To inaugurate my return to the US, I wasted no time in getting straight to the kitchen. Ricotta gnocchis with rosemary, nutmeg, golden raisins, toasted pine nuts and chard came courtesy of Big Joe (formerly The Bearded Chef). For dessert I rustled up some rather delicious peppermint brownies. They taste a million times better the next day so make them ahead of time. If I was still in Ireland, I’d be using After Eight thin mints but because I am in the US of A, I have the chunkier York Peppermint Patties at my disposal, which by the way, are the bomb!
I had made peppermint brownies before using a different recipe. The first time I made them was a disaster: they wouldn’t come out of the pan. They ended up being a fudgey, minty mess on a plate by the time I scraped them out with a spatula. The sad thing was that I was working as a pastry cook back then so all witnesses to the event were a little confused as to how I still had a job. Anyway, the second time round, I popped the entire pan of brownies in the freezer for about 2 hours, after they had cooled a fair bit, which did the trick. No worries getting them out of the pan, plus the chocolate and butter firm up to fudgey perfection. I really liked this original recipe as it contains melted chocolate, not simply cocoa. But do you think I could find it when I needed it? Nope! The following recipe is the batch I just made on Tuesday. The recipe I had used originally can be found here.
Peppermint Brownies1½ cups butter, melted 3 cups sugar 1 tblsp peppermint extract 5 eggs 2 cups flour 1 cup cocoa 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 24 peppermint patties (1 bag usually has 25)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
2. Gently melt the butter using a low heat in a microwave or over a double boiler. Stir to combine the butter, sugar and extract in a large bowl. Add the eggs and beat with a spoon.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the liquid mixture and stir well until fully incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
4. Remove 2 cups of batter and set aside. Pour the remaining batter into the greased baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula. Place the peppermint patties on top. Take the 2 cups of brownie batter and gently but firmly spread it over the patties, taking care not to shift them around too much.
5. Bake in the oven for 45-50 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan. If desired, place the brownies in the freezer for up to 2 hours then remove and allow to come to room temperature before serving.