Hello, friends. I’m here to help you get ready for your winter bod.
You know what I mean – it’s the soft, mushy, body we all end up with during the cold, comfort food-filled months that start during the holidays. It’s the body that we drape in leggings and loose sweaters, layers and thick jackets, and maybe a sparkle or two because it’s not like we don’t care anymore, it’s just that… THERE’S SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. It’s the body that expands a little, maybe gets a tiny bit more pale and less muscular, but it always comes with a happy heart. And full bellies. I like winter bod.
I also like these brownies. Really really like them. I made these brownies a few times over the last few weeks, and I even included it in the recipes for the last BCAE Holiday Edition cooking class that I taught with my favorite bearded blogger.
A few comments from students, friends, and co-workers who’ve tried these brownies:
“I can’t get over how good these are!”
“You lied, these are not brownies, this is fudge!”
“This tastes like Christmas in my mouth.”
The base of this brownie is my tried and tested recipe for super fudgy brownies. There’s only a scant amount of flour, and I used dark cocoa powder plus a teeny bit of coffee powder for an intense chocolate taste (you can’t taste the coffee at all, it just amplifies the chocolate flavor). Then I let it snow with a very merry sprinkle of peppermint chips, on top of am extremely generous slather of cream cheese frosting. The result is a brownie that’s perfect for the holidays.
Just look at that frosting! It’s almost as thick as the brownie. I always overfrost, especially when I whip up my two favorites: dark chocolate sour cream frosting, and cream cheese frosting. The two have a few things in common: both are a little heavier (unlike whipped, fluffy varieties), not too sweet, and with a subtle tang. Both also bode well for eating by the spoonfull (#winterbod).
I bought pre-chopped peppermint baking chips (got a bag of Andes at Target), but you can also just chop up candy cane, or even use mint chocolate chips. I love Andes mints, especially straight from the freezer or just chilled. These brownies are great chilled, too. And pairs very nicely with a glass of red wine. Or red wine sangria. Mmm-mmm.
Cream Cheese and Peppermint Crunch Brownies
1 1/4 sticks butter, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Andes peppermint crunch baking chips
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Make the brownie base. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter, eggs, sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, chocolate extract, and coffee.
- Mix well, then stir in flour and salt. Whisk together until smooth.
- Spread brownie batter in a foil-lined and buttered 8x8 pan.
- Bake 22-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in brownie comes out clean. Let cool completely.
- While brownies are baking, make the frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Mix until smooth and well blended. Stir in confectioners' sugar, and continue mixing until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.
- Frost brownies, and sprinkle with peppermint crunch chips. Chill for an additional hour or so, if you prefer, before cutting and serving.
I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season, whether you’re in winter or not. This year, I’ll be spending the holidays in tropical bliss in the Philippines. But don’t you worry, I am still eating all the brownies.