Right before the holidays, I was asked to prepare some sweets. Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of red velvet. I'll eat it if it's there but it is never my first choice for anything. That being said, my mom requested these red velvet peppermint brownies from Southern Living. I feel like I'll be hated for this but I should also say I'm not a huge fan of cream cheese either. Pelt me with rocks, now, if you like. Baking with it makes me nervous, and eating it also makes me nervous. But, for those who love red velvet, these are perfect for the holidays.
Can you tell I am not good at swirling? I think I wasn't supposed to dip the knife all the way into the batter--just the surface--so you don't get pink splotches, but rather, cleaner red and white lines. They should look like this, after all. I wasn't sure how I felt about the peppermint in this but I suppose it makes these more festive. The recipe also isn't very sweet (relative to other red velvet treats) so approach cautiously.
Red Velvet Peppermint Swirl Brownies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes + 1 hour to cool
Yields: 2 dozen brownies
Ingredients:1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 egg whites
2 tsp all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil. I used butter and still found it a little difficult to pry the brownies. Non-stick spray may work better.
Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in 2 cups sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Add food coloring, peppermint extract, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/8 tsp. salt. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Beat cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg whites and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla, and beat until blended. Stir in 2 Tbsp. flour until smooth. Drop cream cheese mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls over batter in pan; gently swirl with a knife.
Bake for 30 to 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil; cut brownies into squares.