Posts Tagged peppermint
Quick, easy, refreshing. Makes 2 quarts.
- 1/2 cup peppermint leaves
- 1 cup boiling water
- 5 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
Chop or muddle the peppermint leaves and pour the boiling water over them; let sit for 10 minutes. You may choose to strain the leaves out or let them stay – the mint flavor will be more pronounced if you leave them in, but some people don’t like stuff floating in their drink.
Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice. Add the cooled mint water and then the cold water. Stir to combine.
Pour over ice and enjoy!
The holidays are a time when you loosen your belt a notch and eat lots of tasty and fattening things that you’d probably talk yourself out of any other time of year.
I’m actually not particularly enthusiastic about Christmastime. I hate crowds, I find holiday music absolutely maddening, and Christmas movies make me want to gouge my eyes out with sharp sticks. I do, however, love to cook and eat delicious food, and I don’t think any other time of year can surpass the amount of amazing food you find around the winter holidays. Even Thanksgiving can’t hold a candle to the amazing treats you get at Christmas. Cookies, candies, pastry, decadent meat dishes…
My office is having a potluck to kick off our collection drive for Toys for Tots (an organization I wholeheartedly support, by the way – even if Christmas drives me batty, I think every kid should have a present to open), and I volunteered to bring brownies. My brownie recipe came to me via my dad, who almost never cooks anything at all, but who I remember being the brownie king when I was a kid.
The recipe is very basic and very stable, so you can do a lot of things to it without ruining it. Here’s what you’ll need to make the pepperminty brownies I baked tonight.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 oz chocolate
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp peppermint oil
- A handful of crushed peppermint candy
Preheat your oven to 325°.
The chocolate I used is Endangered Species’ Black Panther, which is 88% cocoa, because I happen to have a box of the stuff and it’s a little too strong to eat straight. Baker’s unsweetened chocolate works great, and comes in 1-oz bricks. The sweeter the chocolate you use, the sweeter the final product, and if you prefer a more fudge-like brownie, you’ll want to stick with a very dark chocolate.
Begin by placing the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan or microwave safe dish and heating it until both are melted completely. Don’t let it get too hot, or some of the water will boil off the butter and it will make your brownies a little too dense. I do mine on the stove on a very low setting.
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and then blend in the sugar and peppermint oil. Once the chocolate and butter mixture has melted completely, remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit before adding it to the egg mixture. Once this is blended smooth, add in the flour in small increments until it is completely incorporated.
Pour the batter into a 9″ square dish, lightly greased or coated with nonstick spray.
Scatter your peppermint candy over the top. I crushed mine a little too small, so it mostly melted into the brownies rather than leave the little flecks of visible peppermint I intended.
Larger pieces would likely have given a more visible result, or dropping the candy onto the brownies just as they came out of the oven, although the latter might not adhere to the brownies as well.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean. Don’t overbake – these will come out very soft and gooey, and harden as they cool.
Let them cool for 10-15 minutes (if you can resist that long!) and then slice them into whatever size pieces you desire. I often bake brownies in a 9″ pie pan and cut them into pie slices and eat them warm with vanilla ice cream. 1″ squares work great for large gatherings.
These are very soft, moist brownies, almost like fudge. They don’t have a lot of loft to them (no leavening agents will do that). They’re incredibly tasty, though. Swap the peppermint oil for vanilla extract and you have the standard recipe. I often sub in amaretto for the vanilla. My dad used to swirl in chocolate chips or raisins; I’ve tried it with dried cranberries and really liked the results.
Happy holiday eating!