I’m overdue for a food post here, largely becuase my iPhone has decided it doesn’t want to download pictures anymore. >_<
I have a special holiday treat today; peppermint bark brownies. The original, make it from scratch recipe is courtesy of San Francisco’s famous Ghirardelli chocolate company. Occasionally some good comes out of S.F. lol.
Unfortunately for those outside the U.S, everything is in our measurements, so you’ll have to do conversions. If you’re interested in using authentic Ghirardelli peppermint bark, you’ll have to order fast. It disappears at Christmas and won’t be back until after Thanksgiving. Whatever you do, make sure you use high quality peppermint bark here. I tried substituting Costco’s store brand one year and took the tub back for a refund it tasted so bad. Quality ingredients are probably the biggest unspoken “secret” to good cooking or baking.
So, here’s the “from scratch” version:
1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark SQUARES™ chocolates, chopped into large chunks (for the brownies)
18 Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark SQUARES™ chocolates, broken in to large chunks (about 8 pieces per square) (for the finishing)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. n
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil and grease with pan spray.
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a gentle simmer. Put the 60% chips and butter in a heatproof bowl and set it over (but not touching) the simmering water.
Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the better is melted and both ingredients are completely combined. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the warm water.
Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk together gently. With a spatula, fold in the flour.
Immediately pour ½ the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly. Next, sprinkle the chopped peppermint bark over the batter and then pour the remaining batter over this. Spread evenly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. The center should be fudgy but not dry. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Place Peppermint Bark chunks on top of warm brownies and allow them to soften for 1 minute. Using a spatula, gently swirl the melting Peppermint Bark to create swirls of melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Trim the 4 edges of the brownies by 1/4 inch. And cut into 18 squares.
SILK’S EASY SHORT CUT VERSION:
There’s one big shortcut to making these brownies and a few tweaks to make them turn out even better.
The Shortcut: Instead of manually making the brownies from scratch, use Ghirardelli (and only Ghirardelli) brownie mix. The version I think works best is the Triple Chocolate Brownie mix and that’s the one I used this year. Follow cooking directions / time on box.
Substitutions: The brownie mix will tell you to use water and vegetable oil. Instead of vegetable oil, use an equal amount of butter (1/3 a cup). Instead of water, use milk. I use just a little more than the 1/3 a cup that the box calls for; right in the middle of the 1/3 and ½ a cup marks on the measuring cup. That way they stay moist but don’t turn to goo.
Tricks: There are three tricks I’ve discovered with making these. First is to add a half teaspoon of Peppermint Extract to the brownie mix. This adds a bit more peppermint flavor to the brownies without overpowering the chocolate. Make sure to mix everything thoroughly if you go this route so that the peppermint flavor gets evenly distributed into the mix.
Second is a prep trick that makes clean up easier. When breaking up the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark squares, I use a blender or food processor. To make clean up of the blender / food processor easier, I freeze the squares in the freezer overnight. The pieces will break more cleanly and not start to melt in the food processor. This will let you almost just rinse the processor clean.
Third: I place the Peppermint Bark on top of the Brownies 2 or 3 minutes before they’re ready to come out of the over (when a toothpick will come out of them almost completely clean). They’ll melt into an even topping better that way.