On a cold, dreary day when baking seems like the best thing in the world to do, brownies seem like the best thing to bake.
A perfect brownie is pure comfort food.
When it comes to brownies, I think I’ve just about had them all: peanut butter-stuffed, cheesecake-topped, ganache-glazed, and cookie dough-filled, to name a few. Those are all delicious (and sadly, sugar-coma-inducing), but there’s something to be said for a simpler brownie that delivers big on chocolate flavor.
(Not to mention, there’s something to be said for a brownie that won’t leave you in need of a nap two hours later.)
Here I take a classic fudgy dark chocolate brownie and add just a hint of peppermint to give it a little festive flair. To make it fun to serve at a party or cookie exchange, you can top each brownie with something different; fruit, nuts, coconut, and/or bittersweet chocolate are all delicious. Or you could take it one step further and set up a brownie bar and put out different toppings so people can come up with their own combos.
And if peppermint’s not your thing, no worries, just omit the peppermint extract. If you like mocha you could add 1 teaspoon espresso powder, or for another classic combo, fold 1 cup chopped walnuts into the batter before baking.
That’s the beauty of a classic brownie recipe; it’s easily adapted to suit whatever mood you’re in.
- Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted, grass-fed butter, slightly softened
- ¾ cup (115 g) coconut sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (120 ml) full-fat canned coconut milk (stir before measuring)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (more or less depending how minty you like it)
- ¾ cup (85 g) almond meal
- ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Festive Topping Ideas:
- Fresh pomegranate arils
- Dried fruit, such as blueberries or strawberries
- Raw, unsalted nuts, such as walnuts or almonds
- Unsweetened flaked coconut
- Bittersweet chocolate curls or chocolate chips
- Fresh mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with 2 pieces of parchment paper so they hang over the edges.
- Cream together the butter, coconut sugar, and eggs in a large bowl, and then beat in the coconut milk, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Stir in the almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out with a few crumbs (don’t wait until the toothpick comes out dry or these brownies will be overcooked), about 20 minutes in a glass dish. (If you use a metal dish, the cooking time might be a few minutes longer.)
- Cool completely before cutting. If desired, top with any festive toppings you like before serving.
- Store any leftovers wrapped in the fridge.