In honor of the chocolate-mint combo that 99% of people seem to adore, I made these brownies. Even though they would never be my first choice dessert, I knew “normal” people would enjoy them, particularly at the holidays. The pretty red and white chopped Candy Cane Kisses melted on top dress up regular ol’ brownies and make them cute and festive for the season. The good news for me is that the mint flavor is not overpowering at all. These are still first and foremost a moist, fudgy brownie, and the peppermint flavor is more of an afterthought. Ben and I thought the balance was just right, but if you want more of a mint kick then double the peppermint extract in the recipe. Speaking of the recipe, I now know it by heart after making 8(!) batches for holiday baking. But really it was just 4 batches – I don’t consider an 8×8-inch pan of brownies to be a full batch, no siree! A 9×13-inch pan is more like it. And I don’t think your friends, family, neighbors or coworkers will be disappointed you made some extras :)
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1½ cups unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1½ tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 (1.55 oz) milk chocolate bars, broken into segments
1 bag Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses, wrappers removed and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water; heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the chocolate mixture with the sugar and eggs until well blended. Whisk in the peppermint and vanilla extracts and the salt. Whisk in the flour just until incorporated.
Spread half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Layer with the milk chocolate pieces. Spread the remaining batter evenly over the milk chocolate pieces. Bake 30-35 minutes.
Remove the brownies from the oven but maintain the oven temperature. Sprinkle the chopped Candy Cane Kisses over the top of the brownies and return the pan to the oven for 3 more minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Chill the brownies until the candy topping has firmed up. Slice and serve.