Ok so first things first - Vittles and Bits now officially has a RECIPE INDEX!
Which I am super excited about, hopefully you are too. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while.
Now, on to the brownies. I originally made these a couple months ago for Thanksgiving, and while the idea was great, the brownie base I tried was not.
You see, I'm kind of a brownie snob.
I do NOT like brownies that have a cake-like texture.
If I want cake... I'll make a cake, thank-you-very-much.
No, I like my brownies to be very fudgy and very chewy. Almost like they should have baked an extra few minutes in the oven.
And while I find that this type of brownie is fairly easy to come by when using a boxed mix, brownies from scratch are rarely as good.
Are you with me on this?
However... I recently found a recipe from America's Test Kitchen that is as close to boxed brownies as I have ever made.
They are super rich and chewy, and the best part of these brownies is that (unlike the ones in the photo above) I was able to achieve the elusive shiny, crackly top:
(Don't mind the brown streaks - I marbled chocolate syrup into the top.)
Now if you are not into peppermint, don't fret. You can just make the brownies plain, without the candy, and they will still be delicious.
Or maybe you can chop up some Reese's peanut butter cups (or whatever your favorite candy is) & fold them into the batter.
Well, you're creative - I'm sure you'll think of something :)
Peppermint Patty Brownies
- 1/3 C. Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1 1/2 t. instant espresso (optional)
- 1/2 C, plus 2 T. boiling water
- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate , finely chopped (see note and related illustration)
- 4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted
- 1/2 C. plus 2 T. vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 C. sugar
- 1 3/4 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 t. table salt
- 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (*see note)
- 1 11 oz. bag miniature York peppermint patties (you'll need about 40 to fit the pan)
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Unwrap peppermint patties.
Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces, if using.
Pour half the batter into prepared pan and place peppermint patties on top. Pour remaining batter and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours. (If using a glass pan, which retains heat more, then cool in pan only 10 minutes before proceeding below.)
Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. (Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting to achieve chewiest texture.) Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
*Note: If you are making these as plain brownies without any candy, I would definitely recommend adding the bittersweet chocolate. But if you are using peppermint patties or folding in another type of candy, I'd say this would be optional since the chunks are pretty big. And FYI - America's Test kitchen's favorite brands of bittersweet chocolate are Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate L-60-40NV and Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar.
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen and Real Simple