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It's hard to come up with something negative to say about brownies. Even lackluster brownies are pretty good—we are talking about chocolate here, after all.
However, if I were to critique the past few recipes I've tried, I might mention that some tiptoe just into the category of too rich.
Yes, brownies, when done properly, are intense affairs. Yes, brownies shouldn't dilly-dally around with faint whispers of cocoa powder.
But that being said, a brownie shouldn't be one-note. A single bite shouldn't overwhelm your taste buds. Rich and decadent are good qualities in a brownie, but I believe firmly that the flavor should still be nuanced. You should really taste the chocolate, not just sugar and butter. It should be fudgy enough that you're swooning a bit, but not cloyingly sweet or leaden. You should want to close the door, turn off your phone, and have a few quiet moments to savor it.
Enter chocolate's perfect match: mint. Adding mint (in two forms) to brownie batter offers a refreshing counterpoint to all of that chocolate. Cool and bright, mint balances out the richness of a very fudge-like brownie. I've always been a fan of chocolate and mint desserts, and brownies prove to be an excellent vehicle for both.
To turn up the volume on the mint, I used crushed peppermint candy (the ideal use for leftover holiday candy canes, in my opinion) and a bar of mint dark chocolate. Look in the candy aisle of a grocery store for the mint dark chocolate: You want mint-infused chocolate, not any sort of filled chocolate or truffle. If you can't find it, just use regular dark chocolate (60% cacao or higher).
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75 grams dark chocolate mint bar (I used Lindt; you can use regular dark chocolate if you can't find a dark chocolate mint bar), chopped
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (candy canes work well)