Monday, March 17, 2014

Have Brownies will Travel

Brownies packed in a tin - all ready for travel
Usually when the eldest visits from the UK or we visit her, I try to send home/bring her some baked goodies.  She was a little concerned about luggage weight this time since she was bringing back a bunch of books. I probably should have done cookies because they are lighter, but I decided to make brownies instead.  The boyfriend is a big chocolate fan too and I thought these would work. They are just ooey and gooey - the way brownies should be.  I hate brownies when they are cakey.  If you want cake, eat cake.  If you want brownies, they have to be gooey or they just aren't brownies.

I've made this recipe for brownies many times before using peppermint patties as the recipe calls for but I didn't have them. I thought perhaps I would do some chocolate chips.  But then I remembered I had some dinner mints and thought those would work.

Peppermint Brownies (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 stick butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (see note below)
3/4 t salt
3 eggs
1/2 c flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
25 peppermint patties

Preheat oven to 350. Line 8" square pan with foil - making a sling to easily remove brownies from pan.

Place butter and chocolate in saucepan over low flame and heat until melted.  Alternatively place butter and chocolate in a bowl in microwave and melt at half power.

Whisk in sugar and salt.  Add eggs, vanilla, and chocolate extract. Whisk in flour and cocoa.  DO NOT overmix.

Pour 1/3 of batter into foil-lined pan. Place peppermint patties (or in this case dinner mints) over batter leaving a slight border around the outside.  Cover peppermint patties with remainder of batter.

Bake for 35 minutes until set and toothpick inserted in middle is moist with some crumb. Cool in pan and then remove brownies by using the sling.  Cut into squares when completely cooled.

Unfortunately, they have changed the size of the peppermint patties bag and you need to buy 2 bags now (oh well you will have to make the sacrifice and eat the rest of the second bag).

They came out well but not peppermint enough. I think since the dinner mints are thin, I should've done two layers of mints. Still they were delicious - you know I had to sample them to make sure they were OK before sending them off.  I usually line the tin with plastic wrap and the brownies stay fresh for a few days.  A rectangular tin does work best - see eating all that peppermint bark around the holidays really paid off.  I have enough tins for many, many batches of brownies.

The original recipe does not call for vanilla. I don't know what Martha was thinking? I think the vanilla brings out the chocolate flavor more. Maybe I'm just a vanilla fanatic? But I usually put it in most baked goods even if the recipe doesn't include it.

NOTE: The best chocolate extract that I've tasted so far is from Star Kay White Extract. You can make the brownies without the chocolate extract but the chocolate extract adds just a little bit extra flavor. I generally use a little of the extract in anything that I bake that has chocolate in it. Why is it called "Chocolate Extract #18?" I don't know and what happened to the other 17?

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