Red White and Blue Velvet BrowniesPosted: 1 July 2011
George Carlin once went on a rant about the lack of blue food in this world. Most of his bits ended up as rants which is partially why he was so damn funny. He ranted about no blue food. “Where’s the blue food????” He went on to explain that blueberries didn’t count since they’re actually purple. I’m not sure I agree with him, but his indignation over the lack of blue food was pretty entertaining. He listed all of the other colors of the rainbow and the foods that correlated in color which only made him more incredulous/outraged at the lack of properly blue foods. I admit that his blue food rant had a lot of influence on my decision to make blue velvet brownies.
Unfortunately he’s not alive anymore or I’d send him one of these. I’m sure it wouldn’t count since it’s by no means naturally occurring, but my God, it’s blue food people. If you’re in charge of bringing a patriotic dessert to 4th of July, look no further. These brownies and their frosting are super easy to make. Top it with red raspberries or strawberries and you have a dessert worthy of flag waving.
While I don’t endorse the over usage of food colorings, it’s fun sometimes to get a bit creative. Food coloring should be used infrequently and whenever possible, use the all-natural stuff. In other words, go ahead and make blue velvet or red velvet stuff on special occasions, but maybe avoid drinking yellow soda every day.
If you look at the ingredient list you’ll see that there isn’t really a ton of chocolate in these ‘brownies’ and that’s thanks to the nature of red, now blue, velvet. It’s not supposed to have a ton of chocolate, the food coloring was used during WWI to make it look like the cake was really richer than it was. In reality, these are blondies with a chocolaty flavor. The eggs provide the fudge-like consistency to brownies so don’t worry, you aren’t sacrificing any of the ‘ooey gooey’ quality. Topped with the “Best Frosting I’ve Ever Tasted” and some fruit and you have a fabulously balanced dessert. Not nutritionally, but in flavor. It’s dessert, do we really except it to be balanced nutritionally?
The frosting included in this recipe has been bouncing around the foodie blogosphere for months ever since the Pioneer Woman featured the recipe from one of her Tasty Kitchen contributors. I decided to try it out after reading no fewer than 5 posts about the stuff. They were all right, it’s delicious. It’s unlike most other frosting…it’s light and fluffy but not in that weird, greasy way that cool whip is light and fluffy. When it’s cold, it’s quite dense and it has a light, almost butterscotch flavor. It’s also easy to make and does not require powdered sugar. Win!
If you have blue food coloring in your cupboard, you can easily make these in no time on the 4th and have then ready for the party. The ingredients are just baking staples for both the frosting and the brownies. Initially I baked these in an 8×8-inch pan but they came out a bit too thick and took quite a long time. Definitely go for a 9×13.
Blue Velvet Brownies
1/2 cups butter, soft but not squishy
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2-3 tablespoons blue food color
1 1/3 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350º and spray a 9×13 cake pan with nonstick.
Mix the butter and sugar together on high until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until just mixed. Scrape the bowl down well before adding the cocoa and food color.
In a color safe bowl, using a color safe utensil (like a metal spoon) mix the food color and cocoa powder together to make a paste. This will keep the cocoa from flying out of the bowl when you turn the mixer on. Scrape the blue paste into the bowl and beat on high until the color is even throughout. These will get darker as they bake, but if you don’t think they’re blue enough, add more color at your own discretion.
Mix in the flour and chocolate chips (which are optional, but not really because they make brownies so much better!) until just mixed.
Pour batter into your greased cake pan and bake at 350º for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow brownies to cool completely before frosting. If necessary, pop them into the freezer for 30 minutes to cool more quickly.
The Best Frosting Ever
Very slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
In a small sauce pan, whisk together the milk and flour on low heat until it thickens. Stir consistently so no clumps form.
When the mixture thickens, it will thicken quickly. Remove from heat and keep whisking to keep it smooth. If it does get too thick, add a teaspoon of water and whisk.
Once the consistency of pudding, add the vanilla and stir. Set aside to cool.
The flour and milk mixture MUST BE COMPLETELY COOL before you combine it with the milk and sugar. Usually 30 minutes will do it. You can also stick it in the fridge/freezer for 5 minutes to speed things up. Just make sure to feel the mixture before moving on to the next step.
In the bowl of stand mixer, add the butter and sugar. Beat with the whisk attachment on high for about 5 minutes. Make sure to stop every so often and scrape the sides of the bowl.
When the mixture is light and fluffy, add in the flour/milk/vanilla mixture. Beat on high. Scrape the bowl. Continue beating on high. To get mine to the right consistency, I beat this for about 7 minutes, stopping to scrape every now and then. This is a whipped frosting and everything comes together during the process. If it looks at all like the frosting is separating…that there’s a graininess to the frosting, keep beating. When the frosting is smooth, light and whippy, it’s done.
Top your brownies with the frosting and the red berry of your choice. Enjoy!
Happy 4th everyone, have a fun and safe holiday! 🙂