I'm thinking about Thanksgiving, which makes me think of Christmas, and Christmas baking, which makes me think about peppermint brownies. Chocolate and peppermint are an unbeatable combination. The taste always says Christmas!
I'm looking forward to some precious cooking-baking time with our granddaughters when they're out on break and home from college.
A couple of years ago, when our oldest granddaughter was home from college, we made some fancy cookies. The recipes were from some of my favorite food bloggers, and they turned out fantastic.
Here's the deal, though. I'll forever be plain old always-in-a-hurry, Betty. My mom says I was born that way, but my need for speed was marinated in years of working full-time, owning businesses, and commuting.
Everything had to be fast, or it didn't get done. So, I learned to streamline a lot of things. I'll bet there are lots of people out there nodding and thinking, "Yeah, me too." I relate to you!
These amazing peppermint brownies start with a boxed brownie mix! Yes! What does that mean? For starters, you only need a bowl, a spoon, and a measuring cup. Mix the batter in no time flat.
I am hooked on using my 11" x 7" Pyrex baking dish for bars made from a mix. Don't have one? Do the math. A 9" square pan works, too. So does a 10" round pan which you could cut in cute wedges!
All of those pans have nearly the same square inches. You may need to adjust the baking time a little bit.
Pat the batter in a greased pan, sprinkle with sugar, and pop it in a 350-degree oven for about 12 minutes.
It was a great day when I discovered bagged, crushed peppermint in the candy aisle! I almost broke out in a happy dance right there on the spot!
Candy canes are tough buggers to crush. I always ended up with broken zip-lock bags and a mess. But if you have some pent-up frustrations, you can still do it the old way. Bam! Smack! Take that!
After about 12 minutes in the oven, pull the pan out, shut the oven door, and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of crushed candy cane over the still-soft bars.
Now pop it back in the oven for 4 or 5 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. The chips will melt a bit and stick right where we want them. See the little peppermint puddles?
Patience is the key here. The bars need to cool completely before you embellish them. But here's another thought. These taste pretty amazing if you stop right here! They'd make an incredibly good base for a festive brownie sundae.
But if you want to fancy them up a little, that's easy, too! I like to use my little old dime-store glass creamer to melt chips or make a small amount of glaze. It has a small spout, it's easy to handle, and it goes in the microwave.
Melt about one-half cup of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips with a teaspoon or so of shortening. Microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring in between. Don't overdo it. When it's melted just enough to pour, squiggle some lines of chocolate diagonally across the bars.
It will cool and firm up quickly. Then, if you want, you can do the same thing with white chocolate chips or white baking chips, squiggling in the opposite direction. See how pretty?
Once the squiggles are set up, cut the peppermint brownies into small bars. They are sweet and rich! So yummy!! Santa tested and approved!
Christmas is coming so fast it makes my head spin! That's why it's essential to remember why we celebrate it. Sometimes, I find myself getting anxious about everything I have to do. When that happens, I have to remember how non-essential all the frantic rushing and overspending we do is, and I do a mental and spiritual reset.
Let's take a deep breath before we go crashing into the holidays and find ways to simplify or, yes, leave some things undone. Let the real reason for the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas fill your heart. Life is hard enough without beating ourselves up. I'm sending you love, peace, and joy!
P.S. If you like the idea of easy and good bars in a hurry, here's another really popular one, Busy Day Lemon Bars.
If you liked this recipe, you are my people! If you like this recipe, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! It would sure tickle me, and I would be ever so grateful!
Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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