10 days ’til Christmas!
I really cannot believe it. I don’t know about you but I feel like every year the holiday season goes by more and more quickly. When we were young ‘uns, I feel like the days and weeks leading up to the “Big Day” would just creeeeeep by, and now we blink and it’s here and we haven’t even come close to crossing all of our holiday to-dos off our bucket list.
Have you even started your cookie baking yet? I haven’t and I’m starting to stress just a little bit. I know it’s nothing that I HAVE to do, but it was such a fun tradition for me growing up that I really want to try to continue it as best I can. Today I finally made my list of everything I want to make. I’m thinking if I can squeeze in making one recipe every other day or so I can get them all in before Christmas. Somewhat wishful thinking, but I’m going to try my darndest!
But even though I haven’t made any cookies yet, I did manage to squeeze in some other holiday baking last weekend. Judging by my Instagram feed for the past 15 days, I feel pretty comfortable in saying I know I’m not alone in my love for peppermint bark. I mean, who doesn’t count down the days until those red and white striped tins show up at Trader Joe’s and Williams-Sonoma?
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it much here on the blog before, but one of my other favorite desserts (that I don’t feel guilty enjoying year round) is a nice, fudgy, chewy brownie. Seriously, is there any season that brownies don’t fit into? I can’t think of one.
Given my intense love for these two things, brownies and peppermint bark, I decided it was time to combine them into a delicious holiday dessert —–> yea for Peppermint Bark Brownies! I started with a base brownie recipe that could do no wrong, Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc version. I’ve seen the recipe all over the blogosphere (see here and here), and I am a HUGE fan of Thomas Keller’s, so I figured it was time to give these a shot. I’m so glad I did. I’m pretty sure I’ve found my new favorite base brownie recipe.
And aside from the brownie base, turning these into a peppermint lover’s dream is soooo easy. I simply swapped some of the chopped chocolate with chopped peppermint bark, and added some peppermint extract to really give the brownies that extra kick. Dust with some powdered sugar after baking and cooling, and these Peppermint Bark Brownies will be so festive, they’ll make up for the fact that you haven’t baked anything else this holiday season (I mean, just in case!)
What are your favorite holiday baked goods? If you have a favorite recipe that you don’t mind sharing, please send it my way!
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dutch processed/alkalized cocoa powder
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3 ounces chocolate, chopped into chip-size pieces
- 3 ounces chopped peppermint bark plus 2 additional ounces chopped bark for topping
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan (I used 8-inch only because I didn't have a 9-inch). Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
- Melt half the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Add the remaining butter to the melted butter and stir. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and 3 ounces of chopped peppermint bark and mix to combine.
- Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes if using a 9-inch pan, 55-65 minutes if using an 8-inch pan. A cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center should come out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary.
- Cool in the pan until the brownie is at room temperature. Run a knife around the edges, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles or 16 squares. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving.
- The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Christmas Heaven on a plate.