MAKE IT CUTE
Choco-minty peppermint fudge brownies
Makes 16 2-inch squares.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely broken or chopped
1⁄4 cup finely crushed peppermint pinwheel hard candies, plus
1 tablespoon more for garnish, if desired
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 1⁄2 tablespoons unsweetened natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder or Dutch-process cocoa powder sifted after measuring, if lumpy
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄4 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 or 4 drops oil of peppermint, optional
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2⁄3 cup unbleached all-purpose white flour
1⁄2 cup (31⁄2 ounces) chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Position rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing it to overhang on two opposite sides. Coat the foil with nonstick spray.
Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until fluid. Add the chocolate and crushed candy and stir constantly until completely melted and smoothly incorporated. Immediately remove from the heat; stir in the sugar and cocoa powder until evenly incorporated. Set aside until cooled to barely warm (if the mixture is too warm, it will cook the eggs).
Whisk the eggs, extract, oil of peppermint (if using) and salt into the cooled chocolate mixture until very smooth and glossy. Stir the flour into the mixture just until well blended. Turn out the batter into the foil-lined pan, spreading into an even layer, then smoothing out the top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 24 to 28 minutes; if the pick comes out with wet batter clinging to it, continue several minutes longer, then check again. Continue checking until just barely baked through. Immediately sprinkle some fine peppermint shards over top, if desired. Bake 1 minute longer, then let the pan cool on the rack.
Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, from Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett. Photography by Diane Cu and Todd Porter Copyright © 2012. Grab a copy of the sensational cookbook here.