Merry Christmas and Peppermint Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

First of all, I want to say Merry Christmas Everybody! I hope everyone is having a great holiday. I wanted to show off a picture of our tree. This is the first year we’ve done a tree in Boston because there isn’t a whole lot of room for one. Last year I didn’t even decorate because we were traveling so much with the holidays. But this year, we got a real tree! I was very excited. It’s about 5’8″ tall and it fits on top of our end table since we have really high ceilings.

Once we got it into the stand, we realized that our box of ornaments had been stored at Hubby’s mom’s house since we had never planned on needing ornaments here in Boston. So we went to the dollar store with $20 in our hands and came out with the decorations you see here. It’s just red and silver bulbs with white lights. And, Hubby fashioned a star out of a coat hanger that I wrapped in foil. Ta-Da! Here’s what our tree-on-a-budget looks like. I love it!

Peppermint is by far my favorite holiday flavor. Something about it just makes me feel like it’s wintertime. It reminds me of snow. It’s well known that I love fun sprinkles. When I saw these at the store, I had to have them. Not only are they shaped like candy canes, they have a peppermint flavor to them. I also have some fun snowflake sprinkles that are obviously only useful in the wintertime. Hubby and I were trying to figure out what to take to a holiday potluck and I knew I wanted to build a dessert around these festive sprinkles.

So I knew there would be peppermint involved, and I wanted to pair it with chocolate. I’ve been doing a lot of bars recently so I thought I’d make peppermint brownies, drizzle them in some ganache and highlight the fun candy cane and snowflake sprinkles. I also added a bit of peppermint extract to the white chocolate and bittersweet chocolate ganache.

To kick things up even more, I was thinking about another of my favorite peppermint treats. The Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s. They’re dangerous to have in the house because I tend to pop one or two when the box catches my eye. So I combined all of these things together by adding the candy cane Joe Joe’s to the brownie batter prior to baking the brownies.

I cut these into small brownies so they are more like little bites of peppermint brownie deliciousness. These little brownies were a huge success at the party. If you’re looking for a festive wintery dessert to make, definitely give these a shot.

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Peppermint Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

For the White and Bittersweet Chocolate Peppermint Ganache
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 oz white chocolate
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
6 Tbsp heavy cream

For the Peppermint Brownies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 tspsalt
1 tspbaking powder
1 tspespresso powder, optional
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
~25 peppermint sandwich cookies, such as Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe's, cut into chunks

Directions:

For the White and Bittersweet Chocolate Peppermint Ganache
Break white chocolate into chunks and place in a bowl. Break bittersweet chocolate into chunks and place in another bowl.

Bring heavy cream and peppermint to a boil.

Pour half of the cream over the white chocolate and half over the bittersweet chocolate. Let set for a minute then whisk each until smooth.

For the Peppermint Brownies
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just until it's hot, but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, if you've heated it in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, peppermint, and vanilla.

Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and cookie chunks. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool completely prior to cutting.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

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12 Responses to “S’mores Cupcakes”

  1. #
    1
    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — October 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I think we both know that I’m not a baker…yet I still think I need a kitchen torch! Can I help that I’m addicted to kitchen gadgets?

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    2
    Eliana — October 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I love using my kitchen torch. I think I will have whip it out soon to make these beauties. They look super delish.

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    3
    Courtney — October 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    These are ADORABLE! I don’t even like S’mores, but I might try these.

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    4
    Daisy — October 7, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Kinda jealous of your kitchen torch. These smores goodies have me drooling all week!

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    5
    Jen — October 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    These look great — love s’mores cupcakes. I love making these because the kitchen torch is fun to play with.

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    6
    stephchows — October 7, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    ok now all I want is smores in every variety possible LOL YUM!!!!!! thanks so much for the vote!

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    7
    Rachel Cannon Humiston — October 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    This looks so heavenly! I’ll be dreaming about that frosting tonight…

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    8
    Jami — October 10, 2010 at 3:20 am

    I recently made some s’mores cupcakes using a piece of graham cracker as a crust, but I thought it tasted salty. Of course, I used a mix, which probably did have added salt. I am going to try this method. I’d also love to try the torch! woo hoo!

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    9
    nutmegnanny — October 12, 2010 at 2:39 am

    These look delicious! I have got to try that marshmallow frosting…sounds amazing!

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    10
    Xiaolu — October 18, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I made and blogged about these and they’re so delicious. Thanks for the inspiration. I did increase the amounts of everything but the cake batter since I had so much left over.

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    11
    breader33 — January 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    These are just, amazing. i used the Hershey’s ‘special dark’ cocoa powder, and they were to die for. i will definitely be making these again.

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    12
    The Addicted Baker — March 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I just made delicious s’more cupcakes. Check it out: http://theaddictedbaker.blogspot.com/2011/03/smore-cookies.html

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