Dark Chocolate Brownies with Mint Buttercream

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I have this friend who really enjoys a good sauce. Most of the time, whatever she is eating is smothered in some sort of dressing, or gravy, or jus–if you will. Some people shrug off a good sauce, but not her. No, she does not tread lightly when it comes to quality living…and condiments.

Live a little, I say.

Surprisingly enough, I think my friend’s sauce craze has translated into my frosting craze. I’ll cover just about anything in frosting; drizzle a muffin with some glaze; maybe even dip some macaroons in ganache when I’m feeling audacious.

And so- I cover these moist and rich brownies with another layer of moist and rich- mint buttercream heyo!

This recipe begins with quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped and melded together with butter in a double boiler (heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water, essentially). The double boiler helps the chocolate to melt smoothly and evenly as well as ensuring it won’t burn.

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While the chocolate is cooling off, we mix our dry ingredients (excluding the espresso powder) in one bowl, and our wet ingredients in another. Eggs, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract are whisked together until thick and pale. I added an extra teaspoon of espresso powder than the recipe calls for. I like a little more boom-bang-pow kick of coffee in my chocolate desserts…so sue me.

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Once the egg mixture is a nice consistency, we whisk in the silky chocolate. Look at that beautiful melody.

In go the dry ingredients, mixed until just combined then baked in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. My, my, it smells so nice as it approaches the last leg of the race.

While your brownies are cooling, gird your loins for step 2: mint buttercream. This buttercream is a mixture of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and peppermint extract. It is nothing short of kingdom come and highly recommended to be tested by the spoonful before assemblage.

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Ensure that the brownies are fully cooled before topping with the buttercream. I like to stick these into the freezer for 15-20 minutes before cutting so that my knife isn’t covered in a melty buttercream mess.

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The dark chocolate brownies are so moist and the buttercream so creamy, I find myself giddy every time I get to churn these out for an event. Bring a pan of these to a party and count your good deed done for the day. I hope you do it!

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Recipe adapted from Joy The Baker and “Brownies to Die For”

Makes a 9 x 13 in pan

DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES WITH MINT BUTTERCREAM

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

MINT BUTTERCREAM

6 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

8 tablespoons butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan, then line with foil and butter the foil. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In a double boiler over medium low heat, combine chocolate and butter, stirring frequently until smooth. Set this aside to cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract until pale and thick. Use some muscle, those eggs wanna be thick/fluffy. Gently whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture until there are no more streaks of the egg mixture. Add your dry ingredients all at once, mixing until just combined.

Spread batter in your pan, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center is clean. Temperatures tend to vary on ovens, so I like to set my timer for 5 minutes before the full cook time, and test every couple of minutes until there are just a few crumbs attached. This ensures that the brownies don’t dry out.

Remove the brownies from the oven, and let rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the brownies by the foil and place on a cutting board or cooling rack to finish cooling.

While your brownies are cooling, make the buttercream. Make sure that the butter is soft and the cream cheese is room temperature, or else your frosting could turn into a lumpy, watery mess. Combine all your ingredients at once in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat for 2-3 minutes, or until the buttercream is a smooth consistency. As soon as the brownies are room temperature, lather those babies up with your buttercream.

For the drizzle, I just melted about 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips in the microwave, filled a ziploc bag with the melted chocolate, snipped the corner off of the ziploc bag and drizzled just like so. The humble side of a fancy-looking final touch.

Try not to eat all of these, or Lord have mercy on you.

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