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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13 Responses to “Chocolate M&M Cookies”

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    Katie — October 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Jen, I totally love your blog. You always ahve the BEST treats! I LOVE the picture with all the cookies resting on the m&ms. GREAT idea! 🙂

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    Jigginjessica — October 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Looks beautiful as always!

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    stephchows — October 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    perfect use of pink! So interesting about how the cookies reacted to the way you rolled them! Thanks for the heads up!

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    oneordinaryday — October 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Your cookies look great and that’s a good tip about getting them to look their best too. My kids and all their friends love these cookies. I’ve made them a few times since I first posted them and they never last long.
    thanks for the link!
    ~ Michelle

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    Chocolate Shavings — October 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Those are beautiful and perfect for such a great cause

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    The Novice Chef — October 21, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    What an adorable picture! Also helps that they are for a great cause! 🙂

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    Natalie — October 21, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    M&Ms are my favorite treat and I love that during this month everything is PINK! The cookies look fantastic.

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    Kat — October 21, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    I am bummed I missed your Power of Pink contest as I was utilizing October to raise awareness around breast cancer too! I made some cookies and have a post on my site: http://katskitchenplace.blogspot.com/2009/10/october-is-breast-cancer-awareness.html
    I like the chocolate cookie base of your cookies! Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to checking back and seeing all what people make towards your challenge 🙂

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    tastestopping — October 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    A chocolate cookie topped with chocolate candies? What could be better? Perhaps a tall, ice cold glass of milk to go with them! They look divine. I’m wondering if you might skip the rolling and flattening by creating a wide log of dough (without M&Ms), slicing to the thickness desired, then pressing candies on top? Seems like the dough might be fairly easy to shape into a log. A quick pop into the fridge before slicing would help firm it up. Just a thought! I can’t wait to try them.

    Best,
    Casey
    http://www.tastestopping.wordpress.com

    P.S. Not sure if I’ve invited you before, but I’d love to publish any of your photos that FoodGawker and TasteSpotting decline! Thanks. 😀

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    nutmegnanny — October 23, 2009 at 3:15 am

    I love the dark chocolate and pink M&M contrast. What fantastic cookies:)

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    natalie — February 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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    natalie — February 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I just made your recipe for these cookies yesterday and took them to church. The kids went nuts and they’ve never turned out as pretty as they did this time. Thanks for the helpful tips because my m&m cookies have never turned out prettier! 9 minutes was also perfect timing as well.

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    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — December 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Both pretty and I’m sure delicious! I love how you showed the comparison between batches to give better suggestions for prettier cookies. The final batch are definitely the prettiest of the bunch. I love that the pink pops w/the chocolate cookie.

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