Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I know, it’s a made-up, Hallmark holiday. I know, if you care about someone, you should show it every day. But I can’t help but be drawn in by the pink and red hearts, flowers, and sweets. I’m a sucker for the romantic stuff. I may be a tough girl on the outside, but I melt at the mention of roses appearing on your doorstep and surprise chocolate bon bons in a box. {Sigh}

Red Velvet Brownies

At least, in theory. Most years, my husband has to work on Valentine’s Day. Last year, I celebrated with my mini Valentines instead–my kids–which became a big affair for them. My daughter insisted we spiff up. She donned a dress–a rare occasion–and my son put on his suit. We only traveled half a mile away to this local Mexican restaurant we all like. It may as well have been to a fancy establishment in The City, as far as they were concerned. They were dazzled–happy to be my little dates for the night. And I was happy to be with them.

Red Velvet Brownies

Today I made Red Velvet Brownies for them. My touch of special for this silly little day. We’ll probably eat at home in front of the TV, sharing in a family movie night. It’s not the elegant occasion I once dreamed of in my twenties, but it’s more than enough. I’m spending time with my loves, and that’s what matters.

Red Velvet Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: brownie
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1½ cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon warm water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 20 tablespoons (2½ sticks or 1¼ cups) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ ounce Christmas Red gel food dye
  • ⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-2¼ cups confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, cocoa powder, water, salt, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat, cooking until it's browned. It'll go through at least 2 stages of foaming before you get that characteristic nutty smell and browned bits in the butter (about 5-7 minutes). Don't rush it or you could burn the butter!
  4. Pour the butter into the sugar mixture and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool a little.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing the first in completely before adding the next. Stir the last egg in until the batter is nice and shiny, then stir in the food coloring.
  6. Add the flour all at once and stir until just combined, being sure to scrape the bottom with every turn.
  7. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
  9. Cool completely.
  10. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
  11. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time. After 2 cups, assess if it's the consistency desired or if you'd like the frosting a little stiffer (then add ¼ cup more confectioners' sugar, if needed).
  12. Spread over the cooled brownies.
  13. Cut, serve, and enjoy!
You could add more color for a more vibrant red, but I like the subtlety of this. It looks a little more natural (even though it isn't) than its vibrant cousins.


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