Fourth of July recipe: Red velvet flag brownies

Celebrate Fourth of July with these festive and fun flag brownies. Red velvet serves as the base and a creamy frosting provides the perfect combination for red, white, and blue!

By , The Pastry Chef's Baking

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    Fourth of July red velvet brownies with white frosting make the perfect bite-sized flag brownies. Use mini M&Ms to make the stars and stripes for the Fourth of July.
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These flag brownies will make a great addition to a Fourth of July party.

I don't pay much attention to M&Ms since I don't really eat them unless they're in a cookie.  But I've been marginally aware that there seems to be an explosion of them on the shelves in all sorts of flavors: dark chocolate, white chocolate, mint, peanut butter, almond, coconut, pretzel, and who knows what else besides the ubiquitous plain and peanut. 

I'm also aware that they put out specially colored ones around certain holidays: pastels for Easter, black and orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, browns and oranges for the "autumn mix."  So I thought for sure I'd find red, white, and blue ones. Wrong.

Recommended: 10 red, white, and blue desserts

So I improvised. I already knew I wanted to make these red velvet brownies again because they're delicious. And, fortunately, the white chocolate frosting provides a nice background color for the flag background. In a regular bag of plain M&Ms, the red was already the right color. The blue was not since it leans more toward teal than the dark blue of the American flag, but they will have to suffice. Mini M&Ms are best for small brownie flags.

I advise designing with your M&Ms on a piece of parchment first before you start dropping them onto the frosted brownie, just to make sure you know how you want your flag to look. The fun part of this exercise for me was that it forced me to really look at the flag and know which color stripe was on top, which is just below the blue portion, and which was on the bottom.  My first attempt was a little sketchy so I had to try a second one for a slight improvement. For the rest of the pan, I used red, white, and blue sprinkles and was able to cut them smaller since it didn't matter how many sprinkles are on each one. You get the idea. 

If you make them ahead of time, cover the brownies tightly with plastic wrap to keep the cut edges from drying out.

Red velvet flag brownies

From That Skinny Chick Can Bake

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons red food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8- x 8-inch pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

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

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

4. Spread in pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool before frosting.

White frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature

2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

1/2 tablespoon milk

1. Cream butter with mixer till fluffy. Add vanilla.

2. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, then white chocolate. Add enough milk to reach desired consistency. Ice cooled brownies or pipe a star of icing on individual brownies

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