December 13, 2015

peppermint cream cheese brownies

The holidays are here!!! And there are more reasons to bake than my heart can hold! Classroom parties, neighbor treats, teacher gifts, cookie exchanges, office name it!

Of course, if you live at my house, any given Tuesday at 4:37pm is a good reason to bake. 
And because there are so many occasions for treats, I get lots of texts and emails asking what are my favorites! And this. is. one of them.

Peppermint cream cheese brownies. 

Let's take a minute to thank Jesus for Christmas and for brownies.


Before we go any further, it's important for you to know that my household has been divided between cake-like brownies and fudgy brownies. We have warred over this deeply significant issue for years. And this recipe has brought peace to the nations.
Lathered in cream cheese frosting and covered in peppermint white chocolate baking bits, these peppermint cream cheese brownies will undoubtedly be the belle of the ball at your holiday treat-giving events!

{makes a 9x13 pan}
-for the brownies-
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and remove from heat. Let cool about 5 minutes or so. While the butter is cooling, crack the eggs in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork to combine. Then to the melted butter, stir in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Then stir in the remaining dry ingredients until combined. Don't overmix the batter; just stir til it's combined. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 30 minutes or so or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean-ish but a maybe a little tiny bit fudgy. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

-for the peppermint cream cheese frosting-
1/2 block of cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp good vanilla
Several tablespoons of milk
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp peppermint extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add one cup of the powdered sugar and beat. Add another cup and beat. Then add in vanilla, a couple tablespoons of milk, and peppermint extract. Beat well. Add the remaining cup or two of powdered sugar and another few tablespoons of milk until the consistency is good - not too thick and not too thin. Perfectly spreadable!
Spread on cooled brownies and cover the top with Andes peppermint crunch baking bits available at most groceries in the seasonal baking aisle.

Hooray! And Merry Christmas!!