Oh heavens to Betsy…
What have I done?!! I made these Red Velvet Oreo Fudge Brownies over the weekend and they are all I’ve been thinking about since. Seriously, it’s ALL I’ve been thinking about. I know this may come as a surprise to many of you, but I HATE red velvet. And guess what? I’ve never even TASTED red velvet anything. Pinky swear. So how can I hate something I’ve never tried? It’s the thought of swallowing down all of that red dye and having it soak into my bloodstream that makes me cringe. Okay, it’s red. It goes nicely with the color of blood (sorry for the visual guys), but still. It makes/made me cringe.
These brownies, however, looked so amazing and so I caved, made them, and tasted the brownie Oreo. They stole my heart. I finally fell in love with Red Velvet. And now I’m obsessed with red velvet (not depressed–they are two very different words–but I’m sure I will be depressed after I gobble down this whole pan of amazing red velvet Oreo brownies!).
This recipe is inspired by Pizzazzerie.com, but I changed the recipe to make it healthier (can amazing brownies with chocolate, Oreos,and cream cheese, REALLY be healthy? Ha!). Remember my sheet on Healthy Baking Substitutes? Ya, that one. Well, I substituted applesauce for the butter, plain Greek yogurt for the oil, and low-fat Cream Cheese in this recipe. I’m sure by doing this, I cut down the fat substantially! You know what I’m saying?
When you make the red velvet batter, it will be THICK. I mean, mega thick. I’m talking almost play dough thick. No worries. That’s normal. You know I’m a parchment freak–because I hate scrubbing out hardened foods from pans–so I layered my pan with parchment. I spread the brownie batter around to the best of my ability and then when I got everything to touch the sides of the pan, I used a slightly oiled back of a spoon to complete the spreading. Looks nice, huh?
I was completely amazed at how nice my brownies puffed! I’ll share with you one trick I learned when I lived in Europe…I was told when making a cake or brownies you always separate the yolk from the whites. Add the yolk to the batter, but beat the whites separately until they are fluffy and stiff and fold them into the batter. They claim it makes for a lovelier, puffy cake. I don’t know if all Austrians do this, but I’ve always done this since I was taught this trick by some dear, sweet Austrians. I don’t know if it makes a difference, but do I take the chance?
Let the red velvet brownies cool completely. You can speed up that process by putting them in the fridge. I have a hard time waiting for good things. I’m a “give it to me now” kind of person so I put them in the fridge to cool quicker.
While your brownies are cooling, crush your Oreos. You can do this in a food processor or put them in a large baggy, seal the bag (but leave a slight opening to let the air out as you crush them or you’ll pop your bag), and using a rolling pin, crush the Oreos until they are completely crumbled, then mix together with the softened cream cheese to form a “truffle” type of center. Yum!
Spoon dollops of the Oreo mixture across the surface of the red velvet brownies and gently spread the mixture.
Next, you’re going to melt yourself some chocolate and pour and spread it over the top of the Oreos; garnishing with some mini chocolate chips! Let cool completely in the fridge before serving.
Can you say heaven? You may need to unbuckle your belt or put on some stretchy pants for this one. Totally worth it, though!
- 1 Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix
- 1 package (3.3 ounces) Jell-O instant white chocolate pudding mix
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 package (13.3 ounces) Oreo cookies
- 12 ounces low-fat cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon butter or shortening
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips to garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray. I’m a parchment freak. It’s easier clean up, but if you don’t have parchment on hand, just spray the pan with a light coating of cooking spray.
- Stir together the cake mix, pudding mix, applesauce, yogurt and egg yolks.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high until they form a stiff peak. Fold into the batter. Beat the batter on medium speed until smooth. The batter will be extremely thick. This is normal. Spread the batter the best to your ability in the prepared baking dish. Using the back of a spoon that is lightly oiled to complete the spread and smooth out.
- Bake for 35-38 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Check the brownies after about 20-25 minutes. Altitude and ovens bake differently and you may need to adjust the time.
- Remove from oven and let slightly cool on a baking rack and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, put the Oreo cookies in a large Ziploc bag and seal; making sure to leave a slight opening in the bag to allow the air to release as you are crushing the Oreos. Using a rolling-pin, crush the Oreos into crumbs and pour into a small bowl. You can also use a food processor for this step.
- Stir together the Oreo crumbs and softened cream cheese until well combined. Spoon dollops of the Oreo mixture across the surface of the red velvet brownies and gently spread the mixture.
- Place the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and top with butter or shortening. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir. Repeat for 30 more seconds or until the chocolate has melted. Stir until completely smooth. Pour and spread over the top of the Oreo mixture and garnish with mini chocolate chips while the chocolate is still warm.
- Place in the refrigerator to cool completely before cutting into bars and serving.
Recipe inspired by Pizzazzerie.com