"Meal Plan Monday" was missing yesterday for one reason: frozen Brussels sprouts.
You see, it all started when the grocery store was out of Brussels sprouts. Completely out. I was planning on making what I imagined would be a glorious dish of Brussels sprouts, maple sausage, and craisins served over barley for dinner last Monday, but the grocery store simply didn't have any when I went.
Normally by the time I get to the grocery store on Monday, I just can't wait for the quick-and-easy meal that I've planned, but I had no easy back-up plan when I realized there simply weren't any fresh Brussels sprouts to be found. Surely frozen ones would make a quick-and-easy substitute?
The answer: absolutely not. I couldn't even stomach swallowing one bite of them once I'd prepared them. No wonder why they have a terrible reputation!
The rest of the meals worked out just fine--Tuesday was grilled salmon with a salad, Wednesday was double bean quesadillas, and Valentine's day was steak with baked sweet potatoes--but, by the time dinner rolled around each night, I was so hungry that I convinced myself that the frozen Brussels sprouts ruined the whole week's meal plan for photography and posting anyway.
Fortunately, though, I also made these brownies twice last week: once for friends for Valentine's day and once over the weekend for visiting family. The addition of the buttermilk gives them that traditional red velvet flavor that I feel like most "red velvet brownie" recipes lack, and they are very fudgy, especially if you "under-bake" them just a little (see the recipe for details).
Adapted from The Newlyweds Blog.
for the brownies
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons buttermilk
red gel food dye (optional)
for the frosting
½ stick butter, softened (¼ cup)
½ (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ to 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, white sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy.
- Slowly beat in the eggs and then the vanilla extract.
- Add in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, and beat until smooth.
- Slowly incorporate the buttermilk.
- Add gel food dye until you achieve the desired redness. Mine is a very subtle red (in the pictures, you can hardly even see any red) because I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa powder, which is very dark, in the batter.
- Using an offset spatula, spread brownie mixture evenly in a greased 8-inch-by-8-inch glass baking dish.
- Bake brownies at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the brownies look set and a cake tester comes out relatively clean.
- Let brownies cool before frosting. You can speed up the cooling process by sticking them in the freezer for a bit.
- To make the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and then slowly beat in the powdered sugar until a nice, fluffy, and spreadable icing has formed: start with 1 ½ cups powdered sugar and continue to add it by the spoonful after that until the frosting has reached the desirable consistency.
- For the prettiest brownies, slice the brownies first and then spread the cream cheese frosting on. If you want, you can use a cookie cutter to cut them into shapes (I cut mine into hearts for Valentine's Day).
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving.