Monday, December 19, 2011

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

David's office had a bake-off last Friday.  I had about one million things to do on my list...and I honestly wasn't going to enter at first.  But then, I heard the prize was a $50 gift card.  Well, I don't know any woman who doesn't like gift cards.  So...I changed my mind (I can, because again, I'm a girl, right? ;-), and hey, I'm a pretty competitive person when it comes to cooking/baking. 

The day before the bake-off, David's boss threw in an extra prize...2 field level tickets to the Texans playoff game on Sunday.  YEE HAW.  I am not a big Texans fan, but I really wanted to win.  David has been working non-stop...literally burning the midnight oil at the office these days.  So I wanted the tickets for him...I knew he would love a break!

I made the brownies, cut them out with a 2-inch biscuit cutter, and put them in pretty black and white cupcake liners.  Then I sent them to work with David Friday morning and held my breath.

The judging was going to be at 3:00 PM, and David called me around 4:00 to tell me the results.  I could tell right away by his voice that I didn't win.  Darn. 

But then, I heard him say, "Well, we won the tickets anyway." 


David explained that the person who won couldn't go to the game.  My brownies were in a 3-way tie for second place.  So they had a raffle amongst the three, 2nd place winners.  And lo and behold, David won the tickets. 


I stil think I should have won.  The winner brought peach cobbler.  Seriously?!  Must have been some dang good cobbler.  My hubby was really sweet, and told me of course, he voted for me, lol.  And in case you were wondering, the Texans lost yesterday...bummer.  There go the playoffs. :-(

(And I'm sorry, I was nervous, and in a hurry, and completely forgot to take pictures until the end).

So, I know you want to make these brownies.  They were surprisingly easy, even though they look very fancy.  I didn't even use a stand mixer or egg beater, just a wooden spoon, a bowl, and a toothpick.  Put them on a pretty plate, and watch them disappear. :-)

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

Red velvet layer:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Cream cheese layer:
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray/grease an 8x8 baking dish.  Set aside

In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Once it's well incorporated, add the vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, red food coloring, and vinegar.  Stir again.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addtion.  Gently fold in the flour until just not overmix.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the batter.  Pour the remaining red batter into the prepared baking dish.

In another bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla.

If you're short on time, soften your cream cheese in the microwave on the "defrost" setting or the lowest power setting possible in 10 second intervals.

Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the red velvet layer.  Dollop the remaing brownie batter over the top, and swirl with a toothpick. 

Here's the secret to swirls.  Gently glide the toothpick back and forth over the batter, 6-8 passes across the pan.  Rotate the pan 90 degrees, then make another 6-8 passes.'s that easy. ;-)

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting. 

Here are the pictures I remembered to take!

 I spooned the extra red velvet batter in 4 even rows, so I could cut out the brownies with a 2-inch biscuit cutter, making the most of the swirled pattern.  And of course, I sample the scraps...we all did! :-)

I found these cupcake liners at Walmart...I really did, and they were only $1.50 for 50.  Aren't they pretty?

Or you can just put them out all by themselves. 

If you're looking for a last minute gift idea for a hostess, a friend, the neighbors, or heck...yourself, these brownies would be just the thing.  Quick, easy, pretty, and delicious!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, filled with family, food, and fun.  I'll see y'all after the new year!  God bless your table tonight!