Minty, Merry, and Bright

I love peppermint. When I was younger I would eat the round red and white candies by the HEB (Texas grocery store) -brand bagful. When I was in my middle school CCD class at St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, I remember my teacher was offering our choice of full-sized candy bars for every paragraph of the Nicene Creed that we memorized and said in front of the class. At the beginning of the year when she asked me what I wanted, after everyone else made requests for snickers, twix, and reese’s, I announced peppermints – and by the end of the school year, I walked away with five bags of those suckers.

Peppermint Brownies Andes

So peppermint is one of my favorite things to cook with, especially around the holidays. I brought these Chocolate Peppermint Brownies along with a Eggnog Cranberry Bundt Cake to my future sister-in-law’s Cape Cod friends holiday party and they were a big hit. I even saw my fiancé’s brother, who is not a sweets person, sneak one when he didn’t think anyone was looking (shhhh). They’re more fudgy than cakey, have a gooey chocolate ganache on top, and with the andes mints in the batter and the peppermint on top, they are also crispy and crunchy — they’re right up my alley!

Peppermint Brownies Pan

Ingredients:
Brownies
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Andes mint chips
Ganache and Topping
4 oz. dark chocolate
¼ cup heavy cream
Crushed candy canes
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line with parchment and lightly grease an 8×8” baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

Put the chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and repeat until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Add the sugars and whisk until completely combined. The mixture should be room temperature before adding the eggs.

Add the 2 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate and then fold in the Andes mint chips. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies completely.

Heat the heavy cream for 30 seconds in the microwave until bubbling. Add the dark chocolate and let sit for 1 minute before stirring until smooth. Spread evenly over the cooled brownies and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until the ganache is set before cutting into 16 equal squares with a very sharp knife.

Yield: 16 brownies

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