Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Homemade Peppermint Bark Topped Red Velvet Brownies with Chocolate Fudge Icing, White Chocolate, + Crushed Peppermint Candies

Homemade Peppermint Bark Topped Red Velvet Brownies with Chocolate Fudge Icing, White Chocolate, + Crushed Peppermint Candies
I come to you with a sad message today... it's the end of 2014, which means this is my last new recipe for the year :( But the good news is that I will be back tomorrow with out Top Ten Favorite Recipes: Salty + Sweet of the year... YAY!! This is by far our favorite post of the year because we get to reminisce and reflect back on all of the yummy food we were able to create, and more importantly, EAT. But before we get to talkin' about the festive Christmas-treat inspired red velvet brownies I made, let's talk about last night, shall we? As many of my followers know, my Mountain Man + I both attended the University of Alabama and are huge football fans, so we decided to travel down to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl/First College Football Playoff Game where our Crimson Tide is taking on the Buckeyes of Ohio State. We woke up early, drove all day, unpacked our stuff, and got ready to head out for a night of good cajun food, lots of booze, and even more shenanigans. And I know as I type this story out to y'all, you are probably thinking... Oh man, New Orleans, she got hammered, what if she was arrested, did she get any beads? Well, my friends, the complete opposite happened. We had arrived at the restaurant and just ordered our food, and while waiting, I went outside to answer a phone call. I opened the door and assumed that there were at least 2-3 steps until the sidewalk, but there weren't any, just one largeeeeeeee drop off. I fell to the ground, rolled my ankle, and crashed it into the cement sidewalk. It was so bad that it immediately started swelling and I had to go to the Emergency Room. So, our first night in New Orleans, we spent it getting x-rays, crutches, finding an open pharmacy, and finished by icing my ankle for the rest of the night. Do I have the best luck or what? I mean, I guess I just like to make a big fat freakin' grand entrance wherever I go. Okay, the depressing start of my NYE vacation has come to an end, so let's get to that recipe. My Mountain Man's family always has a huge reunion Christmas party every year, and I knew I had to make a festive dessert to join in on the potluck. As we all know, my borderline-unhealthy relationship has taken over just about every type of dish you can think of, but I had yet to make red velvet brownies. I made them with the all classic "secret southern" ingredients Mama Jones used to make her red velvet cake with... red food coloring, white vinegar, buttermilk powder (instead of buttermilk for better brownie texture), and just a tad bit of mayo to keep it moist. After you mix up the batter, dump it into a prepared baking pan, bake them, and allow them to cool slightly... then you whip up my mother's easy-peasy chocolate fudge poured icing and drown the top of the red velvet brownies in a thick layer of sugary-chocolatey-heavenly goodness. While the fudge icing is beginning to set, yet still a little warm, scatter a thick layer of chopped up Ghirardelli white chocolate peppermint bark bars over the top. The peppermint will begin to melt as well, and that is the perfect time to top the white chocolate with some more crushed peppermint candies. All you gotta do now is wait for the icing and peppermint bark topping to set and firm up before lifting them out of the pan and cutting them into squares. I really think y'all are going to love these because you get to enjoy everything... layers of moist red velvet brownies, melt-on-your-tongue chocolate fudge icing, the texture of set peppermint bark, and the slight crunch/crackle/pop of the refreshing peppermint candies. Go on ahead and try to tell me who doesn't love red velvet + brownies + fudge frosting + peppermint bark... you can't because it's impossible :) So, it might be a little late to make now since the holiday season has passed us, but I could eat these bad boys all year long!! Enjoy :)

For the Red Velvet Brownies:
2 Large Eggs
2T Mayo
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
2t Vanilla Extract
¼C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (preferably high-quality)
Heavy Pinch of Salt (or to taste)
1T Red Food Coloring (or more until you reach your preferred, desired red color)
1t White Vinegar
¾C AP Flour 
2T Buttermilk Powder

For the Chocolate Fudge Icing:
1 Stick of Butter
1/3C Dark Cocoa Powder (preferably high-quality)
1 Box of Confectioners’ Sugar
1/3C Milk
Splash of Espresso
1t Vanilla
Pinches of Fleur de Sel, For Sprinkling (optional; but we love the balance)

For the Peppermint Bark Topping:
1-2C Chopped Ghirardelli White Chocolate Peppermint Bark (depending on your preference on how minty you want the brownies to taste, as well as how thick of a topping you want)
Extra Crushed Peppermint Candies, Crushed (for extra flavor and a nice crunch)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 13x9 sized baking pan with foil (let it hang over top of pan) and spray with nonstick cooking/baking spray. Set it aside while you make the brownie batter.
2. For the Red Velvet Brownies: Whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and fully incorporated. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined.
3. Baking the Red Velvet Brownies: Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the size of your pan and heat of your oven). Transfer the warm brownies to wire rack and let cool for 20-30 minutes.
4. To Make the Fudge Icing: Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the cocoa, keeping the mixture hot. Add in the remaining ingredients quickly and beat until smooth. Spread warm icing on the cooled brownies, and sprinkle with a little fleur del sel (optional).
5. Finishing the Brownies: While them icing begins to firm (yet is just slightly warm), scatter the chopped up white chocolate peppermint bark all over the fudge icing until you have a thick layer that begins to melt on top. Since the white chocolate is beginning to melt, sprinkle the tops of that with crushed up peppermint candies.
6. Serving the Brownies: Once the icing and peppermint back set, lift the brownies out of the pan, using the parchment paper, and cut them into squares. Serve immediately at y'all's Christmas parties!

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