Monday, March 14, 2011

Red Velvet Heaven and Other Weekend Recipes

I love Red Velvet anything!  Red Velvet cake, cupcakes, cookies, woopi pies, ice cream, yogurt and NOW...Red Velvet Brownies! Yes, you heard it velvet brownies.  My dear friend Sara loves to try new recipes and knowing how much I love anything Red Velvet, called me last Thursday night to tell me to eat a light breakfast the next morning because she was bringing me a treat.  She was busy baking some brownies as a thank you for another friend but knowing how I love Red Velvet, she shared with me.....which is exactly why my "thanks for the brownie" email back to her had "Shame on you!" as the subject line!  It was to die for.  It can only be described as Red Velvet Heaven!  Of course I had to have the recipe and I couldn't wait to bake a batch first thing Saturday morning.  These brownies are to die for, honestly.  I love Red Velvet cake but I'm thinking this is even better!  I love the consistency of a dense chewy brownie and when it tastes like Red's pure heaven!  I think she got this recipe from another blog, but who's in my recipe book now!  Oh, and did I mention the icing is white chocolate buttercream...your mouth is watering, isn't it?  I do have a small confession to make...I ate 3 brownies in one day!  I couldn't help myself...but, my justification is 1) I only ate 1/2 brownie at a time (that means 6 trips to the kitchen...not good) and....2) I cut them all from the skinny row!  You know what happens when you cut the brownies in the pan and your last row ends up either fatter or skinnier than the rest...well, I ate the skinny row!  This morning I packed up all that was left so the Lunch Bunch Girls could have a taste...even though Sara is in the group, I wanted her to compare her version with mine...because you see, I have a pet peeve about Red Velvet.  To be a true southern Red Velvet anything, it has to have cocoa, almond flavoring, and red food coloring in the batter.  Her recipe only had vanilla so I substituted 1 tsp of the vanilla with 1 tsp. of almond extract.  The next thing is this...a true southern Red Velevet Cake does not have cream cheese icing.  It has a whipped vanilla butter cream icing.  This recipe was perfect because the icing is a white chocolate buttercream...I know...your mouth is watering again, isn't it?  Well, I just can't finish this post without sharing the recipe so here it is, in all it's glory.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do...then you'll know why I told Sara...."Shame on you!"  Now, my goal this week...get out the old running shoes and get back on track of my daily 2.5 mile run...I'm gonna need it!

Red Velvet Brownies

1/2 cup butter, at room termperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract - I used 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. almond
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional) - I left these out

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Butter and flour an 8 x 8 cake pan

In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 1 tsp. vanilla to create a paste.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, then add remaining teaspoon of flavoring (either vanilla or almond).  With the mixer on medium speed, add in the cocoa powder mixture.  Beat until batter is completely red. (If at this time your batter is NOT red, you can add a little more food coloring if desired.  color will depend on brand)
Add flour and salt, mixing until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips if you are using them.
Spread in the 8 x 8 pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted
1/2 tablespoons milk (or more if needed)

Cream butter in an electric mixer until fluffy, then add vanilla.  Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low speed.  Add in melted white chocolate and beat until incorporated.  To reach desired consistency, add in milk 1 tsp at a time with mixer on low speed.  if frosting becomes too liquidy, simply add additional sugar. 

Now wouldn't these make great little brownie bites in mini muffin cups...and use a big star tip to squirt each one with a dolop of icing!  :)

Last week I decided I wanted to do something special for the girls on my hall.  They are all such wonderful, hard working teachers and needed a little boost.  There are 5 classrooms in all and we barely get a minute to say, "Hi!", muchless carry on a conversation.  So, I invited them all to my room this morning for a little quick breakfast and a time to chat.  Nothing fancy and it was definitely only for a few minutes.  Of course, you might know this was the morning I didn't hear my second alarm so I came flying in trying to get everything set up and the coffee on before they arrived.  I made a really good Grits Casserole that is a favorite at my house.  Come to think of it...anything with grits is a hit at my house!  This is an easy, quick recipe that I have used for Christmas morning breakfast, brunches, week night suppers,  and it makes a great early morning tailgate  dish.  I served this with mini blueberry muffins, mixed fresh fruit and OJ or coffee.  I think we all got a really good start for our 4 day week!!

Grits Casserole

1 cup quick cook grits
4 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 lb. Jimmy Dean HOT bulk sausage
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook 1 cup quick cook grits in 4 cups water.  Season with salt to taste.

In a large skillet, brown sausage and about half way through the browning process add your chopped veggies.  Cook until veggies are tender (you may want to add a lid to help cooking process) and transfer this mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Spread evenly over the bottom.  Next, poor grits over the sausage with evenly spread chicken soup and finally top with grated cheddar cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

If you like Shrimp and Grits try this!!
My favorite option on this recipe is to add shrimp to the sausage mixture.  While the sausage is browning add 3/4 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp.  Shrimp will turn pink and gently curl when they are done...don't over cook though...there's nothin' worse that and over cooked shrimp!  Continue with the rest of the recipe directions.

I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of this dish...I was just in such a hurry to get everything set up and then we had to eat before the chillin' got here, but I'll take one next time I serve up this dish!  Hope ya'll enjoy and have a wonderful week!



  1. Yum Yum Yum! Thank you so much for sharing the grits casserole recipe! I can't wait to try it! We love grits! Also I have tried these red velvet brownies and they are delicious!!!

  2. I've never had shrimp and grits let alone just grits. I think I've been missing a lot! :)