Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweetheart Brownies

I love Red Velvet cake. We had it at our wedding, we have it on our anniversary. I thought I would be a genius and set out to make Red Velvet Brownies this week.

Chemistry got in my way.

What makes a great cake is the exact opposite of what makes a great brownie. I love the light, tenderness of a Red Velvet cake and the dense, fudgy, chewiness of a brownie. A true Red Velvet cake's greatness comes from chemistry -- the buttermilk, baking soda and vinegar reacting with the cocoa for that rusty red.

Not so much for a brownie. Each test came out dry and cakey, no where near the texture I was aiming for. I had to ditch the baking soda & vinegar.

These may not be a true Red Velvet brownie, but you will be pleased with the texture, a red touch for Valentine's day and a perfect cream cheese topping. Bake them low and slow to set the cream cheese without browning.

Remember that a brownie is only as good as your chocolate, be sure to look for quality baking chocolate with a level of intensity you like. Add as much food coloring as you like, but go a little at a time. The color will intensify a bit as the brownies bake.

Thankfully I've had some wonderful friends who have so willingly sacrificed themselves to help test brownies all week. Bake up these brownies to share with your sweetheart!

Sweetheart Brownies:

For the brownies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) semi-sweet or dark chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon red food coloring
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the cream cheese topping:
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg white

Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave 30 seconds at a time until just melted. Stir in sugar.

Lightly whisk together eggs, vanilla, and food coloring. Fold egg mixture into chocolate mixture.

Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Fold into batter until just combined and pour into a greased 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan.

Cream the cream cheese and sugar together until well combined and slowly blend in the egg white. Spread the cream cheese on top of the brownie batter.

Bake until a toothpick comes out dry with crumbs, about 45-50 minutes.

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