I love Valentine’s Day desserts because most of them include chocolate: chocolate with raspberries, chocolate with strawberries, chocolate with more chocolate. Although berries and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations, I wanted something different this year. I made these red velvet seven layer bars a few weeks ago and they were such a big hit, I knew I had to share them in time for Valentine’s Day! Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of chocolate in these bars, but the pop of red from the red velvet base was too perfect for a red-themed holiday to resist.
In all honesty, I’m not a huge fan of red velvet anything. I’m a chocolate girl at heart and red velvet tends to be underwhelming to me. These bars are definitely an exception. They start off with a thick, cookie-like red velvet base. If you’re unfamiliar with the flavor of red velvet, it is mostly vanilla with a little hint of chocolate. The subtle chocolate flavor is usually what I don’t like about it, but in these bars, it’s the perfect match for all of the sweet, flavorful toppings. Speaking of toppings, these bars are loaded with chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, coconut and pecans along with sweetened condensed milk to keep everything together. As the bars bake, all of those delicious toppings melt together to make a decadent dessert.
Whether you need a dessert for just you and your sweetheart or something to share with a crowd, these red velvet seven layer bars are quick to make, delicious and worth every single bite! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Red Velvet Seven Layer Bars
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (225g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (12g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (225g) granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon (15ml) liquid red food coloring
1 and 1/3 cups (120g) sweetened shredded coconut*
1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (90g) white chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup (130g) chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until combined.
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy.
Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color.
Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Beat in the food coloring until combined.
With the mixer running on low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The red velvet dough will be quite thick and sticky.
Using a rubber spatula, spread dough in an even layer into the prepared baking pan. It’s very sticky, so take your time pushing it to each corner of the pan.
Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave the oven on.
Sprinkle the coconut over the cookie layer, followed by the chocolate chips, then the white chocolate chips. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top. Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake until set and top is lightly golden brown, 25-28 minutes.*
Cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.
1. I think this recipe would have been even better with toasted coconut. If you have the time, here’s how! Preheat oven to 325ºF. Place shredded or flaked coconut evenly on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a parchment paper.Bake on middle rack for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, gently stir the coconut with a spatula. Bake until the coconut is golden brown, about 3–4 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Coconut toasts quickly so make sure to pay attention to it! 2. It’s very difficult to tell when these bars are done. I added a range for the bake time because my bars were just barely done at 25 minutes. If your oven tends to bake slow, I’d recommend baking the bars for slightly longer. 3. Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
One of the things that has been hardest for me to adjust to while living in Okinawa is the inability to get ingredients when I need them. In America, I could go to a grocery store and expect to find everything on my list. If the store didn’t have what I needed, although an inconvenience, I could stop at a different store to get it. In Okinawa, this is not always the case. The on-base grocery store, called a commissary, carries most American products that you could want, but not many specialty ingredients. Sometimes, I can find the items at off-base grocery stores, but due to cultural differences with food and the fact that we are 5,000 miles away from America, this is not always the case. The commissary, and every on-base store, commonly runs out of things (the running joke is that they will never have something in stock when you actually need it) so it is common to see Facebook posts asking where people have found certain ingredients off-base.