There’s something overly indulgent about brownies. Maybe it’s the chewy moist-ness with every bite. My responsible adult-brain says, there isn’t one thing healthy about these brownies. And my Christmas brain says, It’s December! Loosen up a bit!
As you can imagine, I don’t need too much persuading.
I grew up making brownies from scratch, just like my mom made them. Everything measured out just exactly except for the walnuts. Just like her mom before her.
I love that brownie recipe. But sometimes, some days you’ve just gotta go for a quick chocolate fix.
And at Christmas time you gotta add candy canes. Because, well, it’s Christmas time.
Melody makes these delicious brownies in A Cookbook Thief at Christmas. She makes it from the “made from scratch” recipe because that’s what she does. This month I’m using the Ghirardelli mix, just like Jenelle.
100% credit for this recipe goes to my editor, Jenelle. She made it last year and I was so enamored with it I had to go home and make it again. And I’ve been making it ever since. Yuuuuuuumy.
Whether you use a from-scratch recipe or a box of Ghirardelli chocolate, you will be delighted. AND you cannot help but get into the Christmas spirit with these brownies because they taste like Christmas.
Peppermint is one of those flavorings where a little goes a long ways. I used 1/8 tsp. of peppermint extract and it created a delightful frosting. If the frosting is too drippy, add more powdered sugar- about a 1/2 cup at a time. If it seems a little thick, add a tablespoon of milk. (or half & half which makes a slightly creamier frosting).
Ingredients for Brownies:
2/3 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
6 Tbs. baking cocoa (I prefer to use Hershey’s)
Ingredients for Frosting
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
4 Tbs. milk or half & half
1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
2 candy canes
If using the Ghirardelli brownie mix, follow the directions for a 9x 13 pan of brownies.
If using my recipe, preheat the oven to 350F.
Cream together the sugar and the shortening until it is fully mixed together. Add the eggs followed by the vanilla and the salt.
Stir in the flour until the batter is just mixed (don’t over stir). Add 6 Tbs. of baking cocoa (just a side note: I usually measure heaping scoops of the baking cocoa. I realize this doesn’t follow the scientific baking rules, but it’s one of those “I’ve always done it like this” things).
Pour into a greased 9×13 bake pan. Bake for 29 minutes. There may be a slight cracking in the top of the brownie crust.
When the brownies are done, allow them to cool before frosting.
To make the frosting, start by beating one cup of powdered sugar with the butter and milk. As the butter mixes in, add in more powdered sugar. Add in more milk (in 1 tsp. increments) if the frosting is too thick. Add 1/8 tsp. peppermint. Crumble 2 candy canes with a rolling pin.
When the brownies are cool, chop them into squares. Add a dollop of frosting and add embellishments of choice on top: mini chocolate chips, candy cane bits or chocolate syrup.