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red velvet cream cheese swirl brownies

I hate to be a downer, but I’m really not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take any reason to eat copious amounts of chocolate.  Those Sweet Tart conversation hearts are pretty good too.  But the cliche fancy dinners, flowers, and teddy bears I could live without.  Take last Valentine’s Day for example.  A few days ago Marc asked if I remembered what he got me for Valentine’s Day last year.  My mind was blank.  Usually when I can’t think of an answer right away I’ll stall for a few seconds until it comes to me.  So I answered “Of course I remember!”  Really, I couldn’t remember a thing about Valentine’s Day last year.  Nothing.  Blank.  After a few seconds Marc caught on and I was busted.  “You don’t remember!”  Uh oh.  “I sent you roses because I was gone!”  Oh yeah.  I remember now.  

What I dread the most is having to pick out a present for him.  I know Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about expressing your love but come on, the guys have it so much easier.  They can get some flowers and a box of chocolates, slap their name on a cheesy card and call it good.  I can’t get Marc flowers because you don’t get men flowers.  I can’t get him chocolate because I’d end up eating it all which would just be rude.  I feel like baking isn’t anything special since I bake 3 times a week all year round.  Now for the past week Marc has been talking up his Valentine’s present for me, saying it’s “the best present ever.”  This is stressing me out even more because now I have to think of a great present for him.  Stupid Valentine’s Day.

What do I do when I’m stressed?  I bake.  In an attempt to get in the Valentine’s Day “spirit” the way I know best (chocolate and sugar), I made these festive red velvet brownies.  You can’t have red velvet without cream cheese, so there’s a nice little cream cheese swirl in there too.  They’re everything I love about red velvet cake in an easy to make, delicious brownie.  Perfect for your Valentine!  

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
adapted from Food Network’s Sunny Anderson 

Brownie layer:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cream cheese layer:
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 8×8″ baking dish with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray.  

In medium bowl, combine melted butter with sugar and mix well.  Add vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar in that order, mixing between additions.  

Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each.  Fold in the flour.  Pour all batter except 1/4 cup into prepared baking pan.  

To make the cream cheese layer, blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Spread the cream cheese on top of brownie batter.  Drop dollops of remaining brownie batter over cream cheese layer and using a knife, swirl through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern.  

Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.  Enjoy!

This was shared at Crumbs and Chaos’ Seasonal Inspirations!

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  1. These would make anyone’s Valentine’s memorable. How sweet yours gave you roses last year. I’m not the biggest Valentine’s fan but I agree with loving the chocolates!

  2. That’s hysterical and I totally agree that men are harder to shop for. My boyfriends birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas so I have the hardest time coming up with 2 great presents in such a short amount of time! Give me some fun stuff for the kitchen and I am good to go! Girls are way easier!

  3. i’m with ya on the Valentine’s Day thing. stupid. but…these brownies are a whole different story. is it wrong that i want one for breakfast? 🙂

  4. Add me to the list of the red velvet crazed. These brownies are a great twist on the classic. Thanks for posting.

  5. Red Velvet brownies! What a great idea. Will have to make these this weekend for our “best Valentine’s celebration ever”. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  6. I made these this week too! They were a big hit at work; I had to share so I wouldn’t eat the whole pan myself. I love how beautiful they are besides being absolutely delicious!

  7. What gets me most are the completely mushy, gushy cards. I have the hardest time finding the right card, let alone finding the right gift. I would definitely prefer giving or getting your yummy red velvet brownies. These look awesome! 😉

  8. I don’t know what it is about red velvet that is so appealing to me but I just love it. These look soo delicious. Adding this to my recipe box for sure.