Flourless Peppermint Hot Chocolate Brownies

"Haul out the holly. Put up the tree. Fill up the stocking. Put up the brightest string of lights you're ever seen. Slice up the fruitcake. It's time we put some tinsel up on that evergreen bough. I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now. We need a little Christmas, right this very minute, it hasn't snowed a single flurry, but Santa dear, we're in a hurry."

It's December 1st tomorrow and it was 60 degrees today. How are you supposed to get in the Christmas spirit when you can walk outside in a T-shirt? (Answer: these brownies.)

I've been blasting Christmas music, set up lights in my room, painted my nails like candy canes, and put jingle bell earrings in my ear, but I'm still not feeling it yet. For me, the most essential part of Christmas spirit is the cold. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

Thank you, Mother Nature, lesson learned, now let's get some snow thank you very much.

Never before have I connected with the song "We need a little Christmas." It's only 25 days till Christmas (not that I'm watching this clock or anything), and it doesn't even feel like winter yet.

Well, it didn't... until I made these brownies. These brownies taste exactly like Christmas. If you close your eyes while biting into one, you can easily imagine the world blanketed in a beautiful layer of white snow, lights up everywhere, and a warm feeling will start to grow in your chest (its your heart growing), I promise.

And if you don't get a healthy dose of Christmas Spirit from these (Think of them as Christmas Spirit vitamins. 100% of your Daily Value.), then at least you have some of the best brownies I've ever put in my mouth, so you're welcome.

-Audrey

 

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Flourless Peppermint Hot Chocolate Brownies 

Yield: 9x13 pan (2/3 recipe for 8x8 pan)

Ingredients
9 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 c. + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped*
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
4.5 tbsp. cornstarch
 ¼ +1/8 tsp. salt
Peppermint Andes Mint Baking Chips (Found at the grocery or here)
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon peppermint extract + ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 in. pan with foil, then lightly spray or butter, set aside.
2.    In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract.
3.    Using a mesh sieve (or a sifter), sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch into the saucepan, then add the salt. Stir together, then beat the batter vigorously for 1-2 minutes. I like to use a hand mixer for this on a medium speed. Beat until the batter is smooth and shiny. Fold in the peppermint andes mints. (I specifically didn't give an amount because I want you to use as much as your heart desires. There is really no such thing as too much. I used basically a whole bag.)
4.    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the brownies are set in the center, taking care not to over bake. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 45 minutes before removing and slicing.
5.    For the frosting: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, marshmallow creme, vanilla, and cream on medium speed until completely smooth. Add 2 cups confectioners' sugar and the salt slowly with the mixer running on low, then increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute. If it looks too thin, add 1/4 cup more confectioners' sugar. Frost cooled brownies.

 

Brownies adapted from Life Made Simple Bakes; Frosting adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction