Peppermint Bark Brownies are a wonderful holiday treat. A dark fudgy brownie is topped with a thick layer of homemade peppermint bark.
Awhile back my search for the perfect all-purpose brownie ended when I found a recipe for Chocolate Brownies in my beloved Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. I overlooked it for a long time because my husband always made such good brownies, we didn’t really need another recipe. They are hands-down the best brownies I’ve ever tasted!
The process is the unique part. Eggs and sugar are beaten with an electric mixer for ten minutes on high. The result is a pale, thick confection to which melted chocolate and butter are added, followed by flour. It’s a marvel in texture. I can only assume it comes from beating the eggs and sugar for so long.
But as I wrote in my Kitchen Q&A post about these brownies, the recipe you use for the brownie layer is up to you. If you have a recipe you make all the time and love–by all means use it. I assume that it will work well with a packaged mix as well.
Whatever you do, be sure to use real white chocolate that says “cocoa butter” on the ingredient list, not “palm kernel oil.” You can find real white chocolate chips at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Ghirardelli or Guittard white chips are okay in a pinch. Otherwise, Baker’s makes a good white chocolate for baking, and bulk white chocolate (NOT almond bark) from any of the high end chocolate makers (Guittard, Callebrut, Schaffenburger,etc.) is, of course, fantastic.
Bittersweet or semi-sweet is perfect for the chocolate layer. Milk chocolate is way too sweet. The better the chocolate, the better the brownie – really. Chips are easiest to use because they melt quickly, but you can use chopped bar chocolate as well. Our favorite bar to use is a dark chocolate Pound Plus bar from Trader Joe’s.
Candy canes or starlight mints can be used. I don’t recommend chopping them in a food processor. Instead I like taking my aggression out on them using my kitchen mallet. :)
These Peppermint Bark Brownies have turned into quite a legend in our family and circle of friends, and are the favorite of many of you dear readers. I love that! I love hearing that they’ve become a part of your holiday traditions too!
- For Brownie Layer:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 3½ cups white sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- For the Peppermint Bark Topping:
- 11 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 11-12 ounces white chocolate (see notes)
- 5-6 candy canes or 2 dozen starlight peppermint candies, crushed
- For brownie layer: Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Line with foil or parchment paper leaving some overhang on each side to use as handles. If using foil, grease well with butter.
- Melt butter and chocolate in a double-boiler or on 50% power in the microwave--being careful not to burn the chocolate.
- Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs for 10 minutes on high speed. The mixture will be very thick and light in color. With the mixer running on low, add the melted chocolate. Stop and scrape down sides.
- Add the flour and mix on low until well-combined. Remove bowl from mixer and use a large spatula to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Stir a few more times with the spatula to incorporate any streaks of flour.
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean.
- For the peppermint bark topping: Sprinkle the chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate over the top of the hot, baked brownies. Let them sit for a few minutes and spread the melted chips to the edges and corners of the pan. Let cool almost completely before proceeding to the white chocolate layer.
- When the semi-sweet chocolate is set, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler (or carefully in the microwave on 50% power). Drizzle the white chocolate over the top of the semi-sweet layer. Use an offset spatula to spread white chocolate to the edges and corners.
- Sprinkle the crushed candy canes or mints over the white chocolate layer.
- Either refrigerate or freeze the brownies until the chocolate is hardened. Use the foil or parchment handles to pull the brownies from the pan. Place on a large cutting board on a sturdy, flat surface.
- Peel away the foil or parchment from the sides. Use a sharp paring knife to score the surface of the chocolate into squares. (Smaller is better. I usually get about 30 brownies from one batch.) A ruler helps keep the lines straight. Use a large chef's knife and cut through the scored lines and through the brownies.
- Transfer to a serving platter or store in an airtight container. Store someplace cool. Will keep for several weeks.
-Use higher quality chocolate for the best brownies. If using chips, use Guittard or Ghirardelli.
-For troubleshooting, see THIS POST.