By Katie Hartwig

As long as you have not been living under a rock, the  invasion of advertisements and décor in your local mall have probably given you the hint that Christmas is swiftly approaching. Christmas season is my personal favorite time of year. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing snow blanket the ground and twinkling lights surrounding houses along my street. More importantly than the decorations, Christmas brings tasty holiday treats to be shared with friends and family. One of the best treats you can find during the holidays is peppermint bark. This combination of white chocolate and crushed candy canes is absolutely mesmerizing to the taste buds. I have been known to make a mean brownie, so I decided to combine the two treats and see how it turns out. I promise you if you are looking for a holiday treat to share (or devour on your own. I will not judge!), this is the one for you. It does not disappoint!

*Note: If you want, using a box brownie mix for this is completely acceptable! However, I recommend making them from scratch because everything tastes better when it is homemade!


Ingredients:

2/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped

½ cup unsalted butter cubed

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

6 ounces white chocolate chopped

1 tablespoon shortening

5 candy canes crushed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Take an 8x8 pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, allowing some of the paper to hang over two sides (you will need this later to remove the brownies).

Sift your flour, salt, and cocoa powder together in a bowl and then set it aside for later.

Melt the chopped chocolate and butter together in a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30 second increments) stirring until it is smooth. Whisk in the sugar until it dissolves and then let it cool. Whisk in your vanilla, eggs, peppermint extract and then follow it with your dry ingredients. Stir it all together until it is well combined and then pour it into your pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When they are finished baking, place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

In the mean time, melt your white chocolate and shortening together (be careful because white chocolate can seize up very quickly if you do not watch it while melting). Pour the chocolate over the brownies once completely melted. Sprinkle your candy cane pieces on top and place your brownies in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set (they turn out better if you leave them in the fridge overnight). Remove brownies from the pan using the parchment paper and enjoy!