Guys, I love these brownies HARD. I love chocolate. I love mint. I LOVE CHOCOLATE MINT. Just in case you weren't understanding my enthusiasm, I went with all caps. I think it was a good choice.
In fact, I like them so much that I made a very similar peppermint brownie recipe two years ago and completely forgot. Oops. You don't mind, right?
I can remember being a really little kid, visiting my great aunt's house at Christmas and picking the chocolate-mint bar off of the cookie plate. We used to visit all the great aunts and uncles on Christmas eve, and I'd get a goodie off a cookie plate at every stop. I'd be on such a sugar high by the time we were done. I remember sitting in the back seat, looking out at the starry sky searching for the glow of Rudolph's red nose. I can remember the itch of the wool stockings I'd wear under my Christmas dress, and the way they'd get sweaty at the knees and saggy at the butt. They were uncomfortable in so many ways. Now that I have my own little kids, I find my own childhood memories so fascinating. I wonder what they'll remember.
The bars that I'm remembering, though, were mint Nanaimo Bars. Next year I'll make them for you.
You must know that I inhaled a great deal of candy cane dust to bring you this recipe. I had been crushing a lot of candy canes, and I was tired of doing it by hand (like a sucker) so I tossed a bunch in the Vitamix and boom. Crushed in a millisecond.
I lifted the lid and stuck my face in for a better look, and a veritable cloud of minty dust was released into my nostrils (how it buuuurned) and there may still be candy cane in my lungs.
It turns out I have the occupational hazards of a Christmas elf.
I actually made these weeks ago and haven't had the chance to share. Every time I opened up the post, the photos made me angry. We were having a particularly dark day when I shot them, one where at 1 o'clock in the afternoon it looked like night time. Those days make me sad. The light from our floor-to-ceiling window was blue-tinted and ugly and flat and I probably just wasn't happy in general that day. But I've put enough space between myself and that dark day now that I can share the yummy brownies.
We've actually been getting some SUN lately, which is hardly news to most people, but in Vancouver, in the fall, it is news. The Pacific Northwest is known to be dreary, but this year we had rain almost every single day in October and November. So a few days of bright blue skies and orange sunsets are so welcome and appreciated. And it's so much more fun to take photos with actual, directional sunlight. Le sigh. Some days I could pack up for California in a heartbeat.
Anyway, more importantly: fudgy brownies, peppermint buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache. GO!
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 6 oz dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa), chopped
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp pure mint extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 2 candy canes, finely chopped, for topping
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pure mint extract
- 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 oz chopped dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa), chopped
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang.
Melt butter and chocolate in the microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes or until about 80% melted. Stir to finish melting. Stir in sugar and then eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Stir in mint extract and salt, then flour.
Spread into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until edges are firm and centre is just set. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then lift by the parchment overhang and finish cooling completely on wire rack before frosting.
To make frosting, beat all ingredients together until light and fluffy. Start with 1/8 tsp mint extract and add up to 1/4 tsp to taste (I used 1/4 tsp and found it a teeny bit too strong, this extract is pretty potent, so better to err on the side of less to start). Frost the cooled brownies, then pop them in the freezer until you are ready to add ganache.
To make ganache, combine chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes then stir to finish melting. Let cool for about 20 minutes at room temperature then pour over the chilled brownies, spreading to edges. Sprinkle with candy cane. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to set the ganache.
They'll keep at room temperature for several days, or they freeze really well.