Ahh yes, the fourth of July. The day of America’s birth, and an awesome excuse to relax, drink, barbecue, and enjoy fireworks.
Sunday was Cranford’s annual Firecracker Four Miler race, which just so happens to be the first running race I ever competed in, last year. The race starts at 9:30am in Nomaheagan Park, and by the time we got there at about 8:45a it was already a good 80 degrees. Most of the race is in the sun, and since it’s 4 miles instead of the usual 5k (3.1), they didn’t have a water station until 2 miles in. Needless to say the race was a struggle from the beginning, but I somehow managed to beat least year’s time, and PR my 5k time in the process at just under 26 minutes.
For signing up early, we got a t-shirt and a sweet pint glass, just as we did last year. We’re starting a nice collection! In the end, I finished in just under 34 minutes, with the “official” (the timing system was a little shotty) time of 34:50, about an 8:40/mile pace, and my fiancé finished in just under 32 with 31:45 (also a PR). I think we wound up spending the rest of the day trying to rehydrate, which was probably unsuccessful.
After the race, we rushed home so I could get started on the treats I was going to bring to our next barbecue adventure. This time, I went with a recipe I had found on Serious Eats, from a book called Boozy Baking. Seriously, I need that book. I love bringing alcohol infused desserts to parties where drinking is involved, because it’s just so fun. These particular brownies were called Cuba Libre Brownies, but I prefer to simplify the name, and just call them Rum & Coke Brownies. Yes, there is rum, coke, lime zest, and bittersweet chocolate in these bad boys – and they were awesome! The lime zest was really refreshing, and they’re definitely the booziest treats I’ve made so far, so keep that in mind if you decide to take a stab at them!
Rum & Coke Brownies (aka Cuba Libre Brownies)
– serves about 24 brownies –
For the brownies:
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup carbonated cola
1/4 cup white rum
For the frosting:
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup white rum
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Freshly grated zest of 2 limes
1. To make the brownies, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
5. With a wooden spoon or a spatula, gently stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture just until combined. Gently stir in the cola and the rum; then pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it to the edges.
6. Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the brownies in the pan completely.
7. To make the frosting, in a large bowl beat the butter, cocoa powder, and rum with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.
8. Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies. Sprinkle with the grated lime zest, cut into squares, and serve.