My husband has some funny quirks I love to tease him about. One of which is his love of coats. He buys coats the way some women buy shoes. He has a coat for every occasion and every possible weather combination. One that has a hood for rain. One that's a shell for when it rains, but it's warm. One that's perfect for snowy, cold days. One that's full of pockets, because you never know. A sporty jacket for going out running errands. A zip up for going to the gym. And that doesn't include old coats he doesn't wear but keeps for sentimental reasons, or the coats he'd like to buy, but can't justify.
I totally understand this. Really. The same old thing doesn't work for every occasion. Sometimes you require something a little dressier, a little more tailored. The same concept applies to baking. You can't make the same cake or cookies every time you bake and expect people to get excited. (Unless you only make cookies once a year, and if that's the case, why on earth are you reading this blog??) And making the same plain chocolate brownies can get a little monotonous.
Enter the perfect solution - Peppermint brownies. Take a basic brownie. Infuse it with peppermint. Frost it. And add a swirl of white chocolate to fancy it up. These are not basic, zip-up hoody, everyday brownies. They are the upscale, cashmere overcoat of brownies. It's a little extra effort, but so worth it!
- adapted from Cookies by Fine Cooking
10 oz. (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tsp peppermint tea leaves (from about 2 tea bags)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) all-purpose flour
2 oz. ssemisweet chocolate
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 oz. white chocolate
1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. with a rack in the center of the oven. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, line it with parchment paper so that the paper extends at least an inch above the long sides, and butter the paper.
2- Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Melt 8 oz of the butter and 8 oz of the unsweetened chocolate in the bowl. Stir occasionally with a heatproof spatula until the mixture is completely melted and uniform, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the bowl over the water.
3- In a food processor, finely grind the peppermint leaves with the sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, peppermint extract, salt, and peppermint sugar until just combined. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Reserve the simmering water for later.
4- Slowly add the flour, gently folding it in with a spatula, until incorporated. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean (a few bits of batter should cling to the toothpick), 35 to 40 minutes.
5- Put the pan on a rack to cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. When cool, lift the paper lining to pull the brownies out of the pan. Peel the paper off the brownies and put them on a cutting board.
6- Bring the pot of water back to a gentle simmer and set a heatproof bowl over it. Add the semisweet chocolate, corn syrup, and the remaining 2 oz butter and 2 oz unsweetened chocolate. Stir frequently with a heatproof spatula until the mixture is melted and smooth; set aside.
7- Put the white chocolate in a separate heatproof bowl and set it over the water. stir frequently until it's melted and smooth; remove it from the heat.
8- Spread the semisweet chocolate glaze over the cooled brownies in an even layer using an offset spatula. Drizzle the white chocolate over the glaze in lines. Use a toothpick or a wooden skewer to drag the white chocolate in parallel lines.
9- Refrigerate until the glaze is set, at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours. Cut into thirty bars, about 2 inches square. To cut cleanly, use a knife rinsed in hot water and then dried. Keep the bars well covered and serve at room temperature.