Friday, February 20, 2015

Red Velvet Brownies from Extreme Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies - made February 13, 2015 from Extreme Brownies by Connie Weiss
No, I’m not tired of baking (or eating) brownies and yes, I’m still playing with my new brownie baking book, Extreme Brownies by Connie Weiss. Seriously, I’ve come to expect only great recipes from this book and so far it hasn’t let me down. I think what I like so much about it is it makes exactly the kind of brownies I like: thick, fudgy, delicious. All the bells and whistles added to each brownie, whether it’s frosting, chopped up candy, chocolate chips, nuts and everything else, are fine but the underlying base brownie is also consistently delicious.

Although I already have a good red velvet brownie recipe, let’s not pretend that would stop me from trying another one. It’s always good to keep an open mind when it comes to new recipes and you’ll be glad of that flexibility when you try out this recipe. True to all its predecessors, this too was delicious with good chocolate flavor so it wasn’t simply a brownie colored red. 
My only issue with it is once it had cooled, brownie flakes came off the top when I tried to frost it. Ever try using a pale cream cheese frosting on a dark red brownie that flakes? Yeah, it doesn’t look so good. The flakes clung to the frosting and lifted themselves right off the brownie to mingle within the frosting, serving the dual task of soiling the smooth frosting and not letting it adhere properly to the top of the brownie while more flakes tried to cling to it when I tried spreading the frosting. Erk. 

Everyone knows when you see “crumbs” throughout a frosting, that isn’t a “I meant to do that” move but a “I can’t seem to frost” statement. I was making these for a church potluck on Valentine’s weekend and while I’m sure everyone would turn the other cheek (and eye), my baking pride was not letting me show up with ugly brownies. Out came the red colored sanding sugar and I sprinkled it liberally over each piece. For the most part it did the trick and the brownies were presentable once more. And still delicious.
2 1/4 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon slices
3 1/3 cups (1 pound, 4 ounces) milk chocolate chips
5 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4.4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/4 packed cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) red food color
2 cups (9 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Over the top half of a double boiler set over hot water, melt the butter and chocolate chips, whisking until smooth and completely melted. Cool slightly.
  3. Using a large whisk, lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat into eggs until just incorporated. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until just combined. Add the vanilla extract and red food color.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and add to the batter, stirring until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting: place the cream cheese, butter and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the vanilla and beat until just combined. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat, starting on low and increasing to high, until well combined and smooth. Dollop the brownies over the cooled brownie slab and spread evenly with a small metal spatula.

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