Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies

I love to bake. Not really a secret. Is baking a spiritual gift? If so, then I think I have it. My true gifting in life.

I don't love to cook. Not really a secret, either. The other day, one of my kids said, "Mom, what would we do without Daddy? All we'd have to eat is chocolate chip cookies." So true, sweet child, so true.

Christmas is the best season of the year for bakers like me. There's always a reason to buy butter in bulk at Costco and to turn on the oven.

At the end of the Christmas season last year, I found this recipe for Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies from the ladies at Our Best Bites. Almost everything about them was amazing. The only problem was, I couldn't get the brownie layer quite right. I've just never been able to make a homemade brownie that tastes better than the mix made by Ghirardelli's.

So this year, I decided to give them another try with a few tweaks of my own, including Ghirardelli's brownie mix.

After taking them to two events this past week, I've had a lot of requests for the recipe. So, without any further ado . . . may I present to you . . .

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies (recipe adapted from Our Best Bites):

2 packages Ghiradelli's Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix (I use two of the pouches from the Costco pack)

Peppermint Frosting:
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 Tbsp milk
pink food coloring

Chocolate Glaze:
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

Candy Topping:
1/2 - 1 cup crushed candy canes

What to Do (layer by layer):

Brownie Layer:
Bake brownies according to package instructions in 9x13 pan. When brownies are completely cool, place in refrigerator to chill.
Peppermint Frosting Layer:
Combine all peppermint frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Spread evenly over chilled brownies and place back in the fridge to chill again while you make chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Glaze Layer:
In microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and butter at 30 second intervals until smooth. Let sit for a few minutes at room temperature, stirring occassionally, to just cool a little bit. Remove brownies from refrigerator. Spread chocolate glaze over the peppermint frosting layer. 
Candy Topping Layer:
Previously I had always taken candy canes in the garage with a mallet to crush them. Usually an ideal job for Marshall. This year, I wised up, and just crushed them in my Cuisinart mini food processor. So. much. easier. and. safer. (But not as much fun if you ask Marshall). Sprinkle crushed candy canes over top of chocolate glaze. Return brownies to refrigerator to allow the chocolate glaze to set. 

Remove brownies from refrigerator a few minutes before you are ready to cut and serve. Also, I have cut and served the brownies without letting the chocolate glaze set in the refrigerator. Totally okay. These brownies will likely be calling your name, and it's hard to wait! Just know it might be a little messier - but equally delicious!

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