and add your red gel color to one third and navy gel color to your remaining third – a mix of royal blue, black, and a tint of purple makes a good navy shade if you have those colors!
I used the large open star from my large tip set and a smaller open star and oblong teardrop-shaped tip from my smaller set when I piped the frosting onto the brownies – and I usually find it easiest to start with the larger tips and fill in around them with smaller designs. Up to you!
Add sprinkles to your liking – I started with larger ones spaced where I thought they looked best and then added smaller ones in between them.
You could also skip the ‘placement’ and just sprinkle them over the top – either works but sometimes the second one’s more fun!
Annnd you’re done! High-five yourself –and enjoy the holiday!