Red Velvet Brownies for #4thofJuly #SundaySupper

by Renee on July 1, 2012

Red Velvet Brownies with cream cheese frosting

How do you celebrate Independence Day? It is such a festive summer holiday. People proudly display their patriotism with our nation’s flags and colors. Family and friends gather for food and fun. Cookouts happen everywhere. Grills are fired up and tasty treats are made. One treat I like to bring to a cookout is red velvet brownies with cream cheese frosting. All the deliciousness of a red velvet cake in little squares. Plus, the color works nice for the holiday with an added touch of blue decoration.

I will call my star decoration rustic. It is a nice way of saying I am lacking in decorating skills. I have a great admiration and respect for the people who decorate cakes perfectly. The piping bag is not my friend. I would use sprinkles except that I do not care for eating sprinkles. So rustic piped frosting it is for me.  At least it reflects that it is homemade.

The brownies are moist with a bit of a top crust. I have made them a few times and each time the top does crack a little. It is okay because you cover the cracks with the frosting. I like the added texture. I found the recipe on the Smells Like Home blog. The recipe called for white chocolate buttercream but I have a slight allergy to white chocolate. I adapted it with cream cheese frosting. I also adapted the method to use a hand mixer.

Want more recipes for cookouts and the holiday? The Sunday Supper team of bloggers have an incredible list for you. I cannot wait to take a look at every single one. They all sound so good. Be sure to take the time to visit these wonderful blogs and check out all the recipes:

Main Dishes:

Salads and Sides:

Desserts:
Fabulous Pairings by Martin from ENOFYLZ

Join in the Sunday Supper 4th of July holiday conversation. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag on twitter. There will be a live chat 5:30 to 6:30pm Eastern Time today (Sunday, July 1st). Tweet your favorite holiday recipes or photos with the hashtag too. Follow the Sunday Supper Pinterest board for even more recipe and cooking inspiration.

What are you doing to celebrate the holiday? My plan is to have a relaxing day with family, friends, good food, and wine. Cheers!

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

    For the brownies:
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half-n-half or milk as needed
For the brownies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 X 8-inch square baking pan. Line the pan with parchment or non-stick aluminum foil. Grease and flour the parchment/foil. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until it is a smooth, thick paste without any lumps of cocoa. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat to combine. Add the cocoa mixture and beat on medium speed until combined and one uniform color. Slowly add the flour/salt mixture and mix on medium-low speed until combined. Do not overmix. Stir the batter with a rubber spatula to ensure the flour is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is uniform in color.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies. Remove the brownies from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely on the rack.

Remove the brownies from the pan and place on a cutting board. Frost brownies with cream cheese frosting and cut into 16 squares. Refrigerate leftovers.

For the frosting:

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined. With the mixer on medium-low, add the confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat until combined. Add half-n-half or milk 1 teaspoon at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached desired consistency.

Note: Reserve a small amount of frosting in a bowl if using for decorating in different colors. Add food coloring and stir to combine. Decorate as desired.

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam @ The Meltaways July 1, 2012 at 6:58 am

I nearly snorted at the rustic description , only because my decorating skills are probably considered primitive rustic at best ; ). The brownies look great and sound amazing!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Thanks Pam. I know I need to practice piping and decorating more. I suppose I focus on how it tastes and the homemade look is good for me.

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Amber July 1, 2012 at 7:50 am

Red velvet is sooo delicious. I love, love, love it! I really like how you made it 4th of July!!! Can’t wait to add this to my list next week!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Thanks Amber!

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Tora Estep July 1, 2012 at 8:36 am

I am no great shakes at decorating myself, but I bet these are delicious!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

They do go fast. My family loved them.

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Liz July 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

Way to turn a classic into a 4th of July treat! LOVE this idea…and it looks delish, Renee!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Thanks so much Liz!

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes July 1, 2012 at 9:35 am

The red came out perfect! I´m with you on the piping bag skills. These brownies are the perfect thing for a 4th of july celebration. Who wouldn´t want one!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Thanks Paula!

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Alaiyo July 1, 2012 at 9:41 am

I love cream cheese frosting, and I’m so fond of red velvet cake. This is a fitting dessert for July 4th–and I love the “rustic” decoration too!

Alaiyo

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I also love cream cheese frosting. So rich and delicious.

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Cindys Recipes July 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

I love brownies! I need to add this to my collection!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Thank you Cindy! I hope you will make them one day.

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Soni July 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

Gorgeous red velvet brownies.I also lack cake decorating skills,but your star looks really cute :)Perfect for the 4th of July :)

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

So sweet of you to say my star is cute. Thanks Soni!

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Susan July 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

ooh red velvet brownies are so good, but I haven’t had them with the frosting, you just took it to another level Renee!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Thank Susan. The frosting does add an extra touch to the brownies.

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Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) July 1, 2012 at 10:45 am

These look fabulous…and I adore your rustic stars! My BIL loves red velvet, so need to make a batch next time he comes for a visit!!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I hope you do make them for your BIL. If you do, please let me know how he likes them.

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Mythreyi July 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

First time here… very droolicious Cake, nice presentation..

-Mythreyi
Yum! Yum! Yum!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Thank you so much! I hope you come back to visit often!

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Karen Hartzell July 1, 2012 at 11:34 am

YUM! DH keeps saying his is going to make red velvet cupcakes with DD. I may have to have him try this recipe instead.

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Karen! Might as well make brownies instead of cupcakes. Something different for red velvet.

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Mama F July 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Although my kids don’t like chocolate (I know, sin.) Daddy F’s fav is red velvet. I think it’s time for him to get a little treat! :)

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Thanks! Yes, I agree…time for Daddy F to have a little treat.

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Jen @ Juanita's Cocina July 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I looooove the star! And I love these brownies! YUM!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Thanks Jen!

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mommasmeals July 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Renee, I love how delish these look! Love your cute little decoration, very creative and refreshing, how do you make a brownie look so moist in a picture! YUM!!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

These brownies are that moist. I did not do anything special, all I did was take the photo in the nice natural light right after the sun rose in the morning.

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Laura Hunter July 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

You know I have always heard people talk about Red Velvet cake, but until now I had no idea what it was. Looks very tasty. Is there any other way to get the red colouring? I try to avoid using artificial food colouring in my baking.

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I have seen some natural food coloring substitutes on the internet. I think you can also find them at Whole Foods.

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Sarah July 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

That is just insane!!! I adore anything red velvet! Happy 4th of July!

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Renee July 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Thank you Sarah!

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Katy July 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm

These look so cute! And I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with your decorating skills, the start looks perfect!

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Renee July 2, 2012 at 10:51 am

Thank you Katy!

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts July 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I have had these on my list of things to make for far too long! Yours look perfect, it might just push me to actually make them!

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Renee July 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

Thanks Erin! I hope you do make them because they are so yummy.

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Laura @ Family Spice July 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm

LOL! The piping bag is not my friend, too!

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Renee July 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

Thanks Laura! Thanks for admitting the piping bag is not your friend either. I do not feel alone with that anymore.

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Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious July 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

What a wonderful dessert! You know I’m game for anything involving red velvet, especially when more chocolate is involved!

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Renee July 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

Thanks! I agree on the chocolate too. I would not know what to do without it.

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diabeticFoodie July 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I don’t think your stars are rustic at all! Now MY stars would be rustic :)

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Renee July 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

So sweet of you to say. I picked out one of the better ones for the photo. The rest were really “rustic”.

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Barbara Jackson July 2, 2012 at 4:28 am

I will definitely visit those blogs that you have listed here. And thanks for sharing the brownies recipe also. I would love to try that with my kids. It looks scrumptious.

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Renee July 2, 2012 at 10:55 am

Thanks Barbara!

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Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips July 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I love your rustic star!! And I like sprinkles, but it would totally ruin red velvet. And always cream cheese with red velvet!

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Renee July 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Thanks Brianne! Yes, I agree – red velvet does need cream cheese frosting.

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Kathy July 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Your brownie are the real deal my friend. I wish I had one right this minute!!! And never mind the decorating, i’m not so hot at it either. I know others might disagree but taste is everything!
I have yet to attempt the red velvet variety of brownie. Guess I better get baking :)

Have a wonderful holiday!

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Renee July 4, 2012 at 8:59 am

Thank you Kathy!

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Carla July 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Love your personal rustic touch of the blue star! Perfect for patriotic holidays (and not something I would’ve thought of!). I’m with you on decorating. Piping cupcakes, no problem. Decorate a cookie or a regular-sized cake? Yeaaaaa.

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Renee July 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

Thanks Carla!

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Choc Chip Uru July 3, 2012 at 4:55 am

These are so beautifully patriotic and delicious my friend – very awesome :D

Cheers
CCU

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Peter @Feed Your Soul July 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

really nice and just in time for tomorrow. thanks for sharing.

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Renee July 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

Thanks Peter!

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Lane @ Supper for a Steal July 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm

These sound delicious! I think cream cheese frosting is a better fit for red velvet brownies anyways. Although I’m not a frosting fan so I think when I make them I will leave it off or maybe just half because the hubby would love the frosting.

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Renee July 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

Frosting half of the brownie is a good idea since you do not care for frosting. For me there can never be too much frosting.

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Katherine Martinelli July 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I’ve had red velvet cake – but brownies?! Brilliant and oh so tempting!

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Renee July 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Thanks Katherine! They certainly are tempting. They call my name all hours of the day and night.

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