So yes, old news, BUT, did you know that a surprisingly large number of people were upset about Starbucks holiday cups this year? From what I can tell, the cups aren’t Christmas-y enough.
I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around that particular brand of outrage.
I guess my thought is that if you are legitimately upset about some coffee cups, you probably don’t read the news. Or go outside. Or talk to anyone. Ever.
I only bring this up now because, well, it’s December. The holiday season is in full swing. And last week I had my annual peppermint mocha fix. Part of me balks at paying 5 dollars for an over-hyped coffee drink that tastes more like a dessert than an actual coffee. But the part of me that gets ridiculously excited about things like sprinkles can’t help but love that warm, slightly caffeinated, mint-flavored chocolate milk.
So much so that I decided to make Peppermint Mocha Brownies so that instead of enjoying coffee that tastes like dessert, I can enjoy dessert that tastes like coffee.
There are so many things that I love about these brownies:
- This brownie recipe, loosely based on a recipe I found on the back of a flour bag once upon a time, is the best flippin’ brownie recipe in all the world. Even if you don’t top it with peppermint buttercream and mocha ganache and candy cane sprinkles (which, why wouldn’t you?), these brownies are still dense and fudgy with a little bit of chewiness and that shiny, crackly top that you see in bakeries but can’t seem to recreate at home. Except now you can.
- They’re festive. Sprinkle some crushed candy canes on these babies and you’re all set for any holiday-ish occasion in which you volunteered to bring dessert and then got overwhelmed by all the available choices. That’s definitely never happened to me. <– Lies
- They have caffeine. This makes it easy to justify eating brownies for breakfast. Like really easy. Too easy.
- It makes approximately 1 million brownies. No, though, it doesn’t. It makes 24 square brownies. BUT, they are so thick and rich and chocolate-y that I like to cut my squares in half diagonally to make 48 little brownie triangles. Plus, it makes them look fancy. Just trust me on this.
If you’re running short on time, you can most definitely make brownies out of a box and proceed with the recipe for the buttercream and ganache. I did something very similar a few months back. Just know that you’re missing out on this:
- 4 eggs
- 1¼ cups dutch processed cocoa
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps or 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (I prefer the schnapps)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 2¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ cups chocolate chips, divided
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ tablespoon peppermint extract
- 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 6 ounces dark chocolate
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- crushed candy cane pieces (optional, but pretty)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and peppermint schnapps or extract. Beat for 3 minutes until well-combined.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the sugar, stirring occasionally. Once everything has melted together, continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is shiny and most of the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the butter mixture to the cocoa mixture and beat on medium speed until combined. On the mixer's lowest setting, stir in the flour and 1 cup of the chocolate chips.
- Spread batter into a greased 13X9 inch pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees F for 28-32 minutes or until the edges are set but a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool on a cooling rack until room temperature and transfer the the fridge to cool for 4 hours or overnight.
- To make the buttercream, cream together the butter, powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at medium speed. Add more cream, a tablespoon at a time, until frosting reached desired consistency. Spread over the chilled brownies with an offset spatula.
- Chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream and espresso powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble up. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 10 minutes before whisking together until smooth and well-combined. Pour the ganache over the peppermint frosting and spread evenly with an offset spatula.
- Top with crushed candy cane pieces, if desired.