I'm not typically a dessert kind of a gal. But when Christmas rolls around, that changes. I become obsessed with peppermint, frosting and anything chocolate. Typically I make quite a few different cookies and treats to share with friends and family. Making cookie plates to share has become a tradition in our house. There is always one cookie that becomes my “fancy centerpiece cookie” to place in the center of every cookie plate. This year it is this beautiful chocolate peppermint treat. I top a buttery rich brownie with a fancy meringue peppermint swirl. To finish, I add a silky chocolate ganache dollop on top with a sprinkle of candy cane. Life just couldn’t get better. Merry Christmas to me!
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup) or coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Challenge Butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large egg whites
- ¾ cup of super fine baking sugar (not powdered sugar)
- ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract
- Red gel food coloring
- 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons Challenge Butter
- 1 candy cane, crushed
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously spray a nonstick mini muffin pan.
Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
Combine, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until just evenly incorporated. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until evenly combined. Stir in eggs and vanilla until incorporated, about 20 strokes (no white streaks should remain).
Using a cookie scoop, place brownie batter into each mini muffin well. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and let the brownies cool for at least 20 minutes.
Reduce oven to 175°F.
Trace 24 circles using a permanent marker onto each of 2 pieces of parchment using a 1 ¾-inch round cookie cutter or cardboard circle. Place parchment on cookie sheet, marker side down.
Combine egg whites, sugar and extract in bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Be patient, this takes about 8-10 minutes.
Using a small food-safe paintbrush, paint stripes of red food coloring in the inside of a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain round tip. Transfer egg-white mixture to pastry bag; pipe coils to fill each traced circle. Pipe up sides of each circle to create ¾- to 1 inch-high swirls.
Bake until Peppermint Swirls are crisp but not browned and lift off parchment easily, about 1 hour. Let Swirls cool completely.
To make the ganache, place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour hot cream over chocolate and butter, whisking until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Ganache should be a thick frosting consistency.
Stir ganache, and transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch open-star tip. Place a Peppermint Swirl on top of each brownie. Pipe ganache into the center of each Swirl. Garnish with crushed candy cane pieces.