Oh hai. Let me introduce you to the reason I am going to be in a sugar coma all holiday season. BROWNIES.
Not just brownies, but the best-ever thick and fudgy and chewy dark chocolate-drizzled peppermint mocha brownies. Life is complete.
As my husband claims he is a hash brown snob (um, OK), I am most definitely a brownie snob. I blame it on the fact that I’ve eaten so many brownies in my life, my palate has become selective. So yeahhhhh no cakey and fluffy brownies allowed, if you even dare to call those brownies. It’s a fudgy, chewy brownie dessert club only over here.
If you’re in full agreement with me on the brownie thing (this is a rhetorical question, right?), then you’ll be oh-so-pleased to know that this recipe is based on what are by far the most delicious, fudgiest, chewiest and densiest brownies I’ve ever eaten. I stumbled upon Tessa’s recipe for ultimate brownies a few months ago and I don’t think I could ever make brownies any other way again. These are just too perfect. And though you can’t improve upon perfection, they taste pretty darn festive and fantastical with an added hint of mint and espresso flavoring.
The process of making these uber-decadent and delicious brownies is really simple, which deserves virtual high fives all around. I know this because my threshold for simple these days is, “Can the baby be entertained by every single toy she owns strewn across the floor for five seconds so I can make this recipe?” And the answer to these brownies is, “Yes, by a sliver of a margin.” I like to think Avery sort of lost it towards the end of preparing these brownies because she knew what I was making and wanted in on that action. Like mother like daughter, obvi.
I even set aside my usual selfish brownie-eating ways by bringing these over to Lindsay’s house last week for a lil’ gathering, and though we all filled ourselves up on yummies like bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed dates (OMG) and the best cheese plate ever by Liz (YAS) and Lindsay’s chicken marsala (DEAD) and a salad and homemade bread (ERMAGERD), oh and wine, always wine, everyone managed to find room for these brownies, which are so rich and dense they’re like a meal in themselves. That’s true brownie dedication, and I knew then I was surrounded by the right people.
Although, I guess it’s not really all that shocking because fudgy/chewy/minty/mocha-y/chocolatey/all of the above.
If you’re not a huge fan of mint, you can always leave it out (but aw, sad) or lessen the amount of peppermint extract that goes into the batter — the amount indicated below along with the crushed candies on top does pack a bit of a peppermint-y punch, but I didn’t find it too overwhelming. As for the espresso flavor, that’s quite subtle — so if you want more of that, I’d suggest adding an extra teaspoon of espresso powder to the batter. Finally, and MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL THE IMPORTANTS — do not, for the love of Santa, overbake your brownies. Insert a toothpick in the center of the brownies and if it comes out with just a hint of batter and moist crumbs clinging, that’s just right. The brownies will continue to bake a bit even after they’re pulled out of the oven, and the end result — a slightly crackly top with a gooey, fudgy center — will blow your brownie-lovin’ mind.
Whatcha doin’ today? Baking these brownies and then inviting your friend Stephanie over is what you should say please kthanksbye.
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, divided
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 ounces dark chocolate
- Crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8 or 9-by-9-inch square pan with parchment paper; spray bottom and sides with baking or cooking spray.
- To a medium microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate chips, butter and chopped baking chocolate. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute, then stir. Continue microwaving on HIGH in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until mixture is just melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium speed 3 minutes until smooth, pale yellow and thick. Stir in vanilla and peppermint extract. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture, then stir in flour, 1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder and salt.
- Pour and spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with moist crumbs clinging (be careful not to overbake!). Cool completely in pan.
- Remove brownies from pan and cut into bars. To a small microwave-safe bowl add dark chocolate and remaining ½ teaspoon espresso powder. Heat on HIGH 1 minute, then stir. Continue microwaving on HIGH in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until mixture is melted and smooth.
- Drizzle half of dark chocolate mixture over cut brownies. Top with crushed peppermint candies. Drizzle with remaining dark chocolate mixture. Let set before serving.*
- *Brownies can be served room temperature or chilled.