Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies are pictured with Citrus Cranberry Shortbread Cookies.
For Brownie Layer
¾ cup unsalted butter
10.5 ounces fine quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (not unsweetened and no more than 60% Cacao if marked)
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon salt
Make brownie layer
Preheat oven to 375°
Lightly butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Melt butter and chocolate with brown sugar in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa and salt until just combined. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake until set and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs adhering, about 20 minutes.
For Peppermint Layer
1-2 cups chopped peppermint candies or candy canes
¾ cup heavy cream
15 ounces fine white chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Put unwrapped peppermint candies or candy canes in a plastic Ziploc bag and with a rolling pin or hammer, break them into chunks.
Set the broken candies aside. Bring cream to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and remove from heat.
Pour the cream over the white chocolate in a bowl.
Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.
Stir in the peppermint extract and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 30 minutes.
Spread the peppermint white chocolate over the cooled brownie in an even layer.
Sprinkle the chunks of peppermint candy evenly over the white chocolate layer and chill for another 30 minutes.
Cut with a sharp knife into squares.