In the days before Christmas, my apartment was quite a "situation".
There was a pumpkin butterscotch layer cake in the fridge.
About five different kinds of cookies on the counter.
Peppermint brownies on the table.
And then there was me. Handcuffed. To my bed.
Just so that I wouldn't weigh 500 pounds before the holidays took their toll on my waistline.
(Get your minds out of the gutter. I know what you were thinking when I brought up handcuffs. Don't worry. I'm equally as celibate now as I was in 2011. And 2010. And 2009.) (Okay, mom. Don't look too sad about that.)
Look, desperate times call for drastic measures. And when you've got a hot mess situation like this going on in your kitchen. You'd best be vacating the premises or tying yourself to something as quickly as possible.
Unless you have the metabolism of a bull or an aversion to chocolate and peppermint and pumpkin and sugar and everything good in this world. As my brother does.*
*Yes, it's truly unclear whether or not we're related. Aside from the whole we-have-the-same-eyes thing.
Out of all those baked goods that were coming out of my oven, though. These brownies were by far the Patrick Dempsey of the bunch (and no, I haven't watched last night's Grey's Anatomy yet so no spoilers, please!)
They just had some crazy weird magnetic pull over you that kept forcing you to go over to the kitchen table and tell yourself that maybe half a brownie wasn't so bad for you. Every ten minutes.
In fact, even after Sophie moved out, she kept coming back to our apartment for days, ostensibly to drop off or pick up stuff that she had taken/forgotten. But really, Soph? I think we both know what was going on.
You were brownie booty calling. And really. I don't blame you.
What is so miraculous about these is not just the chocolate and peppermint combination, which, on it's own, is amazing. But it's also the fact that they have milk chocolate bars baked into their center, making them a textural cross between chocolate mint fudge and chocolate mint mousse.
Eating these was honestly one of the most intense chocolate experiences of my life. (And I've had quite a few intense chocolate experiences.) And I accept every ounce I may have gained from eating them. It was worth it.
So I know you've got your resolutions and all...and are on your new diets. But dieting is silly. Let's live healthy, moderate lives. Eat frugally Monday through Friday...and you get to have a brownie on Saturday.
That's just arithmetic, plain and simple.
Makes a 9x13-inch tray, adapted from Annie's Eats
- 8 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups AP flour
- 4 (1.55 oz) milk chocolate bars (i.e. Hershey's), broken into segments
- 1 bag Hershey's candy cane kisses, wrappers removed and coarsely chopped (or crushed candy canes if you can't find them!)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the chocolate mixture with the sugar and eggs until well blended. Whisk in the peppermint and vanilla extracts and the salt. Whisk in the flour just until incorporated.
- Spread half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Layer with the milk chocolate pieces. Spread the remaining batter evenly over the milk chocolate pieces. Bake 30-35 minutes.
- Remove the brownies from the oven but maintain the oven temperature. Sprinkle the chopped Candy Cane Kisses over the top of the brownies and return the pan to the oven for 3 more minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Chill the brownies until the candy topping has firmed up. Slice and serve.