These red velvet brownies are ultra gooey, chewy fudge brownies with a buttery chocolate and vanilla flavor and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. They are easy to make and perfect for Valentine's day!
Whether it's in cake, cupcake, or cheesecake form, red velvet has always been one of my favorite flavors of dessert, and this brownie version is seriously addicting! They are the best of both worlds with a perfectly dense, chewy, fudgy brownie texture, and a mild, buttery, vanilla flavor. The vibrant color and tangy cream cheese frosting are the perfect finishing touches that make these truly incredible!
These brownies could not be easier to make! The batter comes together quickly in one bowl and with simple ingredients. Unlike my recipe for chocolate fudge brownies, which uses 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate and a full cup of cocoa powder, these brownies have a much milder chocolate flavor with just 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and a combination of both semi-sweet and white chocolate.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE RED VELVET BROWNIES
- Chocolate: Semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate works best. You can use chocolate chips or bar-style baking chocolate, chopped.
- Butter: 1 cup, or 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted with the chocolate.
- Granulated sugar & brown sugar: Using both sugars is key for brownies that are extra fudgy and gooey.
- Eggs: 2 large eggs, room temperature. Set the eggs out on your counter for 1 hour, or place them in a bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes.
- Vanilla extract: Pure or imitation, whichever you prefer.
- All-purpose flour: Use a scale, or measure the flour by lightly spooning it into your measuring cup and leveling off the top with the flat side of a knife. Don't pack it down in the measuring cup or you'll have too much flour and the brownies will be dry and cakey.
- Cocoa powder: Sifted to get rid of any clumps. Natural unsweetened or dutch-processed cocoa powder will work.
- Salt: Make sure your butter is unsalted, if all you have is salted butter then leave out the extra salt.
- Red gel food coloring: I highly recommend using gel coloring for these brownies, since it's notoriously difficult to achieve a deep, vibrant red color using liquid food coloring. You can get gel coloring at most grocery stores or at any craft store in the baking section.
- More chocolate: Chopped or chocolate chips, folded into the brownie batter before baking. For a milder chocolate flavor I recommend using white chocolate, but feel free to use milk or darker chocolate if you prefer.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- Butter: Softened to room temperature. Salted or unsalted is fine.
- Cream cheese: Brick-style and full-fat, softened to room temperature.
- Powdered sugar
- Cream: Or milk.
- Vanilla extract
HOW TO MAKE RED VELVET BROWNIES
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 9 x 13" cake pan with parchment paper. Leave an overhang to make removing the brownies from the pan easier.
2. Microwave the butter in 15-30 second intervals until starting to melt. Add 1 cup of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and continue to microwave in 15-30 second intervals, whisking in between, until melted and smooth. Add both sugars and whisk vigorously to combine.
3. Mix in the room temperature eggs and vanilla extract until just combined, don't overmix. Add the flour, sifted cocoa powder, and salt, and whisk until the batter is smooth. Then mix in enough red gel coloring until you're happy with the color.
4. Fold in the remaining 1 cup of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (save some for sprinkling on top, if desired) and spread the brownie batter out evenly in the prepared cake pan.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a few moist crumbs attached. Don't wait for the toothpick to come out clean or they'll be overbaked.
Let the brownies cool in the pan at room temperature, then let them cool completely in the fridge before topping with the cream cheese frosting.
MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter and softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy without any lumps. Add the powdered sugar, cream (or milk), and vanilla extract and mix until well combined and the frosting is smooth.
Once the brownies have cooled, use an offset spatula to spread the cream cheese frosting over the top. Add sprinkles, if desired, and slice into even-size squares.
KEY TIPS FOR MAKING RED VELVET BROWNIES:
- Don't add the food coloring too early: Most food coloring is water-based. Water and chocolate don't mix, so if you try to dye the chocolate directly it will clump up into a hard ball. You can add the coloring at any point after you've added the sugar and the eggs. Keep in mind the color will change once you add the flour and cocoa powder.
- Measure correctly: Too much flour or cocoa powder can result in a more cakey and less fudgy texture. For the most accurate measurements I highly recommend using a kitchen scale. If you don't have one, measure the dry ingredients by lightly spooning them into your measuring cup and then leveling off the top with the flat side of a knife.
- Don't overmix: Over mixing the batter incorporates more air into it which can lead to cakey brownies. Avoid over mixing by using room temperature ingredients and mixing until just combined.
- Don't overbake: Brownies should be taken out of the oven just slightly underdone, they will continue to cook and set as they cool. Take them out of the oven when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Don't wait for it to come out clean or they'll be over baked and dry.
- Let them cool completely in the pan: If you try to remove them too soon they won't have had enough time to set. Let them cool for at least 30 minutes or overnight before removing from the pan. Then let them cool completely in the fridge before adding the cream cheese frosting.
Red Velvet Brownies
- 1 9 x 13" cake pan
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup semi-sweet, dark, or milk chocolate , chopped or chocolate chips
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt*
- red gel food coloring
- 1 cup white chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 and ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cream or milk
- Line a 9 x 13" cake pan with parchment paper. Leave an overhang to make removing the brownies from the pan easier.
- Arrange your oven rack to the center position. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Make the Brownies:
- Add 1 cup of unsalted butter to a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-30 second intervals until about halfway melted. Add 1 cup of semi-sweet, dark, or milk chocolate, and continue to microwave in 15-30 second intervals, whisking between, until melted and smooth.
- Whisk in the granulated and brown sugar until well combined. Add the room temperature eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour, sifted cocoa powder, and salt, and mix until the batter is completely smooth. Mix in the red gel coloring until you're happy with the color.
- Fold in the 1 cup of white chocolate and spread the batter out evenly in the lined cake pan.
- Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Let the brownies cool in the pan and then cool completely in the fridge before adding the cream cheese frosting.
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth without any lumps. Add the powdered sugar, cream (or milk), and vanilla extract, and mix until the frosting is smooth.
- Once the brownies have cooled, use an offset spatula to spread the cream cheese frosting over the top. Add sprinkles, if desired, and cut into even-size bars.
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