It’s not officially February in my mind until I roll out the red velvet desserts. From raspberry red velvet cupcakes to homemade red velvet pudding, nothing says “Valentine’s Day” like a confection that’s the color of love. And, quite appropriately, also the color of the devil, given that these square sweets are so dang addicting your taste buds will sing while your skinny jeans shriek.
Red velvet brownies would be spectacular, but I just couldn’t stop there. Red velvet isn’t a bachelor. In fact, red velvet is in a serious, committed relationship with none other than cream cheese frosting. Everywhere red velvet goes, cream cheese frosting is sure to follow. But frosting can quickly steal a brownie’s thunder, which is why I decided to complete the red velvet-brownie love triangle with the next best thing: a creamy layer of cheesecake. Feeling weak in the knees? It looks like you just met your Valentine.
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Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Yield: 9-12 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
For the red velvet brownies:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon red food coloring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the cheesecake filling:
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease it with butter.
In a large bowl, comine the melted 8 tablespoons butter with the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, food coloring and salt, stirring to combine. Then stir in the white vinegar.
Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl, and then stir them into the brownie batter. Fold in the flour, just until combined, then pour the batter into the prepared pan, reserving 1/4 cup of the batter for the topping.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a handheld electric mixer), blend together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until well combined. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the brownie batter then top the cream cheese with dollops of the remaining brownie batter. Using a sharp knife or toothpick, swirl the cream cheese together with the dollops of brownie batter.
Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment out of the pan then slicing and serving.
Brownies often taste better the second day after they're baked, so feel free to make the brownies in advance and store them in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from Sunny Anderson.