Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peppermint Brownies


I love when the weather starts getting cooler. It reminds me of hanging out with my family around the holiday season and celebrating my dad's birthday (he is a Christmas Eve baby). Another great thing is that Trader Joe's starts selling their seasonal Candy Cane Joe Joe's!  What is a Candy Cane Joe Joe, you ask?  It's basically a sandwich cookie (like an Oreo) except the cream filling has bits of crushed candy cane thrown in!  I could probably eat the whole box in one sitting...

I found this fabulous recipe from Beantown Baker a few seasons ago and have made these multiple times.  I always set out to Trader Joe's to buy the cookies just so I can make these brownies!  The brownie layer is the recipe from King Arthur Flour, and it's my favorite homemade brownie to date.  And the peppermint Joe Joe mix-in is just genius!

You can always create a much simpler glaze if you don't want to go extra fancy.  Simply mix some powdered sugar (about a cup) with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Add a splash of peppermint extract, and you're done!  If the mixture is too lumpy, add more water.  If it's too liquidy, add more powdered sugar. The drizzle that I made on the brownies above is 2 ounces of melted white chocolate with about 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract.

Enjoy these perfect bites of chocolate and peppermint!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa (I use Hershey's special dark)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, optional
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ~25 peppermint sandwich cookies, such as Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe's, cut into chunks
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just until it's hot, but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, if you've heated it in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, peppermint, and vanilla.

Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and cookie chunks. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool completely prior to cutting.

    White and Bittersweet Chocolate Peppermint Ganache
    • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
    • 3 oz white chocolate
    • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
    • 6 Tbsp heavy cream
    Directions
    Break white chocolate into chunks and place in a bowl. Break bittersweet chocolate into chunks and place in another bowl.

    Bring heavy cream and peppermint to a boil.

    Pour half of the cream over the white chocolate and half over the bittersweet chocolate. Let set for a minute then whisk each until smooth.
      Source: Beantown Baker

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