by Erin

Move over brownies and blondies, these redheads are here to spice things up! With cinnamon, cayenne, and red food coloring to make them memorable.

Redheads 2

With brownies acting as the brunettes of the bar-desserts and blondies as the blondes, where does that leave the red heads? I’ve seen ginger flavored versions of blondies and while they do capture one of the nicknames for such a hair color, they don’t do the color justice. Then a redheaded friend sent me this recipe, and while cayenne in my sweets is not my first choice I still had to try it. Mexican brownies are good so why not?

Redheads 1

The addition of food coloring and red hot candies on top will definitely make them stand out, just like your favorite redhead in your life. I actually wish I had only added 1/2-1 teaspoon of food coloring instead of the full tablespoon because they turned out to look like neon red velvet bars. Red velvet with a kick! I actually labeled them as “NOT red velvet” when I brought them into work, but what should they be called? Redheads? Redhead bars? Redheadies?

Redheads 3

One year ago: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

Four years ago: Funfetti Cheesecake Pudding Dump Cake


Makes 16 bars



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp (or less) red food coloring (optional)

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)


Mixture of sugar, cinnamon and a little cayenne pepper

Red Hots candies


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan, or line with parchment/foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne together. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-low heat and simmer until light brown and faintly nutty in aroma, about 7 min. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir both sugars into melted butter. Let cool for a few minutes.
  5. Stir egg, yolk, vanilla and food coloring into butter/sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  6. Stir dry ingredients into wet mixture in 3 parts, folding each addition in until almost completely incorporated. Stir in nuts (if using).
  7. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, cut, garnish with whipped cream and candies, and serve.

Source: Creative Loafing, originally adapted from The Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition.

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Elizabeth @ April 9, 2015 - 1:04 am

Redheads are the cutest name! The name alone makes me want to make them stat.

Megan - The Emotional Baker April 8, 2015 - 7:21 am

These are genius! Now I know what to do with my extra red hots!

spiffycookie April 8, 2015 - 8:58 am

You could definitely chop them up and throw them in there too!

Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg April 8, 2015 - 6:56 am

I’ve never seen anything like these. I think I might have to taste them very soon. :)

spiffycookie April 8, 2015 - 8:59 am

They are definitely different that’s for sure, but a good kind of different.

CakeSpy April 7, 2015 - 7:03 pm

YES! A little food coloring livens things up. I saw these on instagram and the recipe lives up to my fantasy! Yum!!

spiffycookie April 8, 2015 - 8:59 am

I know! They are electric red!

Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake April 7, 2015 - 3:11 pm

Love the name, so cute! These look like such a fun dessert!

Medha @ Whisk & Shout April 7, 2015 - 1:37 pm

Love the red hots on top and the cute name! Such adorable bars :)

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust April 7, 2015 - 1:13 pm

Haha I love the name redheads. Perfect!

zainab April 7, 2015 - 12:16 pm

Wow wow! The vibrant color makes me happy!!


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