I remember a conversation I once had with my brother about chocolate. We were both pretty young, and he asked me what my favorite type was. “That’s easy – milk chocolate!”, I said almost immediately. “It’s so yummy!” He responded that his favorite was dark – he liked how it was a little bitter – and then said that he really didn’t enjoy white chocolate much because it was way too sugary. At the time, I actually liked the super sweet chocolate quite a lot. But I made a mental note that it must be inferior to its darker relatives – if that’s what Grant thought, then it must be true!
Over the years my tastebuds developed. As I tried my first oyster and learned to love truffles, I too acquired an affinity for deep, dark chocolate. Now I’m not saying I don’t still enjoy a good bar of Hershey’s, but it turned out my brother was right (as he often is) – soon, white chocolate tasted a little bland and cloyingly sweet.
But white chocolate always reminds me of winter, and it seemed like a particularly fitting addition to these minty brownies. I added peppermint extract to my basic, go-to brownie recipe, and stirred in some white chocolate chips right before baking. The bars are quite dark and rich with cocoa, so the sweetness of the white chocolate complements them nicely. A quick cream cheese frosting smeared atop and a sprinkle of crushed peppermint candies make these treats worthy of any Christmas cookie exchange. I bet that even my brother would be willing to sample a piece!
Peppermint White Chocolate Brownies
Makes 36 bite-sized brownies
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 10 peppermint candies, crushed
- To make brownies, preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In a small pan, melt together chocolate and butter. Pour into a large bowl. Whisk in sugar.
- Add eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine. Whisk in vanilla and peppermint extract.
- Fold in flour mixture in three additions, followed by chocolate chips.
- Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 28-30 minutes.
- Let brownies cool completely. To speed the process, place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make frosting, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and salt. Add sugar and beat until fully combined and fluffy.
- Spread frosting on cooled brownies. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.
- Freeze brownies until frosting is set, about 30 minutes, and then slice into small squares. Store brownies in the refrigerator.
- I think this concept would also work well with my favorite blondies! Simply add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract to the batter and swap the chocolate and butterscotch chips with white chocolate chips. Top with the same frosting.