Brown, Blond or Red?

No, we haven’t gone into the hair care business! This is a question of cake!

Brownies have always been popular and tend to be the first choice because of the universal love of chocolate. In recent years, red velvet cakes have gained popularity and it wasn’t long before red velvet brownie recipes began to appear in food publications.

Blondies, the light-colored cousin, continue to be the base for experimental flavors since they don’t contain chocolate to overwhelm other flavors. We printed a lotus cookie butter version a few weeks ago that was absolutely delicious!

Try all three and choose your favorite.

Red Velvet Brownies

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla, divided

1 teaspoon vinegar

2 tablespoons red food coloring

2 sticks margarine, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with baking spray with flour.

In a small bowl, mix cocoa powder, food coloring and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla to form a paste. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then add second teaspoon of vanilla and vinegar. With mixer on medium, beat in cocoa paste. Add flour and mix just until combined.

Spread in pan. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool before cutting.

If you like, drizzle the brownies with white chocolate. Melt 6 ounces parve white chocolate and pour into a piping bag or squeeze bottle. Drizzle over brownies.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Bars

1 1/3 cups vegetable shortening

3 cups light brown sugar, not brownulated

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs

3 cups flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 cups mini chocolate chips, approximately 16 ounces

6 ounces baking chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a 12-inch x18-inch sheet pan.

Beat shortening, brown sugar, water and vanilla in your mixer until well blended. Add eggs and combine. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients, mixing just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared pan using an offset spatula. If the batter sticks to the spatula, wet it with hot water to make it easier to spread the batter. Bake 30–35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Do not over-bake or the bars will be crumbly and dry. Cool for 10 minutes and cut into bars. Cut the brownies in half down the length of the pan. Cut each half in half again down the length of the pan. Cut each of the 4 strips into 1” bars. Place bars on a cooling rack or foil sheets.

Melt baking chocolate in a double boiler or microwave and place the melted chocolate into a parchment cone piping bag or disposable plastic piping bag. Snip off the bottom of the bag or cone. Drizzle bars diagonally with chocolate. Allow to cool and dry completely. Store airtight.

Coconut Blondies

1 cup canola oil

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups pecans (6 ounces), toasted and cooled

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in the middle. Grease and flour a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper or foil.

Beat oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time until mixture is glossy and smooth.

Stir in flour and baking soda. Stir in pecans and 1 1/2 cups coconut.

Spread in prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Bake until a pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.