Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peppermint Brownies

 Adapted from Annie's Eats.

Happy *almost* New Year everyone! I hope your Christmas was wonderful, and full of great food! I know ours was, and I'm still in shock that I somehow still fit into my skinny jeans. ;-) I have to say this year was wonderful, watching the Farming Tot really get into his presents for the first time... I almost wish you all could've seen his enthusiasm on Christmas Morning, it really gives you a wonderful sense of Christmas spirit to watch a little child enjoy this holiday in a way he never has before. I assure you for him it was pure TORTURE that we made him eat his breakfast first, now I did make cinnamon rolls which he does love, but that didn't matter in the least bit. All he wanted was those presents!

Farming tot itching to open his gifts!

 For the first time ever I got the privilege of making our own Christmas dinner, and let me tell you, I was a little nervous but extremely excited! It's been years since both the Farming Hubby and I could smell a turkey cooking while we opened our presents, it was wonderful! Now I am really itching to share this new Turkey recipe with you and I invented *the juiciest turkey ever coming soon!*, but for today I'm starting with the desserts, because let's face it, they really are the highlight of the holiday meals, and if you're anything like our family you have plans for New Years too and I highly suggest this delicious brownie as a wonderful addition to your New Years Feast! It was a huge hit at our family Christmas party on Sunday, and there were hardly any left. Now I will be the first to say that this is like a fudge/brownie/holiday treat, not quite your normal brownie in the least bit, but better if you ask me! I love Annie's recipes, she is quite an amazing chef. Unfortunately for me, where we live a lot of the time I have to improvise to make her recipes work just because the selection in the stores is horrible! But I hope that you'll enjoy my adaptation of this wonderful recipe!

8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1½ cups unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1½ tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 bag Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark, wrappers removed and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter, and heat 1 minute at a time in the microwave, stirring after each minute til smooth and melted together, about 3 minutes. In another large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until combined and add in the chocolate mixture until well blended. Whisk in the peppermint, vanilla and salt. Then add in the flour until just incorporated. Pour half the batter into your lined baking dish, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the batter, and then pour remaining batter on top. Bake about 30-35 minutes. While baking remove the peppermint bark from their wrappers and do a rough chop. Once the brownies are cooked, evenly sprinkle the bark on top of the brownies and return to the oven for about 2 minutes until slightly melted into the brownies. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack, chill until hard and then cut into squares. *Tip* to cut them smoothly, take a large knife and run it through some warm water before cutting into the brownies, repeat after each row so that you always start cutting with a clean knife.* These can be made a couple days ahead of time and kept in the fridge.

These were a huge hit! The peppermint is not overwhelming, more of a slight accent flavor, which was a wonderful addition to our meal. The original recipe calls for the Hershey's Peppermint Kisses, but I could not find these ANYWHERE in our town, so if you can find them they would be wonderful on top instead of the bark, but both ways I'm sure would be wonderful and I know the kisses would be cheaper! 5 stars.

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