Even though cupcake stores are opening left and right, I am not exactly rushing out to try them. To me, they are usually a little dry, there is always too much frosting, and after eating a bazillion calories there is still something to be desired after caving into my sweet tooth. These brownies from Southern Living magazine, however, are a different story. Rich and smooth like red velvet should be, but also dense and fudgy like a great brownie. The perfect treat for Valentine’s Day or any of the winter holidays as well. I topped them with a basic cream cheese icing, but you could always go for the chocoholics gold medal and use a dark chocolate or white chocolate buttercream.
There is something really fun about indulging during the holidays and treating yourself to something nice. Valentine’s Day is yet another excuse to do that. Enjoy the day and treat yourself, but do so in a portioned, reasonable manner. The chocolate truffles and these brownies are not the healthiest desserts in my repertoire. Make bite sized portions and spread the love to your coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends.
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, divided
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 – 1-oz bottle red liquid food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
For Frosting and Decoration:
6 oz light cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz heavy cream
Cheesy Valentine’s Day sprinkles (optional)
- For brownies: preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt butter and 4 oz bittersweet chocolate together in a large, microwave safe bowl for one minute, and then 30 second increments until completely melted. Stir between microwaving, as this helps the melting process.
- Add the sugar to the chocolate mix using a hand mixer. If mixing by hand, scrape the sides well with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in each egg before adding another.
- Add baking powder, vanilla extract, red food coloring, and salt.
- Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until just combined.
- Spray a 9 x 9 inch square pan and line with parchment paper. Spray again and add the brownie mix. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly and bang down against the counter if you see air bubbles in the top.
- Bake between 44 – 48 minutes. The brownies will come out clean with a toothpick. Cool completely- about two hours in the pan at room temperature before removing from the pan.
- For frosting: use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl. Sift in the powdered sugar into the bowl 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until combined between additions. Mix in the vanilla extract and keep at room temperature until the brownies are cool.
- For chocolate ganache decorating: melt the remaining bittersweet chocolate in a microwave safe container. Add 1 oz heavy cream and set aside.
- Remove the brownies from the baking pan and place onto a cutting board. Use an icing spatula or knife to lather on the cream cheese frosting in a nice, even layer.
- Cut the brownies into 16 individual squares. Use a paper towel to wipe down the knife between slices or you will have red dye and brownies pieces on the edges of your brownies.
- Put the chocolate ganache mixture in a small decorating squeeze bottle to decorate the brownies. For step-by-step instruction on how to make the “tuxedo swirl” brownies, click here.
- Serve immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve at room temperature.