Introduction: Peppermint Brownies
My sister and I love chocolate and peppermint, and we love baking. It started with some brownies, and creme de menthe. Then we just kept adding as many peppermint-y things as we could. Usually I make these brownies with a Betty Crocker brownie box or two, but this time I figured I'd try my hand at a real from-scratch recipe.
Step 1: Gather ALL the Things!
Brownie Batter Things:
1.5 lbs Dark Baking Chocolate
1 lb Butter
1 tsp Salt
2 lbs Sugar
1/8 cup Vanilla Extract
1/8 cup Creme de Menthe
8 oz Flour
1 Bag York Peppermint Patties (must be York!)
2 Bags Peppermint Candies (the red and white ones)
2 Tubs of Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Frosting (or Vanilla)
Step 2: Melting Pot
Set up a double-boiler, if you can. A metal pot or bowl over another pot with boiling water. Use the double-boiler to melt the butter and the baking chocolate.
Don't forget to stir it up!
Step 3: Alkyhauls
When the chocolate and butter are all melt-y and gooey, remove it from the heat.
Slowly stir in the vanilla extract and creme de menthe.
Step 4: Mix Mix Mix Mix
While the chocolate is melting, put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl! Mix it slowly, but don't overmix! Just enough to muddle things.
Then, slowly pour the melted chocolate mixed with extracts into the bowl with the eggs and sugar. Not too fast, or the eggs will scramble! Stir slowwwwwly.
Carefully add and stir in the flour and salt. Again, very slowly. Mix mix mix it all up!
Step 5: Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Baker's Man!
Take your baking pans, and spray them with cooking spray like your life depends on it. Pour the brownie batter into the pans.
Unwrap all of your York peppermint patties, and cut them into quarters. Like a fine mosaic, place the pieces of York patties into the brownie pans and gently tuck them into the batter, ready for a warm nap.
Put your pans in the oven, set it to 320 degrees, and let it bake for about 30 min. Check on it, and let it cook longer if needed. Sometimes the amount of extract, alcohol, and peppermint patties can slow down the baking time.
Step 6: Frosty the Snow MAAAAN
Once your brownies have come out of the oven, fully baked, let them cool off. This is key. The brownies need to be cooled before you can add the frosting.
I'm still experimenting with frosting. So far, I'm favoring the Cream Cheese frosting from Betty Crocker. My next experiment will be adding some Creme de Menthe directly to the frosting and stirring it in before frosting the brownies.
Whatever you decide, frost the brownies. I always use a white frosting, because it's like snow and it looks better with the peppermint. So... Vanilla, Fluffy White, or Cream Cheese.
Remember those peppermint candies you have? You need to unwrap them all and crush those into a medium fine powder. This is also where I have experimented different methods.
For a long time, I would put the peppermint candies into a ziploc bag, sometimes double bag, and hammer them over concrete or the countertop. The problem with this way: the candy gets sharp and ends up cutting the bag open in several spots. I have tried grinding them in a coffee bean grinder. It works fairly well, the only problem is the candy powder sticks to the grinder and is impossible to clean.
For this instructable, I splurged on myself and got a small mortar and pestle. A little archaic, but I've always wanted an excuse to buy one.
Crush the candies. Grind them good. Then sprinkle them in a fancy layer over the frosting, pressing it into the frosting gently. The finer you can get the powder, the better. You'll also notice that the crushed peppermint sticks to itself, so scrape it to loosen it up before you sprinkle.
Final step, the brownies taste best when they are cold. Stuff them into the fridge, and be patient! They're so worth it.