I still remember the first time I had Peppermint Bark as a child. It was long before it became as popular as it is today. But I was smitten at first bite. What's not to love? Dark chocolate, white chocolate, and crushed candy canes? Mmm...
I love brownies, too. It has taken me a long time to assemble my list of great brownie recipes. For these particular brownies, I like to use a recipe that is full of chocolate, chewy and fudgy, and makes brownies that are good enough to eat on their own.
Awhile back my search for the perfect all-purpose brownie ended when I found a recipe for Chocolate Brownies in my beloved Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. I overlooked it for a long time because my husband always made such good brownies, we didn't really need another recipe.
The process is the unique part. Eggs and sugar are beaten with an electric mixer for ten minutes on high. The result is a pale, thick confection to which melted chocolate and butter are added, followed by flour. It's a marvel in texture. I can only assume it comes from beating the eggs and sugar for so long.
But as I wrote in my Kitchen Q&A post about these brownies, the recipe you use for the brownie layer is up to you. If you have a recipe you make all the time and love--by all means use it. I assume that it will work well with a packaged mix as well.
Without further ado.....
How-To Make Peppermint Bark Brownies:
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 5 eggs and 3 1/2 cups white sugar on high for ten minutes.
After 10 minutes, the mixture will be pale in color and very thick. Add 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds, until combined.
Melt 2 sticks (16 Tbsp. or 1 cup) unsalted butter and 8 oz. (1/2 lb.) unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler. (Or you can do it carefully in the microwave on 50% power.)
Add the melted chocolate and butter to the eggs and sugar with the mixer running on low speed.
Continue beating to until combined.
Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 tsp. salt (optional) to the chocolate mixture. Beat on low speed just until combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the sides to combine any last streaks of flour.
Grease a 9" by 13" baking pan. Line the pan with foil, leaving about 1" of overhang on the sides, and grease the foil well.
Bake at 325 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs sticking to it. (If it comes out clean, the brownies will be overbaked.)
For the Peppermint Bark Layer:
(p.s. These semi-sweet chips from Whole Foods are fab. And they are probably one of the best deals in the whole store--one package for less than $2.00!)
Sprinkle one package (about 11-12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips over the top of the hot brownies right after they come out of the oven.
Let sit for a few minutes to melt the chips. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate to the edges and into the corners of the pan.
Let the brownies cool. (You can even put them into the fridge or freezer to set the chocolate quickly.)
Melt one (11-12 oz.) package of true white chocolate chips or the equivalent 2 packages (12 oz.) of white chocolate baking squares in a double boiler. (If you do it in the microwave, watch closely that the white chocolate doesn't burn--do 30 second intervals on 50% power.)
Drizzle the melted white chocolate over the semi-sweet layer and spread evenly to the edges and corners of the pan.
Crush 5-6 peppermint candy canes (you can also use2 dozen or so starlight round peppermint candies).
Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top of the white chocolate.
Place the pan in the fridge or freezer to harden and set the chocolate.
To cut and serve:
Use a thin spatula to loosen the edges of the brownies from the baking pan.
Use the foil overhang as handles to lift the brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting surface.
Use a ruler and the tip of a sharp knife to make notches in the peppermint bark. This makes for neater cutting and neater squares.
Use a large chef's knife to cut completely through the brownies lenthwise, and follow with a small, sharp knife. (Dip it in hot water and dry for cleaner cuts.) Then use the small knife to cut each long strip into squares.
Carefully pull each brownie square off the foil and place it on a serving platter.
Peppermint Bark Brownies
(brownie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook)
For Brownie Layer:
2 sticks unsalted butter
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
a pinch of salt--maybe 1/8 to 1/4 tsp.
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
For the Peppermint Bark Topping:
11-12 oz. white chocolate chips (try to use chips with cocoa butter in them)
5-6 candy canes or 2 dozen starlight peppermint candies
For brownie layer:
Melt butter and chocolate in a double-boiler or on 50% power in the microwave--being careful not to burn the chocolate. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs until light and thick. Add the melted chocolate and butter. Fold in flour. Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes in a well-greased 9"by13" baking dish. (I usually use a Pyrex glass pan.)
For the peppermint bark topping:
Sprinkle the semi-sweet chips over the hot baked brownies. Let them sit for a few minutes and spread the melted chips to the edges and corners of the pan. Let the semi-sweet layer harden a bit before proceeding to the white chocolate layer.
When the semi-sweet chocolate is set, melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler (or carefully in the microwave). Drizzle the white chocolate over the top. Use an offset spatula to spread white chocolate to the edges and corners.
Crush the candy canes and sprinkle them over the top of the white chocolate.
Either refrigerate or freeze the brownies until the chocolate is hardened. Use the foil handles to pull the brownies from the pan. Peel away the foil and the waxed paper. Place the brownies on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to score the surface of the chocolate and then go back and cut through to the bottom. (I used my big chef's knife.) Depending on the size, you could get anywhere from 20 to 30+ brownies. Serve. Keep cool when storing--I recommend in the fridge, and in an airtight container.Print this post
Peppermint Bark Brownies are a very good thing.
Peppermint Bark Brownies are a very good thing.