One thing I never had to worry about back in Brooklyn, or even Woodstock for that matter, was too many sweets. I used to show up in the school yard to pick up the kids, armed with containers or baggies full of goodies. No one ever argued when I asked if they’d like to help me out by taking the day’s recipe testing treats home to sample. Things are quite different now, here in Maryland. I spend my days, hermit-like in my apartment cooking, baking, and writing. The only neighbor I know is my guy who lives next door, and a sweet gal who lives below me, and babysits the girls from time to time. I bring treats to the doormen, but that’s not nearly enough to help purge all the brownies that flowed from my kitchen this week.
There were the first two test batches that came out great, only for me to discover that I completely left out the butter. My eyes auto-corrected the recipe TWICE, omitting it all together. How crazy is that? Even crazier, the brownies came out pretty darn good without any extra fat, so go figure. I suppose a few less calories is never a bad thing. I went back to the drawing board, though, to replicate the minty, chewy, holiday-inspired Peppermint Fudge Brownies from last December. Back during our time at Woodstock Day School, I baked often for the school store. Talk about finding your groove. I could’ve been happy manning the window of that little store, peddling fresh baked goods all.day.long. Perhaps that is my true calling, and destiny. If anyone knows of a shack with good foot traffic, preferably in NYC, let me know.
The total brownie tally for this week was four batches (or 120 brownies if you do the math). There’s this good ol’ Peppermint Fudge Brownie version, which is really a cousin to my Milk Chocolate Brownie recipe. I also made a grain free version of them, which if we’re speaking honestly here, I loved best of them all. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all killer fudge brownie recipes, but the almond meal in the grain free version makes my tastebuds get all weak in the knees. For both recipes, I swapped in some peppermint chips for the milk chocolate chips. You can find Andes chips this time of year, but any peppermint chocolate bark will work fine (hello, Ghirardelli!!!). I also increased all the ingredients a bit to make a 1/4 sheet pan of brownies to yield 30 brownies, because if there’s one thing this week has taught me—you can never have too many brownies.
Get the recipe for my Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies here.
Watch me bake my Milk Chocolate Brownies LIVE on Saturday, December 19th at 1:00pm on my Facebook page.
Peppermint Fudge Brownies
6 ounces (168 grams) milk chocolate chips
3 ounces (84 grams) peppermint chips
1/2 cup (75 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup (37 grams) good quality dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
1 stick (112 grams) butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs (150 grams)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom and hang over the sides of a 1/4 sheet pan (9x13x1) baking pan.
Add the chocolate, peppermint chips, and butter to a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. The timing depends on the wattage of your microwave. Stir in the vanilla extract; set aside to cool slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
Add the eggs and sugar to a clean, large bowl. Whisk until they become thick and pale yellow, about 1 minute. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly to the sides. You can give the pan a tap on the counter to help it settle, too. Bake for 30 minutes until the center is set and the edges gently pull slightly away from the sides of the pan (the toothpick test does not work on brownies, so you just have to trust that they are done by visual cues). Let cool completely before cutting.