'Death By Christmas' Brownies
Posted on 12/25/2012 by sleepwalker41
I've made these in the past five or six years using two different brownie recipes, and I've provided both of them here. If you like a softer, more cake-like brownie, use the 'Best Brownie' recipe. If you like a solid, heavy brownie that carves into tidy blocks when cold, use the Fudgy recipe. Either way, these are just more delicious excess in a season of excess.
Fudgy Chocolate Brownies (from Joy of Baking):
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 large eggs
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray) a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) pan. Then line the pan with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk (can use a hand mixer) together the eggs and sugar. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and then fold into the chocolate and sugar mixture until well combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 - 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. These freeze very well.
Makes about 32 brownies.
Note: If you would like to make a smaller batch, simply half the recipe and bake the brownies in an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pan for about 30-35 minutes.
'Simply the Best Chocolate Brownies' by Marcel Desaulniers (*double this recipe if you choose to fill a 9X13 pan)
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into half-ounce pieces
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into half-ounce pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Lightly coat a 9X9X2 inch square cake pan with 1 teaspoon of the butter, then flour the pan with 1 teaspoon flour, shaking out the excess.
Sift together remaining 1/4 cup flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt onto a piece of waxed paper. Set aside.
Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium-high heat. Place the 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Heat for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes, remove from heat and stir until smooth (I usually do this in the microwave on low power for 5 minutes).
Place eggs, sugar and vanilla in in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip. Mix on high until slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and mix on medium for 30 seconds. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low for 10 seconds, then medium for 10 seconds. Add the sour cream and mix on medium for 5 seconds. Remove bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish combining thoroughly.
You will also need:
1 box peppermint chocolate sandwich cookies (Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joes)
2 cups heavy whipping cream)
4 peppermint candy canes for topping, plus whole for garnish if desired
16 or 17 ounces dark/semisweet/bittersweet chocolate (1 Trader Joe's Bittersweet Chocolate 'Pound Plus' bar)
about 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Enough peppermint patty candies to cover pan area (York Peppermint Patties)
Pour half the brownie batter into a greased and floured or greased parchment paper lined 9X13 cake pan. Top with a complete layer of peppermint patty candies. You may have to cut some in half to finish the last row.
Spread the other half of the brownie batter evenly over the candies, covering all of them to the edges. Bake for 50 minutes at 325 F if using Marcel's recipe, or 45 at 350 if using the Joy of baking recipe. Check the center for doneness with a toothpick or skewer. It may be tricky to tell raw batter from melted chocolate of the peppermint candies, but do not go beyond 50 minutes.
Let brownies cool for about a half hour. I had to do some trimming on the edges so my topping would be even (I've found this to be a minor issue when using the Fudgy recipe. Snack time! ).
In the meantime, make the ganache frosting:
Bring the 2 cups of cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Break up the entire bittersweet bar into pieces and add to boiling cream. Turn off heat, and stir until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and stir to combine thoroughly.
Pour or spread ganache onto mostly cooled brownies. Make the crumb/candy topping:
Roughly chop about half the box of cookies with a knife. Or crush them in your fists while contemplating the obnoxiously blatant commercialism of the season. Place the candy canes in a bag and beat with a meat mallet or rolling pin while bitterly musing on the cold and early darkness that only comes this time of year so near the 45th parallel north. But don't get too carried away--leave some recognizable cookie and candy pieces.
Sprinkle crumbs onto ganache while it is still soft, completely covering brownies. Dust with crushed candy canes. Stab brownies through the heart with a candy cane, or fashion a skull and crossbones on the finished brownies with cookies and crossed candy canes.