red velvet brownies*

Tomorrow I am going my first concert in about 6 years! Back in the day, I was a big fan of Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and of course - *NSYNC. Well, I am still a fan of all of them, but I went to Keith twice, Kenny three times, and *NSYNC only once, but that was my first concert and will forever be embedded in my memory. I hate to admit it, but I used to be absolutely obsessed with the teeny bopper boy band. Like - internet stalking, every-TV-show-that-mentions-the-group recording, book collecting, poster hanging, and truly thinking in my young brain that Justin Timberlake would fall in love and marry me one day - kind of obsession. However, I was 12 so I'm OK with it :).

Anyway, on to the concert that I am attending tomorrow. The hubby and I are going to Taylor Swift! Oops, don't tell him I told you. He said that he will go if no one finds out, but we all know I am not going by myself - so sorry honey! You are ratted out! I didn't used to like Taylor. I don't really know why. But then something happened. Now I just cannot get enough! I love that she writes her own music and says it like it is. She doesn't care if she just flat out calls someone out in a song. She just does her thing. LOVE her!

These brownies were another one of the goodies that I made for parent conference. They were a huge hit and I am getting requests for the recipe left and right! So here you are all ya'll!

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Smells Like Home

For the brownies:
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz red food coloring (this is one small bottle or a scant 2 tbsp)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

To make the brownies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour an 8″x8″ baking pan.

In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla into a thick paste until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla.  With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two mixtures together until they are one uniform color.  Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined.  Do not overmix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl.  You’ll want one uniformly colored (red) batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies.

Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 45-60 minutes.  Frost brownies in the pan, cut into 12 bars, and serve, or remove the entire batch from the pan to a cutting board, cut into 12 bars, frost, and serve.

To make the frosting
In a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and softened butter on medium high speed. Mix until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar on low speed. Keep mixing until fully incorporated. Finally, beat in the vanilla.



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