It’s less than two weeks until Christmas and I have the big total of 1 gift so far. Yeah, I’m doing great on my gift shopping… What about you; how many gifts do you have?
It is also that time where I am now doing some planning in my head on what desserts – Christmas in my mind at this house mainly revolves around dessert. Thanksgiving: dinner, Christmas: DESSERT, that’s the way it pretty much works for me – and these brownies are definitely going to be on the sweet table (along with an assortment of cookies and a cheesecake…).
I must say that I tried making these with some Peppermint Pretzel Slims from Trader Joe’s (those things are addicting!!) but it didn’t quite work out – one couldn’t taste them enough to make it worth the addition. But that’s okay because these are quite good in their original fudgy form. Just add some peppermint marshmallow ganache and we’re good to go!
- 1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter;
- 2 1/2 C. granulated sugar;
- 1 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder;
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt (table salt would be fine too);
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract;
- 4 eggs;
- 2/3 C. all-purpose flour (see note below);
- *See note below on an (optional) possible addition!*.
Peppermint Marshmallow Ganache
- 2 C. semi sweet chocolate chips;
- 1 C. heavy cream;
- 1 C. miniature marshmallows;
- 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract;
- Peppermint bits (such as Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips) or crushed candy canes for garnish.
- Preheat oven to 325° f.
- Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil (be sure to leave a bit of an overhang for easy lifting) and spray with cooking spray. *See note below*
- In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Pour butter in a steady stream into sugar/cocoa mixture, whisking to blend.
- Add in vanilla.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition.
- Add flour and stir just until combined – I would use a spatula for this. *See note below (only if you want to add the optional addition of peppermint bits :)*
- Pour batter into prepared dish and spread evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs when inserted. *See note below!*
- Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let brownies cool completely before adding ganache.
- While brownies are cooling, make ganache. (depending on how cool/warm your house is, I would give the brownies a 30 minute head start on cooling before proceeding to make the ganache. After about 1 1/2 hours when my ganache was ready, the brownies were still slightly warm(!) thus melting the ganache)
For the ganache
- In a medium/large bowl, place chocolate chips.
- Add marshmallows and heavy cream to a medium sized saucepan and place over medium low heat.
- Whisk frequently until marshmallows are completely melted.
- Pour marshmallow/cream mixture over chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, stir until completely combined and smooth. *See note below.*
- Add in peppermint extract and stir to combine.
- Place bowl in fridge and chill ganache for 90 minutes, giving a stir every 30 minutes.
- Once brownies are completely cool, carefully remove (using overhangs) from pan.
- Once ganache is ready (it will be pretty thick) spread evenly onto room temperature brownies.
- Top with peppermint bits or crushed candy canes… or both!!
- If you would like, try adding some peppermint bits (I would use the Andes Peppermint Baking Chips for this) – perhaps 3/4 C. – to the brownie batter. Do this after you have you have added and combined the flour into the batter.
- Regarding greasing the dish: I just read in a magazine where it said that they buttered and floured their pan for brownies. Doing this made the brownies come out very easily and provided nice cuts. One might could also use some baking spray. Regardless of which you use, if you try this let me know how they turn out!
- Around 30 minutes (I don’t remember the exact time) my brownies were beginning to smell done. Even though the toothpick was coming out with a tiny bit of batter, I removed them anyway – they turned out perfectly! So, I would recommend you do the same if you are having the same issue; it’s better to have fudgy (sometimes even underdone) brownies than burnt ones, IMO!
- Regarding ganache: If after you stir marshmallow/cream mixture and chocolate chips together, the chocolate chips won’t melt completely (remember to stir well first) place the bowl (if it’s microwave safe) in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds in 15 second intervals at a power level of 50. This should be enough to do the job.