Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cake of the Week: Peppermint Pattie Brownies

Every 12 months we remember that mint and chocolate together is a glorious combination. It’s a match made in seasonal dessert heaven -- like Santa and Mrs. Claus, George Bailey and Mary Hatch, the Grinch and Cindy Lou, the kid in A Christmas Story and his BB gun (ok maybe not so much that last one).

Sure, the rest of the year I enjoy an occasional box of Junior Mints at a movie, or a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream in the summer. But it’s not until Thanksgiving is over that the mint chocolate things come out in full force and have just one month to make their mark.

In light of this deplorably brief minty chocolate window, I say GO HOME AND MAKE THESE PEPPERMINT PATTIE BROWNIES NOW. (Sorry for the yelling, I just feel very strongly about this.) Sister1 made them for me last time I was home, and I re-created them for A Muppet Christmas Carol viewing party last week.

Actual quotes, testifying to the extreme goodness of these brownies:
  • Mollie, this is the best thing I’ve had in a while. - LLC
  • Ohmygoodddyummmmmmm. Going to get another one. – 6x6
  • Ok you can take some of them to work tomorrow…but please don’t take them all? – SpeedyKate
So without further ado, here’s the recipe. Oh and if you want to make things easier, I fully support the cheater option: make box brownies, then do the peppermint pattie topping and ganache. Also, you can crush up candy canes or peppermints and sprinkle them over the top for an extra minty crunch.

Peppermint Pattie Brownies

Printable recipe.  Adapted from How Sweet It Is.
Yield: 9-12 brownies (1 8x8 pan)
Brownie Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (optional – as in, I was baking late at night and totally forgot to add these…it was fine)
Peppermint Pattie Layer:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons evaporated milk (OR regular milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract 
  • 3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (about 2/3 cups chocolate chips)
  • 2.5 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 baking pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine melted butter with sugar and vanilla extract, whisking until combined and almost smooth. Whisk in each egg one at a time, stirring until a smooth batter forms. Add in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, stirring until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter in the 8x8 baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Remove and let cool completely.
  3. While brownies are cooling, add powdered sugar, butter, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts to the bowl of an electric mixer or in medium-sized bowl. Beat or wisk until smooth and creamy. Pour over completely cooled brownies and spread in an even layer with a spoon or spatula. Place in the refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes.
  4. To make ganache, heat heavy cream until warm (about 30 seconds in the microwave) and pour it over chopped chocolate. Let it sit for about a minute. Stir for a few minutes until totally combined, smooth and creamy. Spread over the top of the peppermint layer and cool to set. 

These brownies are actually best cold, so I suggest refrigerating them until right before serving. To serve, run a sharp knife under hot water (so the ganache doesn't stick to the knife as you're cutting).