peppermint candy cane brownies - xmas week 2019

Welcome to Day 2 of Xmas Week 2019. Last year I saw a photo of some peppermint candy cane brownies and just knew I wanted to make a batch for this year's Xmas week. I made the brownie mixture, topped the mixture with crushed candy canes and while baking, the candy canes promptly melted in the oven resulting in a very unattractive looking mess. 

Undaunted I put on my thinking cap and worked on a way to get candy canes and peppermint flavouring into my brownies without making an unholy mess. In a stroke of genius I decided to make a peppermint flavoured chocolate ganache topping then topped the ganache with some chopped candy canes. 

I used dark mint chocolate I had in the cupboard, maybe it was Lindt, maybe it was from ALDI. I can't quite remember. If you don't have any mint chocolate you could always add some peppermint extract to the melted chocolate. Although I topped the brownies with a dark chocolate ganache, initially I was going to make a white chocolate topping. I thought a mint flavoured white chocolate ganache topped with crushed candy canes was such a great idea for Christmas brownies, I made a batch of those as well. 

I needed to make a double batch of white chocolate ganache to cover the brownies so if you make the white ganache version you'll need a 100 mls cream, 150g chopped white chocolate and 1 tsp of peppermint extract. I topped the ganache with crushed candy canes and added a sprinkle of sea salt flakes to balance out all that sweetness.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 7 inch square tin of brownies. If you'd like to make a larger batch of brownies, increase everything by 50% and bake in an 8 inch square tin or double and bake in a 9 inch square tin. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. 

Peppermint candy cane brownies (inspired by a Claire Ptak recipe)
125g unsalted butter
135g 70% dark chocolate
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup plain flour
1½ tbs cocoa
pinch salt

50 mls cream
75g dark mint chocolate, finely chopped
4 candy canes, crushed

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Butter a 7 x 7-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper; allow 2 inches of overhang.

Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a bowl over simmering water or in the microwave.  Allow the chocolate butter mixture to cool to room temperature then stir in the brown sugar and the beaten eggs and the vanilla. Sift the flour and cocoa together with the salt. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and beat well until glossy. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake the brownies in the centre of the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are set and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let the brownies cool in the pan before decorating.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream to boiling point. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few moments until the chocolate starts to melt. Add the peppermint extract at this stage if using and then put the ganache to one side to thicken. Spread the chocolate ganache over the cooled brownie and allow to partially set before sprinkling with the crushed candy canes. Allow the topping to set completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Brownies just the way I like them, all squidgy in the centre.

See you all again tomorrow with some more baking for Xmas week 2019.

Bye for now,


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