One of my all-time favorite holiday traditions is Christmas Eve baking. I actually find Christmas Eve to be the prime-time to gather with close family over a few desserts, mulled wine, eggnog, and corny Christmas movies.
It’s as Christmas Eve is the pre-Christmas Day party, you know? You get a few cocktails in, you start your cookie-coma and the best part is? You are surrounded by those who are truly your nearest and dearest. Save the awkward run-ins with your distant aunt or second-cousin-fresh-out-of-rehab for the Christmas Day brunch. Christmas Eve is all about getting your parents tipsy and rosy.
While the parents and friends are chatting, I make sure to have either a pan of cookies baking (these are my favorite) or another party-friendly snack circulating around. This year, I am focusing my attention on these Peppermint Bark Brownies. Fudgy, dense with just a hint of peppermint to give it a holiday twist.
This recipe is another favorite from Lindsay’s Love and Olive Oil, one that I have been waiting to use. My only issue with the recipe came from my lack of experience handling the white chocolate. Let it be known, I hate white chocolate. Too sweet and still boring, I prefer to stay away from it but the idea of deep dark brownies topped with white chocolate was too good to pass up. Well, fat chance of that happening. The white chocolate seized, wasting my time and precious butter (RIP). Instead, I melted down leftover peppermint bark from Trader Joes and used that to top my brownies. Worked like a charm too, as they gave the brownies a hint of mint, which is what they needed.
To make them even more holiday-esque (as if the peppermint wasn’t enough) I sprinkled a few candy cane on top. I mean, if you’re gonna do it, then do it.
To you & your loved ones, I wish you a fantastic Christmas Eve, full of laughs and lots of sugar. Do me proud.
- 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
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 3 to 4 candy canes, coarsely chopped or crushed (about 1/2 cup)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom and sides of a 8-by-8-inch pan 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 two-inch squares.
- Stored in an airtight container, these brownies will last up to 5 days.
Originally adapted from Love and Olive Oil