We’re all cozy wrapping presents, drinking cocoa, and watching Christmas movies. Holiday Inn, Polar Express, White Christmas. I’ve always enjoyed “that movie with the singing sisters and the snow”, it wasn’t until this year that I realized that “that” movie was White Christmas. I didn’t know I was so predictable! I never thought of myself as the kind of lady that liked White Christmas, but it is totally my favorite, and you all are the first to hear it. I’m not sure why I’ve always thought of White Christmas as a cliché Christmas movie, but somehow I never thought I was “that kind of lady”. I don’ have an abundance of Christmas sweaters and I stopped wearing my jingle bell earrings in middle school, which is apparently something I equate to a woman who willing admits that White Christmas is her favorite. Don’t get me wrong I am not a Scrooge, I love Christmas. I start listening to Christmas music and drinking eggnog lattes the day after Thanksgiving. I get giddy picking out a tree and I leave it up well past Epiphany every year. So, maybe I am one of those ladies, I just hope I have better fashion sense.
We’re also enjoying sweets. Cookies, chocolates, candies, and these Peppermint Bark Brownies. They are Christmas in brownie form, and I love them. They will be a new tradition. The brownie is rich and chocolately. The white chocolate topping with peppermint candies is as pretty as it is sweetly delicious. It is important to get good quality white chocolate, most white chocolate chips are made mostly of palm kernel oil which is finicky to work with and doesn’t taste very good. You want to find one that is mostly milk and sugar.
I hope you are enjoying the bliss and wonder of Christmas, and maybe if you are lucky it will be a white christmas!
Peppermint Bark Brownies
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
3 to 4 candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom and sides of a 8-by-8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on two edges.
Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl and set aside for later.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or a medium bowl set over gently simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and stir until dissolved and mixture has cooled a bit.
Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extract into chocolate mixture 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. Allow to cool completely (I put them in the fridge overnight)
In a clean double boiler gently melt white chocolate (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. Also make sure not to get any water in it, it will make it lumpy). 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 in the fridge.
Once set, cut into rectangles and then into triangles. They keep covered in the fridge for about 5 days (if they last that long!)