Thursday, December 17, 2009

Random Food Gift #6

Halfway there! It's time to start hurling random food gifts at friends, because Christmas is less than eight days away! I'll be putting up a new post almost every day (assuming technology is on my side). This newest recipe can only be described in two words: cool decadence. When you make these brownies and take a bite, you'll know what I mean. I made these for my friend Steph. She is a huge brownie aficionado. It's not uncommon for her to show up at a gathering with a pan of gooey brownies, or whip up a batch when we're hanging out at her house. So I couldn't choose any other friend than her to make these Peppermint Fudge Brownies for.

The recipe is from the Cooking Light Holiday Cookbook. The only changes I made were to use 2 eggs instead of a combo of whole eggs and egg whites (I hate wasting eggs!), using a whole wheat flour blend, adding a topping of minty fudge sauce, and sprinkling them with crushed candy canes. The batter is very, very thick. I almost felt like I was using fondant for one of those fancy schmancy cakes. You really have to put some muscle into it when you stir in the flour, and then you need to pat the batter down in the pan to lay flat. The texture of the finished product is dense and fudgy, and the mint topping totally completes the brownie. Give them a try!

Peppermint Fudge Brownies

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Earth Balance (trans fat-free margarine)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar (don't use turbinado - I tried it, and it wouldn't mix in well enough)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (or 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup half and half
2 tablespoons of Earth Balance (trans fat-free margarine)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate

2 peppermint candy canes, crushed

Directions:

1) Melt the 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Earth Balance and chocolate over medium-low heat in a saucepan, stirring often. Stir in cocoa powder, cook 1 minute. Stir in sugar, cook 1 minute (mixture will be very thick). Remove from heat, let cool slightly.

2) Lightly beat eggs in large bowl. Gradually add in chocolate mixture, stirring well with a whisk.

3) Combine flours and baking powder separately, then add to chocolate mixture. Stir well.

4) Spoon into greased 8 x 8 inch pan and pat down so that it's flat. Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 25-30 minutes (My oven bakes it at 25 minutes, so check it then -- if a fork comes out clean, it's done).

5) While it's baking, combine half and half plus 2 tablespoons Earth Balance in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until simmering. Remove from heat and stir in semi-sweet chocolate until melted. Spread over brownies.

6) Once everything has cooled, sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the brownies.

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