Monday, December 27, 2010

Recipe Of The Week: Red Velvet Brownies

This Christmas season was special, because it was Sloane's first. Jake and I talked alot about our family Christmas traditions and how that might change with a growing family. We discussed Santa and argued over his gifts being wrapped or unwrapped, then we discussed the religious side to Christmas. We would like to instill both concepts in our Christmas traditions, and one of my ideas is to bake a birthday cake or dessert for Jesus for us to enjoy on Christmas Day. It will be fun to try new cakes or bake one on request. Plus I hope that it will be a project my children will want do with me and maybe even carry on with their families. This year I made Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Icing.

Red Velvet Brownies
Line pan with foil by trimming two long foil pieces to a 9-inch width. Fit strips, crossing each other, in the pan.

1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
Small-Batch Cream Cheese Frosting
Garnish: white chocolate curls

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour and next 4 ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 44 to 48 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours).

4. Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles, gently remove foil. Spread Small-Batch Cream Cheese Frosting on top of brownies, and cut into 16 squares. Garnish, if desired.

Small-Batch Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Recipes found in December 2010 edition of Southern Living magazine

From my experience: I got out all of my ingredients first, so that I wouldn't be scrounging around for items, and the process would go faster. Setting out the cream cheese and butter at this time allowed them to soften until I was ready to use them for the icing. Once I had all of my ingredients ready, the recipe was simple. I cut a few corners to save time too. I didn't chop my squares of chocolate, and they melted just fine; to me that seemed like an extra step. I also didn't put foil strips down in my baking dish. I realize this helps release the brownies from the pan, but I planned on leaving them in the baking dish to serve, so again that was an unnecessary step for me. I simply sprayed the dish with non-stick cooking spray. And as you can see from my lousy picture (I was at my parents' house and out of my element) I did not curl white chocolate on top. Had I served this for a fancier crowd I might have done so, but this was a lazy Christmas day project for me. The brownies were really rich and tasty. In my opinion, the best part was the icing! And because it was iced, everyone ate it like a cake. It was best served with a glass of milk.

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