My family doesn’t really “do” Christmas in the traditional sense. We don’t get a tree, exchange gifts, or have huge family gatherings. But each year, the holiday season is still something I look forward to. I love the cheer as San Francisco decks itself out in lights, and the extra days everyone gets off of work. It’s a time to relax, reflect, and make resolutions for the upcoming year.
I also look forward to all the non-traditions my family has created for this season. During Christmas week, we do everything from watch zealous Bollywood movies to ordering takeout Panda Express. My role? Bake as much holiday thangs as possible to bring to all the friend and family gatherings – because with relaxation and reflection comes hunger, and we all gotta nom and stay warm somehow.
When I’ve got three holiday parties a week and I need to bust a dessert out ASAP, brownies are always my way to go. Good quality chocolate, fudge for days, and easy prep and cleanup are the names of all the games. For holiday time, it’s easy to mix in anything you like – in this case, candy canes.
The thing with candy canes is that when they bake, they turn into melted sugar. That means they’re extremely hot to eat and get stuck in your teeth as they cool down. My solution is to smash them in a food processor first so they turn into powder! This way, they add more peppermint flavor throughout the brownies and you can focus on eating as many as possible, not burning your mouth.
What are your holiday traditions/non-traditions?
- 6 oz chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 7.2 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2.75 oz (1/2 cup) AP flour
- 1 packet of candy canes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray and line 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper.
- Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until everything is well combined.
- While the chocolate and butter are melting, combine the flour, salt, and cocoa powder and set aside. Break the candy canes so they fit into the container of the food processor and pulverize until a rough powder. Set aside until ready to use.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla, oil, and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
- Once the chocolate and butter and melted and smooth, SLOWLY pour them into the egg mixture while the mixer is running on medium. Go slowly as to not cook the eggs. Use a spatula to get the last part of the chocolate into the bowl and stir until combined.
- With the mixer on low, stir in the flour mixture and half of the powdered candy canes until just combined.
- Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining half of the powdered candy canes.
- Bake for 25-32 minutes until the center comes out almost clean. Cool to room temperature before serving.
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