PEPPERMINT TRUFFLE BROWNIES
Nonstick cooking spray
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup crushed peppermint candies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving overhang. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Combine 6 ounces chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Alternately, melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every minute until melted and smooth. Cool chocolate mixture until lukewarm, 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt in large bowl to blend. Stir in chocolate mixture, then flour. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack and let brownies cool completely.
Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add remaining 6 ounces chocolate to hot cream and let stand 5 minutes to soften, then whisk until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate ganache over brownie sheet in pan and spread to cover completely. Let ganache topping cool slightly before sprinkling with crushed peppermint candies. Let stand at cool room temperature until topping is set, about 4 hours. Using foil as aid, lift brownie sheet from pan. Fold down foil edges. Using large sharp knife, cut brownie sheet into 25 squares, wiping knife with hot moist cloth after each cut. Arrange brownies on platter and serve.
I saw these truffle brownies awhile back and thought they might be fun for the holidays with a little peppermint topping. They require just a bit more effort than regular brownies, but anything with a ganache topping is worth it, in my opinion! I typically refrigerate mine to get the ganache to set. Honestly, they take about as long to cut as they do to prepare, just because they're so moist and gooey, but don't let that dissuade you from making them. Just be sure to follow the instructions to wipe your knife between cuts. Don't skip lining your pan with foil either. Although this only makes a 9-inch pan, these are rich enough that you can cut them into servings about one inch square. Of course, you can always leave out the peppermint for a plain chocolate version too. I find the peppermint gets a little soft and gooey over time, so if you make these ahead, add the crushed peppermint just before serving. The ganache should still be soft enough that the peppermint will hold.
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