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College-Budget Cuisine: Guilt Free “Red Velvet” Brownies

Posted by Alex Pearlman  May 10, 2012 04:33 PM

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DSC_1370.JPGBy Kimberly Karter

With Mother’s Day, grad parties, summer barbeques and picnics on the horizon, take the opportunity to impress your friends and family with a delicious dish. (After all, you won’t want to show up to these gatherings empty-handed!)  

Forget the typical pasta salad or veggie platter; this time, we’re bringing dessert. Not to worry though, these satisfying fudgy brownies are guilt-free because they’re made with a secret ingredient – beets!

While you can go ahead and use canned beets in this recipe, I’d recommend starting with raw ones and cooking them yourself – especially since they are in season this time of year.  Don’t be intimidated, cooking beets is super simple.  Wash them up, roast them in a covered baking dish with a bit of water at 425 degrees until tender (about 45-50 minutes), peel, and puree.  Now you’re ready to bake brownies!

These brownies are chocolaty and dense, which is offset by the fruitiness – almost a raspberry-type essence – of the beets.  The beets also add moisture, which helps to cut back on the amount of butter in the brownies.  To up the ante, a thin layer of cream cheese frosting turns these red-tinted beet brownies to red velvet brownies.

Get baking! And don’t forget the beets!

“Red Velvet” Beet Brownies



2 oz. baking chocolate (100% cocoa)

2 oz. unsalted butter

3 large eggs, at room temp.

1 ¼ C. granulated sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ C. Dutch process cocoa

¼ C. all purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. kosher salt

9 oz. beets, roasted and pureed (~ ¾ C. beet puree)


6 oz. cream cheese (I used Neufchatel), at room temp.

2 oz. unsalted butter, at room temp.

1/3 C. powdered sugar, sifted

½ tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8x8 metal baking pan and line with parchment. Set aside.

In a heat proof bowl, put baking chocolate and butter. Set over simmering water (double-boiler set up) and stir until just melted. Remove from heat and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together (do not beat!) eggs and sugar. Add in vanilla extract. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture. Set aside.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix into chocolate mixture until just combined. Gently mix in beat puree. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Rap the pan against the side of the oven rack a few times, turn the pan 180 degrees, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until set (cake tester should come out clean). Cool on a wire rack.

Prepare the frosting: Beat together cream cheese and butter with a hand-mixer until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add in powdered sugar and beat an additional 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Finish with vanilla extract and beat until combined. Once brownies are cooled, generously spread on frosting.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Slice into 9 generous squares and serve.

Note: You can omit the refrigerating step.  Straight out of the oven and just cooled on a wire rack, the brownies are a bit more cake-like.  After being put in the fridge, they become more fudgey.

Photos by Kimberly Karter

About Kimberly -- I am a self-proclaimed foodie who loves to cook and eat. In 2010, I combined my passion for culinary arts with writing and founded 'The Moonlight Baker' food blog. Ever since, I've been baking up a storm, photographing countless cakes and cookies, and indulging in way too many sweets. Let's tweet --@bakebymoonlight!

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