It’s December, which can only mean one thing in the food world: COOKIES! Aw yeah, it’s that time of year again. I don’t know what’s more exciting; the cookies or the holidays? Either way, the holidays are upon us.
I decked my halls the day after Thanksgiving for two reasons. I was dying to get into the holiday spirit, and because I feel like my tree(s) are never up long enough. For me, my Christmas spirit lies solely in my Christmas tree. I’m in charge of decorating it by myself every year and it brings me such joy to see it lit up in the corner of my living room. It’s weird but it doesn’t feel like Christmas without my baby tree all decked out in ornaments and bright lights.
Anyway, let’s talk cookies. Here on Lucy the Baker, I have a number of cookies up already but this holiday season, I want to up the ante. I’m planning on doubling my cookie production this year, which will hopefully mean more posts. I’m excited, nervous, and hungry!
For starters, here are some red velvet cheesecake brownies. Now, before you even say it, brownies ARE considered a cookie. It’s technically a bar cookie, as opposed to a regular cookie. I don’t know who decided this but I agree with them. Brownies aren’t really a cake, so they must be a cookie. These brownies are special, though. Not only do they have a ridiculous cheesecake layer, but they’re red velvet. That automatically raises the bar, and then some.
I don’t know if you noticed but I lack red velvet recipes. Sure, I have the lone one up but there’s a reason as to why that is. Like that recipe I posted last year, almost all my red velvet attempts have gone wrong. I don’t know what it is but, I always end up with a messed up red velvet something. My first ever (undocumented) attempt was some red velvet cupcakes, which came out flat and stuck to the pan. The whoopie pies were my second and although the cookie itself came out good, I almost forgot the sugar and messed up the filling to the point of no return. I had better luck this time but I wouldn’t call them a perfect success; typical things like broken and stuck brownies happened.
Either way, these are fabulous. Not only are they red velvet, with its smooth texture and hint of chocolate, but there’s a cheesecake layer. Believe me when I say it is ridiculous. I was amazed. Cheesecake and red velvet go together like chips and dip, to be honest. My favorite part of this entire recipe was the swirling part. It looked absolutely beautiful. The cheesecake batter swirled with red velvet brownie batter, came together in perfect and visually stunning harmony. I don’t know but there’s something about that tangy cream cheese against the lightly chocolatey taste in red velvet. It’s like, magical or something.
So, let’s start the holiday season, and the #CookieCraziness with these brownies!
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies – barely adapted from The Novice Chef
Makes 36 brownies
Red Velvet Layer:
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring (I used Wilton’s No Taste Red)
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat your oven to 350F, and lightly grease a half sheet pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, 2 tablespoons of milk, vanilla, food coloring, and white vinegar. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick!
- Remove 3/4 cup of the thick batter and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Set aside.
- Spread the remaining batter into the prepared sheet pan. Make sure to spread it as evenly as possible, and all the way into the corners of the pan.
- Time to make the cheesecake layer: in a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Continue to beat until completely incorporated and lump free.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie batter, spreading it out to the corners. Drop spoonfuls of the thinned out brownie batter onto the cheesecake layer. Using a butter knife or small spatula, drag the tip through the cheesecake and red velvet batters to create swirls.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until center is set. Brownies shouldn’t jiggle. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
- Jessica, at The Novice Chef blog, made these for Valentine’s day and used a heart cookie cutter. Instead, feel free to get festive and use holiday cutters (like a tree or a snowman) instead of cutting into squares.
- My brownies took a bit longer than 30 minutes. The center was still jiggly, which scared me but they came out alright.
- I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (because YUM), which may have contributed to the burgundy color in these brownies.
- I strongly suggest gel food coloring, as the liquid stuff can dilute your batters if you use too much.