Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mandy's Bytes: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

The majority of baking I've done lately has been cake. I had birthday cake at the end of last month. Then I was given a dozen fresh eggs from the family I work with, so I made another cake. When I decided to bake again, I'd had quite enough cake. I went looking for something different, and when I found this phenomenal combination of red velvet cake and cream cheesiness over at Sweet Pea's Kitchen I knew I had to make them.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies:
- 1/2 cup butter
Not Pictured: Butter and Salt (because I was just so excited)
- 2-oz dark chocolate
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8-oz cream cheese, room temp.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees, and coat a 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray or butter. After the pan is prepared the first step is to melt the butter and dark chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Attempting this step was when I realized that a Hersey's Special Dark chocolate bar, is not quite 2 oz, so I had to supplement with some semi-sweet chips. I found it was best to microwave the mixture for 30 second increments, stirring in between, for about a minute and a half. It will be a very watery consistency when it's fully melted. Set this aside to cool for a bit.
Definitely not red yet...  hmmm....
Next beat together the sugar, vanilla, red food coloring and two of the eggs. I used gel food coloring because I couldn't find liquid, and I had to use an awful lot. The mixture still ended up looking this orange-pink color, and not very red at all.
Once the sugar and egg mixture is well combined, add in the melted chocolate. Make sure to stir it well and mix in any leftover chunks of chocolate that may have escaped the melting process. After beating the two together it finally gets the dark redish color that I was expecting all along.
Finally you want to add the flour and salt and stir it in until there are no more streaks of flour in the bowl. Once well mixed, pour the batter into the buttered pan. To me, it seemed like a pretty thin layer, and if you want a thicker brownie you might try a 9x9 inch pan instead.
Once the cake batter is in the pan the cheesecake mixture is very simple to make. Simply beat together all the remaining ingredients: the cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla, and the last egg. Beat these on a medium setting until the mixture is smooth, there might be a few persistent clumps of cream cheese but as long as they are small it's okay.
Action shot!
Evenly disperse the cream cheese mixture across the top of the batter in dollops. The original recipe said 8 dollops, I would suggest around 12 or so medium spoonfuls, since the cream cheese is heavy and has a tendency to sink into the batter.
Once all the cream cheese is on the batter, use a knife of the edge of your spatula to make a pretty swirling pattern all over the pan. Just don't over do it, with swirling, there can be too much of a good thing, and if you go crazy you'll just end up with pink brownies.
Bake them for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned, and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let them cool a bit and dig in! These are just right if you're looking for a sweet treat with cream cheese that isn't too heavy.
We finally got all the supplies for Operation Pegboard so I should be posting about that in the next week or so. Happy baking!

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