So, for a few months there this was my favorite brownie recipe. But over the weekend I revisited my old favorite brownie recipe and, well, it's back to being my favorite. Because it is truly amazing. I don't know what I was thinking.
Actually, I do know what I was thinking. That other recipe is so quick to make, and comes out more like a standard brownie box mix. No-fuss, simple plain-old brownie goodness. Something you wouldn't feel bad about scooping ice cream on top. Or layering in an ice cream cake.
THIS Peppermint Fudge Brownie, on the other hand, stands alone. With a deep cocoa flavor, fudge-like consistency, peppermint filling, and laden with chocolate chips, it would border on obscene to serve it with anything else.
The recipe is based on the King Arthur Flour fudge brownies, with a few little tweaks. Like, a homemade peppermint filling that brings it up to the next level. (Yes, you CAN just use store-bought peppermint patties. I did it for years before I started making my own filling from scratch.) They are unbelievably decadent, especially if you opt to use dutch-processed cocoa. These are a holiday favorite, but their popularity extends far beyond the winter months. (I get requests for these babies year-round.)
peppermint fudge brownies
[for the peppermint filing]
3 cups (13 oz) powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon peppermint flavor
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
[for the fudge brownie]
1 cup (2 sticks, or 8 oz) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cup (17.5 oz) white sugar
1 1/4 cup (3 oz) cocoa (I like to use a combo of dutch-process and regular cocoa, but both work well on their own in this recipe)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 generous teaspoon of table salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, minus 2 tablespoons (about 6.4 oz) -- strange, I know, but I've found this yields fudgier brownies.
1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Make the peppermint filing. In the bowl of a mixer, add powdered sugar, corn syrup, coconut oil, and peppermint. Beat at medium speed until it comes together. With the mixer running, add the cream a tablespoon at a time. Increase speed and beat until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.
Pour out the peppermint mixture on to a sheet of parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper in half on top of the filling and then press/roll it out so it forms a flat rectangle shape, about 1/4" thick. (This is not an exact science here -- see photos.) Place on a clean baking sheet and stick in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
Make the brownie batter. While the filling chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9" baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with cookie spray.
In a large glass pyrex bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, about 1 minutes. Whisk the sugar into the butter and return to the microwave for another minute. Whisk mixture thoroughly and set aside.
At this point, your peppermint filling should be chill. Remove it from the freezer and carefully peel back the top layer of parchment paper. Melt the 6 oz of chocolate chips, pour it over the peppermint filling, and spread it out in an even layer. (An offset spatula is helpful here.) Fold down or tare off the top layer of parchment paper so it doesn't flap over onto the chocolate and then return the peppermint filling to the freezer to set.
Continue making the brownies. Into the sugar and butter mixture, whisk the cocoa, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs until completely combined.
Add the flour and remaining cup of chocolate chips and stir well.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Remove the chocolate peppermint filling from the freezer and cut up into pieces. Peel the filling off the parchment paper and place pieces over the brownie batter in the pan. Pour the remaining batter on top and smooth out so that the filling is completely covered.
Bake at 350 degrees until the brownies are set, approximately 30 minutes. (It's hard to tell if these are done with the toothpick test because of the melted chocolate chips and filing. I usually judge brownies are done if they have that cracked crust running about 1 inch in all around the edge of the pan. You can also give the pan a shake and see how the center moves. It shouldn't jiggle, but it should still move slightly.) Allow to cool.
When the brownies are cool, lift out of the pan with the foil and cut into squares.