Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Bread

Stop reading right now if you don’t think banana bread is the greatest thing on the planet.

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My love for banana bread runs deep. Well, my love for banana ANYTHING runs deep. (Except for banana flavored Laffy Taffy. WHAT. IS. THAT?!) It was destined. My nickname growing up was Deanna Banana. It’s also no joke when I say that I eat 3 bananas a day. (Is this bad? Please don’t tell me this is bad. I probably won’t listen anyway.) They’re just so sweet and delicious and I can’t stop eating them. So if I can increase my banana intake via bread and/or muffins? Sign. Me. Up.

The thing about loving bananas is that I will never be that person who always has a large amount of bananas left over to brown. I always eat them before that happens. So the fact that I really love banana bread and muffins can be problematic. I actually need to plan ahead and buy extra bananas strictly for the purpose of leaving them out long enough so that I can bake with them.

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When the planets all align and I do have leftover bananas that are perfect for baking, banana bread is the first thing that enters my mind. There is just nothing better. Banana bread warm out of the oven or leftovers the next day; I just can’t get enough. In general, I just can’t enough enough of ALL quick breads and muffins. There is just something so homey and comforting about them. My boss makes THE BEST apple bread ever and you do NOT want to see me when I’m alone with that bread. It’s not a pretty sight. Have you ever had something so amazing you tried to throw it out so that you wouldn’t eat the whole thing? Then, while trying to throw it out, you’re hovering over the trash eating more little by little? No? Oh…then me either.

If I could open a bakery and serve nothing but different varieties of quick breads and muffins, I would be a happy camper. Imagine walking in to a store and seeing and endless supply of banana bread, lemon loaves, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, blueberry muffins, banana muffins, chocolate muffins, etc. The list can go on and on. Serve all of those up with some coffee, and I’m a goner. And cookies. Always, always cookies. They’re my love language.

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I’ve been making this particular bread for a while now. There are just so many things I love about it. Using whole wheat flour makes me feel like I’m living right. It makes me feel grown up. Adding old-fashioned oats? Hold the phone. It’s just so good. It adds such a great texture and nutty flavor that I can’t handle. It makes me feel whole. I’m also 80 years old and have such an oatmeal obsession. It’s legit. Baked oats, oatmeal, granola bars, granola, oatmeal cookies. I just can’t get enough. If I can put oats in something, you bet your life I will.

Another all-star ingredient in this bread? Unsweetened apple sauce. What the what? Applesauce is used in this recipe in place of other fats like oil and butter. It helps add moisture to the bread without the extra fat and calories. And for someone who is getting married in 6 months (oh, hi. that would be me), cutting fat and calories is an extra bonus. Between the applesauce and the mashed bananas, you really are not missing any of the extra fats. Shocking, but true. And with only a 1/2 cup of sugar in this entire loaf, it pretty much means you can eat 3 huge slices and not worry. #bananabreadmath

The resulting bread is one that is so flavorful, it knocks my socks off. The banana flavor is so profound, and the whole wheat flour and oats add such a nice depth. This bread has some heft to it. It’s not a light and fluffy cake-like bread, which is just how I like it. If I want light and fluffy, I’ll have some angel food cake. Having a slice of this bread with your coffee in the morning? I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

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I just wrote over 650 words about banana bread. What is my life?

***

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Bread

(Recipe by: Baked By Rachel)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray
  • In a medium bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients (applesauce through banana).
  • In another bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (flour through salt)
  • Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
  • Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan (sprinkle with additional oats, if desired).
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.
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Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

Is it “donut” or “doughnut”?

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I tend to write “doughnut” but only for the simple fact that it looks better. Cause, you know. We be fancy.

So which ever one you like to use, feel free. No judgement here. I mean, how can there be judgement when one is talking about doughnuts? Doughnuts are pretty much perfect. Handheld little cakes or fried dough topped with glazes, frosting, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and anything else your little doughnut loving heart desires. I’m apparantely also trying to see how many times I can say (type?) the word doughnut in this post.

I can’t exactly remember where my fascination with doughnuts started. I guess I would have to say from the very beginning of my existence. Growing up, every Sunday morning, my parents would go to this one particular bakery in the town I grew up in (Joe’s Bakery for all you North Arlington people) and buy a bag of their freshly made rolls and a box of their doughnuts. Ohmygosh. I used to L-O-V-E Sunday’s for this reason. One of their rolls with butter was all I really needed in life. But their doughnuts? That’s where the magic was. I was (still am) a jelly doughnut girl all the way. Joe’s Bakery had such great ones. Topped with powdered sugar, the doughnut was melt in your mouth delicious. The jelly was nice and thick and the whole combination was just perfection.

Their other doughnuts were amazing as well. Glazed, chocolate frosted, you name it. And their CRUMB CAKE. Oh man, I can’t even stand it. That was my Dad’s favorite. All this talk is really making me sad that Joe’s Bakery is no longer there. It went out of  business years ago and no such bakery has been able to really live up to what Joe’s was.

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While doughnuts are one of the most perfect foods on earth, I know it’s not very healthy to eat them all the time. But for a doughnut loving person like myself, what is one to do? Enter: baked doughnuts.

I’m sure you’ve all seen different varieties of baked doughnuts floating around the interwebs recently. I know there are people who feel very strongly that a baked doughnut isn’t and shouldn’t be considered a doughnut because it isn’t fried. It’s baked and therefore should be thought of as a cake. I tend to disagree. It’s just lightened up and cooked differently to make it easier and more accessible to people. It’s still, in its essence, a doughnut. Just prepared differently than your traditional fried version. There are still glazes, and fillings, and sprinkles that you would find on a fried variation. And because they are baked, they are slimmed down and more healthy. Therefore you can eat, like 3. Baked doughnut math.

Just like their fried counterpart, the flavor variations of baked doughnuts are ENDLESS. They can made with seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin, winter citrus, or fresh summer fruit. They can be topped with sprinkles, chocolate chips, glazes, and frosting. They can also be filled with jams, jellies, pastry cream, and puddings. Endless combinations.

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Or you can be like my typical self and infuse the doughnut with brown butter. Because, duh. I will never stop singing the glories of brown butter. The flavor it gives anything you make with it is out of this world. Depth and richness that cannot be achieved by simply just melting the butter. Here’s a good lesson for all you cooks/bakers out there: if a recipe calls for melted butter, BROWN IT.

I made these doughnuts one night with no intention of really taking pictures and sharing them. I just wanted to bake and these doughnuts were the first thing that came to mind. But as I started making them and tasting them throughout every step of the process, I knew I HAD to post these. I made them at night with no good natural light, so the pictures in this post are from my cell phone. My camera (which I DESPERATELY need to upgrade) just wasn’t taking great pictures in this environment.

So what’s all the fuss about these doughnuts that I just had to share? The base of the doughnut is brown butter batter (say that 5 times fast..). Perfection on its own. But why stop there? Go big or go home. I topped this with a thick chocolate glaze (it’s nice and thick that I could even get away with calling it a frosting). And to add the finishing touch? Well, sprinkles. Flavor explosions like WHOA. The doughnut itself was soft and fluffy and the brown butter just took it to the next level of flavortown. The chocolate glaze was the perfection accompaniment and added the perfect amount of sweetness. And the sprinkles? Yeah. I need my life to be covered with sprinkles.

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These doughnuts also just continued to get better day after day. On day 3, they were just as good (if not, more so) as on the day they were made. After that? I don’t know. They didn’t last that long 🙂

Also, I don’t think this doughnut could be any more “Deanna” even if it tried. Brown butter, chocolate, and sprinkles. That’s like my Holy Trinity. AMEN.

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I’m also not the only person in my family who loves doughnuts. In fact, my wonderful cousin’s Chris and Danielle are actually opening their own doughnut shop! Top That! Donuts (located in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) is scheduled to open in Spring 2014. It will be a served warm donut and coffee shop. You will be able to choose donut options from their seasonal menu or create your own donut! Just think of ALL THE TOPPINGS. Check out their Facebook page for more information and updates! I can’t wait!

*****

Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

(Recipe by: Joy The Baker)

INGREDIENTS:

For the Doughnuts:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (but we’ll only use 2 tablespoons of browned butter for the recipe)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Doughnuts:

  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a doughnut pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts. Keep an eye on it, it browns quickly.  The butter will begin to smell nutty.  Remove from heat and immediately transfer browned butter (brown bits and all) to a small bowl.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Measure out 2 tablespoons of browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined.  Try not to overmix the batter.
  6. Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out and fill each doughnut in the pan three-quarters full with batter.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and try not to over-bake them.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze. I used about 3 tablespoons.
  3. Once the doughnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the chocolate glaze.  Return to the wire rack top with sprinkles.  Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. Doughnuts are best within 2 days. I kept mind on a plate covered with plastic wrap and they were still good on day 3.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

I gotta tell ya. I would be COMPLETELY fine with winning the lottery.

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You always hear stories about past lottery winners and how it ruined their lives, and now they have no more money, and they just wish things were back to the way it used to be before they won.

Umm..what? I can’t speak from experience, but I’m preeeeetty sure I would rock that. Every time I have a day off, or a long weekend, or even better, a whole WEEK off, I am as happy as a clam. (btw: I just looked what the meaning of that phrase was because, while I use it all the time, I never understood why clams are always so happy. Apparently, the whole phrase is “happy as a clam at high tide.” Meaning: Hide tide is when clams are free from the attentions of predators; surely the happiest of times in the bivalve mollusc world). Surely.

Learn something new everyday. Just think of all the new things I could learn in my free time if I won the lottery!

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I have a wonderful 9-5 job that let’s me earn a paycheck while still allowing me to live the life I want to live. Once I leave work, I don’t check email, I don’t have people calling my cell phone, I don’t bring home work with me. Once I’m out of the office, I’m cut off. Nights and weekends are free to do what I please. The thing I’ve always said about myself is that I work to live. I don’t live to work. While I understand the importance of having a job, I’ve never had a true connection to it.

Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I still don’t. I never had that career ambition that some of my friends have. I’m more than happy going to my job, coming home, and not having it control my life. Some may find that a bit off-putting or not very ambitious, but I never want my job to define me.  My job is what I do, not who I am.

However, it’s things I do outside of work that I find I’m most passionate and ambitious about. There is nothing I love more than being home and having the whole day to bake and cook. That’s where I’m truly happy and passionate. My brain starts churning and I can’t wait to create delicious and decadent meals and treats. Instead of having a corner office on the 50th floor of a high rise, I consider my kitchen my own little corner office.

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I could literally be the quintessential 1950’s housewife. Minus the whole birthing and raising of the children thing, I could totally be happy staying home all day cooking and baking.* I’m not saying this is ideal for every woman but I could do this and be completely happy. It would also give me more time to turn this blog into something bigger and better, which is a top goal I have.

But the connection to work is important, because without that steady paycheck, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I’m passionate about. (Umm..baking is expensive! I can’t even [nor would I want to] fathom the amount of money I constantly spend on flours, sugars, eggs, butter, etc.)

So, obviously, the only solution that allows me quit my job, but still earn money so that I can stay home and cook and bake all day? LOTTERY.

Need proof that I would use all my time off wisely? Well, you’re looking at it. The last time I was home all day, I made these brownies. Enough said.

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Besides my chocolate chip cookies, this has been one of the most constant desserts to come out of my kitchen. They are my boyfriend’s favorite and I just recently made these for him for Valentine’s Day. I mean, what’s not to love here?

In this dessert there is a delicious, chewy, moist (#sorryimnotsorry), fudgy red velvet brownie that has a wonderfully tasty and simple cream cheese swirl mixed throughout. Want some brownies but are also in the mood for cheesecake? BOOM. Here you have both. No need to choose.

In the mood for a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing but don’t want to be bothered with making a nice, tall, layer cake? BOOM. All the flavors of that cake here in an easy brownie form.

There is a reason that the cream cheese icing and red velvet combination works so well. The tangyness (is that a word? probably not being that I have the red squiggly line underneath it as I type this) from the cream cheese pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the red velvet brownie.

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This recipe is quickly becoming one of my favorites as well. And while it has 2 different components, it couldn’t be simpler. The brownies come together quickly in one bowl and the cream cheese swirl just takes a quick mix in your mixer. (“mix in your mixer”? Ugh, I need a thesaurus)

Once your brownie mixture is done, place 3/4 of the batter into your prepared pan. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top, and finally dollop the remaining brownie batter on top of the cream cheese mixture. Take a butter knife and swirl the layers together. Try not to over-do the swirling. I like to have big swirls of cream cheese throughout the brownies. No fuss. No complicated technique. Simple ingredients and techniques that end up creating a more than extraordinary dessert.

If you are a fan of the traditional red velvet cake with cream cheese icing, this recipe is sure to please. Still on the fence about the whole red cake thing? Give this recipe a shot. It may just be the recipe to sway you to red velvet love.

(That sounds dirty)

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*along with, of course, vacations around the world. I’m not that out of my mind..

*****

RED VELVET CREAM CHEESE SWIRL BROWNIES

(Recipe by: Sally’s Baking Addiction)

INGREDIENTS:

Red Velvet Brownies

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid or gel red food coloring
  • 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake Swirl

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the brownie layer first. In a small bowl, beat the 2 eggs together. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar. Mix each of those ingredients into the batter in that order. Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely incorporated. Do not overmix. Pour 3/4 of the brownie batter into prepared baking pan, leaving the remainder for the top.
  3. Make the cheesecake swirl. In a mixer on medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl until completely smooth – about 1 minute. Dollop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie batter. Cover with the remaing brownie batter. Slide a knife through the layers, creating a swirl pattern.
  4. Bake the brownies for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover brownies and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Brownies will freeze well, up to 2 months.

Trail Mix Cookies

So umm..really winter?

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This is how it’s gonna be? Look, I understand that winter is supposed to be cold and snowy. But, I mean, REALLY?! Just stop. I can only take so much. I’m so over winter that I don’t even care if I don’t get another snow day from work. I’ll gladly work my usual 5 days a week if that means spring and warmer weather is coming. I’m throwing my white flag into the pile of white snow and forfeiting.

Oh, and take your “polar vortex” and shove it.

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These cold, snowy, wintry days have me looking forward to the warmer spring and summer weather. Where we all can all enjoy the outdoors and nature with long walks and hikes and truly embrace the end of winter. I actually am a big fan of hiking. I like that feeling of being connected with nature. I like how being surrounded by trees and hills and mountains can make me feel so small. I like being reminded that there is a big, big world out there. It’s very peaceful and I love taking a time out from my hectic life and just chilling out for a couple hours.

Being outdoors is also a great way to get exercise without the monotony of running on a treadmill. Seriously, I hate working out at a gym. My brand new gym membership? Poor thing. I’ve been paying each and every month, and barely (and I mean barely) use it. It’s just that I get so bored running on a treadmill. I literally can have a TV on while listening to my iPod and I still can’t fight my way through it. I’d much rather be walking outside. There are a lot more things to focus on than the mile counter on the treadmill.

And if I’m being completely honest, the people watching is great. It’s like my all-time favorite past-time. And, I don’t mean to brag, but I’m GREAT at it. Can I sometimes be borderline creepy with it? Sure. Sometimes. But I take pride in my creepiness. People are so fascinating!! 

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Anywho, while I do love enjoying nature and going on the occasional hike, the truth is, I don’t really hike very often. It’s hard to go on many hikes while living in a metropolitan area. But if the opportunity presents itself, I’m totally game.

But if we’re being completely honest here, another thing I really love about hiking is what people EAT while hiking. Because, as usual, it’s all about the food for me. Trail mix, granola, granola bars, dried fruits, nuts, and the occasional handful of chocolate. Some of my favorite snackies! I’d climb Mt. Everest if that meant I could munch on that the whole time.

And that’s exactly what these cookies are all about. All those great hiking snacks in one cookie! In this jam-packed cookie, we have oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cherries, raisins, and chocolate. All wonderful energizing snacks that, will not only help give you the energy to push through your hike, but taste great in cookie form.

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I love the texture of these cookies. The chewyness from the oats, the crunch of the walnuts and sunflower seeds, as well as the softness of the raisins and dried cherries. Perfection. I love a chewy cookie, and while the are somewhat on the thin side (to me), don’t let that fool you. There is chewyness for DAYS. And the flavor combinations?! UGH. Delish. Sweet, salty, tart.

The one thing I would do differently next time? Chill the dough. I like chilling cookie dough because it keeps cookies from spreading out and keeps them nice and thick. Chilling the dough also lets the ingredients meld together, allowing the cookie to really develop its flavors. While this cookie was completely chewy, I would have preferred it a little thicker. So next time? I’m chilling the dough. I usually chill my cookie dough overnight, but if you’re in a rush, 1-2 hours will work as well.

I sent these cookies with my boyfriend for him to bring to work. By 11:00am they were all gone. I think that speaks for itself 🙂

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And while it may not be proper weather to go for a nice hike, you all still deserve these cookies. Because climbing these giant piles of snow is pretty much the same thing. It’s hiking. Winter style.

*****

TRAIL MIX COOKIES

(Recipe by: Annie’s Eats)

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 6 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. sunflower seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; whisk to blend, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Blend in the egg.  Mix in the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
  6. Stir in the oats until evenly combined.
  7. Use a spatula to fold in the raisins, cherries, walnuts, chocolate and sunflower seeds, mixing just until evenly incorporated.
  8. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least a couple of inches apart.
  9. Bake  until golden brown and just set, about 10-12 minutes total.
  10. Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Brown Butter Red Velvet Brownies

Ok, enough with the (semi) healthy blog items. Just give me the butter and sugar.

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Full disclosure: this recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of sugar, 4 eggs, and 2 1/2 sticks of butter. There. I said it. Out loud. Let’s just put our stretchy pants on and march forward.

I’m all about the classic desserts. We live in a world filled with fancy French macaroons, cronuts, tortes, and crazy pastries. But give me a classic chocolate chip cookie (think and chewy!) or a brownie (thick and fudgy!) and I’m one happy girl.

I also live with my boyfriend who has a deep and true love for anything and everything red velvet. Whenever I ask him what I should make next, about 95% of the time, his response is “red velvet cheesecake brownies!”

What should I make for breakfast? “Red velvet pancakes!”

What kind of cookies should I make? “Red velvet cookies!”

What should I make for dinner? “Red velvet chicken!” You get the idea.

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His favorite thing I’ve ever made are the previously mentioned Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. The man L-O-V-E-S them. But I wanted to do something a little more classic. None of the extra’s. So how do I fulfill his need for red velvet, while satisfying my need for a classic dessert?

Red Velvet Brownies.

Naturally brown butter is in there as well, because the love I have for brown butter runs deeper than my boyfriend’s love of red velvet. Can’t fight a love quite like ours. If you have not yet baked with brown butter, stop reading right now and get to it. The smell is one of my favorite things. It’s so intoxicating! I wish someone (a lot less lazy than me) would bottle that up. I’d buy it.

And the flavor? GAH. I can’t even stand it. The depth and richness it gives to whatever you are making it with is unreal. Nutty and almost caramely. It’s insanely addictive and luscious. (Did I just describe butter as luscious?)

In conclusion: Brown Butter Red Velvet Brownies are the perfect compromise in our household.

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I kept debating about putting white chocolate chips in these. I put white chocolate chips in my red velvet cookies to mimic the cream cheese frosting that goes so well with red velvet. But, I eventually decided against it. I wanted something pure. I’ll save the chips for next time. Because there will definitely be a next time.

These red velvet brownies were based off one of my FAVORITEEEEE brownies (which I will share. Eventually.). The thickness and fudgyness that I absolutely adore in those brownies, truly comes through in these. I hate hate hate cakey brownies. If I want cakey brownies, I’d make a chocolate cake. But even then, I like some denseness to my cakes. I can’t help it.

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As always with red velvet, the slight flavor of the cocoa powder comes through without overpowering the sweet vanilla flavor. Red velvet is the perfect flavor for indecisive people like myself. Can’t decide between chocolate or vanilla? Make some red velvet. It’s the best of both worlds.

I used a full 2 tablespoons of liquid red food coloring, but feel free to add more or less. I know people get weird when it comes to using liquid red food dye, but I’ve never thought twice about. If you would like to use gel food coloring instead of the liquid kind, go crazy 🙂

I made these before heading to dinner with a dear, dear friend of mine. I gave her and her fiance a box of them and I received this message shortly after I got home: “I couldn’t resist (even on a fully belly of Greek food) and had a few bites of one. They are dynamite!”

Can’t argue with that 🙂

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Whoops 😉

…..

BROWN BUTTER RED VELVET BROWNIES

(Recipe by: Something Swanky)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 sticks salted butter (I used unsalted)
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp red food coloring
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining with parchment paper (important so they don’t stick!).
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Stir constantly until butter has reached a light brown color and little “bits” have formed. It can be difficult to see the color of the butter as it foams a bit, so you can also go by smell (it will be very fragrant, smelling almost like caramel).
  4. Pour the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer (no need to cool). Add the sugar and cocoa powder and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition until almost creamy.
  5. Add the salt, buttermilk, red food coloring, and vanilla.
  6. Add the flour mix well. Batter will be thick.
  7. Spread batter in the 9×13 pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs on it.
  8. Let cool, then cut into squares to serve.