Christmas has never felt like Christmas much to us since we moved out here, at least not in the New England Christmas way that we’re used to. No snow, no fire in the fireplace, we usually just wrap up one of our potted citrus trees with some lights and call it a day. We don’t cry about though. We love our Christmas here! We walk downtown and get Chinese food on Christmas Eve, go surfing in the morning and basically just eat and drink all Christmas day, opening presents whenever we feel like it. There’s no agenda, nowhere to drive to, and lots of jingle cats to be listened to.
This year has been especially hard to get into the spirit because the weather has been really hot, and there are wildfires raging up both north and south of us.
I decided to make these brownies today to try and up the Christmas feeling. It is a recipe that my Grandma (or was it my Aunt?) used to make for Christmas every year back in Connecticut. I’m pretty sure they just used a box of brownie mix which is fine, but if you really want these to be special you’ve got to make your brownies from scratch. They’re really not hard.
The recipe below is the recipe I use every time I make brownies. It is an adaptation from a Real Simple recipe I found a while back and it gives the most gooey, moist brownies with excellent chocolate flavor. I think you’ll enjoy.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)
- package of Andes mints (28 mints) unwrapped
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Butter a 9 by 9 pan, and then criss cross two pieces of parchment paper over each other, buttering in between the layers and then on top of the paper. Leave some overhang on the sides.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl melt together the butter and 3 oz of semisweet chocolate. You can use the microwave for this, cooking in 30 second intervals. Let it cool slightly.
- Whisk in sugars, eggs, and vanilla into chocolate and butter mixture until combined. Sift flour and cocoa mixture over wet ingredients and fold together until just mixed. Add remaining chocolate and sit together.
- Spread the batter into prepared pan and bake 30-35 minutes (don't overbake) until just barely browning on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Lay Andes mints in a single layer on top of the hot brownies right out of the oven and let them melt without touching them. Use the back of a spoon to swirl the mint chocolate into your desired pattern and let cool a bit before cutting.
- Lift brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper hanging over the side and cut into 16 pieces before the brownies cool so that the chocolate on top doesn't crack when you cut it. Refrigerate in a single layer for the chocolate to harden.
- Using the parchment paper instead of cooking spray makes the edges and corners a lot tastier!