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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Peppermint bark brownies

So I recently gave away my (no longer) secret "recipe" for my awesome peppermint bark to you on this blog.  The truth of the matter is that generally speaking, peppermint is not a flavor I'd choose as a favorite (when it comes to gum, I much prefer spearmint; as for candy canes, I like the cherry ones better).  So now that the cats out of the bag, and you know that I generally don't love peppermint, you might be wondering why I am making another peppermint treat this holiday season (the first were these Peppermint Rice Krispie Treats). 

First of all, peppermint is totally festive for this time of year.  Plus, I really do love peppermint bark.  So it should really come as no surprise that I have a few more pepperminty treats to make.  I had a peppermint brownie idea that I came up with and wanted to try (and probably will still make soon), which got me thinking, and I remembered pinning a recipe for peppermint bark brownies last year.  When I found the recipe again, I couldn't get over how amazingly fudgy the brownie layer looked!  I was dying to make them right away but the lack of white chocolate in my apartment that I mentioned in the peppermint rice krispie treat post was still an issue, so I had to hold off.

I thought that these peppermint bark brownies would be a great treat to bring to a Christmas party I was invited to this coming weekend.  First of all, they're easily transportable.  Secondly, they look delicious.  And third of all?  They're super festive looking.  And as an added bonus, I was hoping to test them out before adding them to the box of homemade goodies I give to my doormen with their holiday tips.

Of course the picture from the original blog makes the brownies look perfect.  And despite my spreading the brownies flat in my tin, they didn't look perfectly flat-topped like they did on the original blog.  Therefore, some of the brownie layer peeked through the white chocolate layer on top.  Oh, and the fact that I don't have an 8 x 8" pan and used my regular 9 x 9" pan probably didn't help much.  Had I realized that ahead of time, I might have made a little more of the white chocolate topping to counteract that increased surface area issue.  But what mine lacked in aesthetic perfection they made up for in taste!

Note: sometimes I don't read recipes thoroughly enough.  In this case, I wouldn't have been able to do much about it since I don't own an 8 x 8" pan.  However, had I read the recipe well enough and noted that I needed an 8 x 8" pan, I would've increased the topping mixture so that it better covered my brownies -- I even had 2 oz of leftover white chocolate!  If you end up making yours in a 9 x 9" pan, I'd recommend using 8 oz of white chocolate and 2 Tbsp of shortening.  I may have also baked them for a minute or two less (I ended up baking mine for 22 and a half minutes).  Despite the fact that the recipe said 3-4 candy canes, I used just over 2.  I definitely think that there was no more room on top of the brownies to add any more.

Peppermint Bark Brownies
From Love & Olive Oil



2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons dark or dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract


6 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped -- See above.  If using a 9 x 9" pan, I recommend increasing to 8 oz
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening -- also, as above.  Increase to 2 Tbsp if using a 9 x 9" pan.
3 to 4 candy canes, coarsely chopped or crushed (about 1/2 cup) -- I used just over 2 candy canes

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line the bottom and sides of a 8-by-8-inch pan (I used a 9 x 9" pan simply because that's what I have here) with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on two edges.

Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or a medium-large bowl set over gently simmering water.
Stir until smooth, then remove from heat.
Whisk in sugar and stir until dissolved and mixture has cooled slightly.

Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extract until just combined (do not overmix).
Sprinkle flour mixture over top and fold in to chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until just incorporated.
Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Gently melt white chocolate and shortening together in a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave on low power (white chocolate is very fragile and so you want to be sure you melt it very gently; be patient, rushing is the quickest way to ruin it).
Remove from heat before it is completely melted; the residual heat will be enough to completely melt it.
Pour over brownies, spreading into a thin, even layer.
Sprinkle with candy cane pieces.
Chill until set, at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight (these brownies are at their best and fudgiest when chilled in the refrigerator overnight).

Remove brownies from pan using the edges of the parchment paper to lift the entire block out of the pan.
Using a large sharp knife, cut into 9 squares, then diagonally in half into triangles.
Brownies will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.

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