Monday, 24 February 2014

Candy Cane Brownies

Valentine Day came and went with good intentions, but little time and energy for fun food.  But don't we always say that Valentines Day is not the only chance in the year for love, hearts and fun.  So a few days later I finally found time to make a recipe I had my eye on.  It was a dense brownie with a white peppermint bark on top.  I might have been late for Valentines Day but not quite as late as I have been to use up the candy canes from Christmas.

Crushing candy canes is something I have never done before.  I will always remember my first time.  Bashing the candy canes in a zip lock bag with a rolling pin was fun but left its mark.  I hadn't thought about just how sharp the shards are and did this on our wooden table.  It still bears the pock marks.  Next time I will crush candy canes on an old chopping board or something harder.

I had seen some peppermint bark brownies on La Casa de Sweets.  They looked gorgeous (and were quite a healthy brownie recipe).  I had visions of cutting them into heart shapes.  However I wasn't so sure of the vegan grain-free version, especially as it had almond flour and I had a notion that I could put one into Sylvia's lunchbox (which must be nut free).  I quite liked the leftover candy cane brownies that I saw at The Creekside Cook.  It was an easy simple recipe, that used pantry staples.

I cut my brownie hearts as soon as the white chocolate had set hard enough to cut - perhaps 2 to 3 hours (I think I put them in the fridge because I was impatient to have them ready before Sylvia went to bed).  I was glad I did.  The next day when I tried to cut them, this is how they looked.

However, while the white chocolate peppermint bark crumbled at the touch of a knife, the brownie was fudgy and rich.  Together they made a pleasing combination of soft and yielding, the shatter of hard chocolate and the crunch of candy cane shards.

The mint flavour worked really well for me here, softening the tooth-aching sweetness of the white chocolate.  After all I grew up eating peppermint crisp - a bar of crunchy peppermint in a milk chocolate coating.  My mint candy canes only made up about half the required amount.  It seemed enough though I would try more if I had them.  I decided to stick to the red and white candy canes for the Valentine aesthetics.

In fact it was so delicious that I was surprised when E said he wasn't so keen on it.  He isn't really into the mint flavour nor the crunchy candy canes.  Hurrumph!  The proof, however, is in the eating.  And I did find that he was rather fond of eating it, despite his proclamations.  Sylvia also loved the slice.  She ate it by taking off the white chocolate topping and eating it first.

We did have some other hearts and flowers on and around Valentines Day.  Here is a little taster.  Meanwhile we have more candy canes left in different colours and flavours.  Perhaps it calls for more brownies!

I am sending this to Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for her Valentines Day Baking Inspiration event.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: NCR Coronationl Potato Salad
Two years ago: Choc almond slice, Valentine and Koorioberee
Three years ago: CC Cheese Hearts
Four years ago: Valentine Scones - raspberry and white chocolate
Five years ago: Valentine Day Polenta
Six years ago: WCC # 25 Velvet Soup from Nigellaland

Candy Cane Brownies
Adapted from The Creekside Cook and La Casa de Sweets

125g butter
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
2 eggs
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 plain flour (I used 1/4 wholemeal flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Topping:
150g white chocolate
1/4 cup crushed candy canes (I think I only had about 2 tbsp)

Preheat oven to 180 C and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Melt butter in a medium bowl (in the microwave) or saucepan (on stovetop).  Add sugar and cocoa, add in eggs, one at a time and then vinegar.   Gently mix in flour, baking powder and salt.  Pour into prepared tin.  Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out just clean (a few crumbs are fine).  Cool in the tin.

To make topping, melt white chocolate and pour over cooled brownie in the tin.  Sprinkle with crushed candy cane.  Let chocolate set before removing from tin and slicing.  It is best to slice when chocolate has just set - I think this was a few hours rather than letting it harden completely when it is more likely to crack.  Keep in an airtight container - ours kept for 4 days and was still good.

On the Stereo:
Picaresque: The Decembrists

24 comments:

  1. Love this, Johanna. Valentines Day treats should be good anytime and I think these look gorgeous. Way to go!

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    1. Thanks Janet - I agree. I am not good at valentines day but do love to use the heart shaped cutters occasionally

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  2. Ooh goodness these are adorable! I can almost smell the crushed candy canes and taste the chocolate/peppermint combination. I love it! I do believe I saw some reduced price candy canes in my village shop yesterday..... Thanks for linking up with my Valentines Inspiration hop!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth - I am a bit wary of the chocolate mint combination but must do it more as it has worked for me a few times lately. We were at the lolly shop recently and they had candy canes there but we still have a few left here

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  3. I was just looking at a bag of candy canes thinking what on earth I should do with them! And there you go!

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I found a few ideas for candy canes at christmas and I think this one topped the list - hope you get through your bag of them - the chocolate bark with the crushed candy canes is great even if you don't make the brownies

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  4. Oh, I love this! What a gorgeous and fun recipe. I love your heart cut out in particular but can imagine after the icing sets it would be hard to cut (well done on getting in for the heart while you could). Nicely, I think the mint flavours would help me enjoy the sweetness of the icing too, and I am pretty confident Mr Bite would like everything about it.

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    1. Thanks Kari - he icing would probably be too sweet without the candy canes but it was great together and the pretty pale pink was a little bonus :-) It was good to know I can cut chocolate shapes as I am considering doing some more for Sylvia's birthday - time permitting

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  5. I grew up eating peppermint crisp bars too - they were my favourite! These peppermint candy cane brownies are so pretty - I love the heart shapes. And peppermint and chocolate go so well together - I'll have to remember this for next Christmas when my little guy comes home from school with so many candy canes! xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie - I didn't eat much peppermint crisp but itself but my mum puts it on her pavolvas a lot - so I have great experience in crushing peppermint crisp and trying to sneakily take a piece before the pav is cut (but the peppermint crisp never massacred a table top like the candy canes)

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  6. I freaking love this! ARGH MINTY BROWNIES!! I am a little suprised they stayed in your house long enough to make them though :P

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    1. Thanks Cass - I wouldn't usually make minty brownies but the re colour and the desperation to use up the candy canes without sylvia chomping on them plain (as she would love to) was great inspiration and it makes me think I must do it more

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  7. Wow, I love this idea! It's an easy idea to adapt for gluten-free people, too, since there are so many great GF brownie recipes and mixes now. Thanks for the (literal?) eye candy, and for the tip on cutting the bars before the bark gets shatter-hard. Lucky family to have such a creative baker around at the holidays! ;)

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    1. Thanks Molly - yes this would really easily adapt to gluten free brownies as there isn't much flour in the brownies so you could easily substitute a gluten free flour mix or even chickpea flour (I have tried both successfully with brownie recipes)

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    2. Oh, really, just chickpea flour alone? I'm always looking for new chickpea flour recipe ideas, and I know chocolate can overpower mostly any aftertaste (I love the taste of chickpea flour—once cooked of course—but definitely associate it with savory food).

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    3. Yes molly, I have tried brownies with chickpea flour and it worked - http://gggiraffe.blogspot.com.au/2009/08/weekend-of-brownies.html - I also found it makes the best GF pizza base I have tried

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  8. These are so lovely! I've done crushed candy cane on top of chocolate fudge and christmas cookies, but the white chocolate is next level. I love it!

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    1. Thanks Little Vegan Bear - you sound like a dab hand at using up candy cane - I must try it in cookies next year if I have leftover candy cane or even if my other plan for the leftover canes falls through

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  9. Yes, crushing candy canes can poke holes in the zip-lock bag & whatever is underneath. You have to try them, at least once, by adding them to ANZAC biscuits.

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    1. Thanks Pene - I am intrigued at the idea - must try!

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  10. These are so cute! I don't think I'd have the patience or energy to break up candy canes with a rolling pin, so kudos for that.

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  11. I wish I can devour them - they look so pretty though with the candy canes! I love TruJoy candy canes, they are pretty good!

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