We still have a while to go until Christmas. But, you know, today I felt like I needed a detour from all the candy corn and to enjoy a taste of something holly jolly. So hate me if you will for rushing the season, but these brownies are really just too good not to share.
These are no ordinary brownies: they are chunks of chocolate-mint bliss. They start with an extraordinary brownie base, which has a few flavor secrets. For one, I used expensive chocolate: Perugina 70% Bittersweet chocolate is used in this recipe, which gives them a robust flavor from the get-go.
Second, there’s brown sugar is in the batter, which gives the brownies a rich, caramelly flavor boost. Next, there’s not a touch of butter in the recipe. Instead, these brownies rely on extra virgin OLIVE OIL for their soft, almost fudge-like texture. The olive oil also acts as the perfect complement to the mellow brown sugar and makes the chocolate taste extra-rich.
Technically, these brownies would be quite tasty enough as-is, but they get even better with the addition of a creamy peppermint ganache, which employs white chocolate as the base, which is swirled with peppermint extract. And since I don't like to stop halfway, I added a drizzle of confectioners’ sugar glaze and some crushed candy canes for a treat that will undoubtedly overtake visions of sugarplums in many a holiday dream.
So go ahead: take a break from candy for a moment and enjoy a grown-up dessert.
Dense Fudge Peppermint Brownies
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus cooling
Yield: 25 brownies - Printable version here
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- 10.5 ounces (3 bars) 70% Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped coarsely
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 7 ounces (2 bars) good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
To finish (optional)
- ½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons milk or cream
- 1-2 drops red food coloring
- 2-3 crushed candy canes to garnish
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and grease the top of the parchment paper, too. This will help ensure easy removal later. Set the pan to the side for the moment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.
Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate and olive oil in the top of the double boiler, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and olive oil are completely melted and combined.
Remove from heat, and add the granulated and brown sugar. Whisk until combined, and the sugar is completely mixed in.
Add 3 of the eggs, and whisk until no streaks of egg remain. Add the remaining two eggs, once again mixing until no streaks remain. Stir in the vanilla.
Sift the flour mixture into the wet mixture, and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour and cocoa mixture is incorporated. Stir the minimum amount you possibly can, as over-stirring can give brownies an undesirable texture.
Pour the mixture into the pan (it will be rather full) and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 45-50 minutes, rotating at the 25 minute mark. If the edges seem to be browning too rapidly, tent the edges with foil. When you think the brownies are done, test with a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. If the center is still slightly jiggly, that is OK.
Let the brownies cool in the pan, set on a wire rack, until they reach room temperature.
Make the peppermint ganache. Place the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-low heat until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat, stir in the peppermint extract, and pour over the white chocolate. Stir until combined and smooth. Pour over the brownies in the pan.
Place the brownies in the refrigerator until the topping has set. Once set, you can cut the brownies into five rows of five each way, making for a total of 25 brownies.
Make the glaze: combine ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar with 2-3 teaspoons of heavy cream or milk and 1-2 drops of red food coloring. Drizzle over the tops of the brownies, and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
Note: if you like your brownies extra minty, you can substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla called for in the brownie portion of the recipe.