I struggled to come up with a title for these, because they’re so much more than just peppermint brownies, and they’re not just cups either. I was inspired while browsing the internet the other day, and read a blog post about these – but then never bookmarked or saved the recipe, so I had to make it up based on my own informed guessing.
Ultimately, what you have here is a very Christmas-y dessert/snack, which will be enjoyed by everyone (unless they don’t like chocolate, but who has time for people in their lives who don’t like chocolate?). Brownies baked in a muffin tin (or silicone muffin molds), a hole pressed into the middle, filled with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. I mean, really?!
Even if you don’t me, you should know from reading this blog that I have a massive sweet tooth. Having said that, even I thought that one of these was enough to hit my chocolate craving for an entire day – and that’s not something I say lightly.
These don’t actually take very long to knock out, in the grand scheme of things. Melting the chocolate and butter and mixing it in with the dry ingredients for brownies takes 10 minutes top. Baking in the oven takes 30 – 35. Then, once the brownies are cool, the ganache takes another five minutes. You just need a bit of cooling time to allow the ganache to set as well. It really is a pretty quick and easy (and very impressive-looking) Christmas dessert.
You’ll be the talk-of-the-town at any holiday pot luck with these bad boys. In fact, I already know that I’ll be making them again to take to various parties, etc. And the best part is, you can make these without making them Christmas-based if you want to.
You could add hazelnuts, or make the ganache a peanut butter ganache, or sprinkle dessicated coconut. I’m getting excited just thinking of the different flavours that could be put together to make these babies at every time of year.
While we’re admiring these beauties, can we also just check out that awesome personalised platter I was given for Christmas?! How amazing is it? I’ve been thinking recently about investing in a few extra bits and pieces (crockery, platters, cutlery) to make my food look more exciting. I’ve also been looking at a studio light because I don’t get any natural light in my tiny apartment. But lighting might have to come a bit later, as they do cost a wee bit, plus the electrical transformer needed to convert from US voltage to HK is also a silly amount of money.
Either way, I was given some incredible food-related presents for the annual Elf Yourself Christmas with 4 of my closest friends. On top of the beautiful wooden block you see below, I received a gorgeous slate slab and a cake carrier!
There was only one book this year, and it was the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eat List – 500 food experiences to be had before you die. At number 10 is Dim Sum in Hong Kong. I think it’s safe to say, I’ve done that PLENTY of times.
So, ultimately – I was spoilt, and I have amazing friends. If you have amazing friends – make these delicious morsels for them. They’ll appreciate you even more for it.
115 grams 70% cocoa chocolate
115 grams unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
300 grams caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
140 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 regular-sized candy canes, chopped/crushed
150 ml double cream
150 grams 70% cocoa chocolate
1 regular-sized candy cane, crushed/chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a muffin tin, or silicone cupcake liners, well.
- Place the butter and chocolate for the brownies in a heat-proof bowl, and place over a pan of simmering water, until melted. Stir together until smooth. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool slightly.
- Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, and stir until well-blended.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture, and stir until smooth. Stir in the crushed candy canes.
- Scoop equal amounts of the mixture into each muffin mold, and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and bang on the kitchen counter, to cause the middle of the brownie to sink.
- Place back in the oven for another 15 – 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and using a tablespoon (or coffee scoop), press the back of the spoon into the centre of each brownie, creating a dip in the middle to form a cup.
- Allow the brownies to cool completely.
- To make the ganache, gently heat the double cream in a saucepan over a low heat. As soon as the cream starts to bubble, pour it over the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, and stir until all of the chocolate has melted and combined with the cream.
- Scoop the ganache into the brownie cups, and sprinkle with more crushed candy canes.
- Allow the ganache to cool and set for at least one hour before serving.