I had this great idea to make small brownies in mini muffin cups, topped with crushed candy canes. In my mind, they would come out of the oven slightly puffed with the candy pieces baked into their tops, eliminating the need for me to ice the brownie bites and sprinkle over the crushed peppermint.
But it didn’t work at all.
Oh, they puffed all right!
Puffed right out of the papers and morphed into strange UFOs topped with crunchy red and green mint. Well, sort of topped: the candy mostly sunk into the batter so there really wan’t much topping the little so-called brownie bites.
I’d made a full batch of batter and didn’t want to just toss everything in the trash. They still tasted great, so how could I save these?
I thought about it over the weekend:
- Break up the pieces and then bind them with some fluffy buttercream icing, and create ta sort-of sinle-layer ‘cake’?
- Chop the pieces and freeze them, reserving them to top ice cream?
- Make a chocolate-vanilla ice cream terrine incorporating layers of brownie bites?
- Moisten the pieces with milk or cream cheese and roll the ‘dough’ into small ‘truffles’, then coat with icing sugar or cocoa?
- Mix the chunks into a pudding base?
I discarded all these options; each had a flaw I wasn’t happy with, or else I just didn’t feel like try to create that variation.
But I still couldn’t bring myself to throw out the bowlful of crumbled brownies.
I’d already taken off all the papers and broken up the larger pieces; the whole mess was in a covered mixing bowl. So I whipped some cream and stirred that with the brownie crumble. I let it sit a bit to get moist, then, with a rolling pin, rolled the new mix into a rough square shape on some parchment paper and drizzled the entire slab with fine lines of royal icing, hoping they’d stick to the damp mass as the icing dried.
After letting the rolled and iced fudgy brownies sit an hour to dry out a bit (from all that whipped cream), I sliced it into small squares, and packed it up between layers of parchment paper in a cookie tin.
These brownie bites are very moist; minty with some crunch where you get a bite of candy cane, and rich – the recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar, plus I added nearly a cup of whipped cream.
If you’re interested in creating them – without the fiasco steps – see my how-to below.
Or, follow the steps below, but stop before rolling the damp mix onto parchment, and instead proceed to make truffles: roll 1-inch balls and coat with icing sugar or cocoa. It will stick nicely, not dissolve into the damp balls as I’d worried it might.
Adapted Hershey’s brownie recipe:
This recipe and method are forgiving: you can use a medium mixing bowl with a spoon or sturdy whisk, electric beaters or mixer, or even a food processor.
- 3/4 cup Cocoa
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2/3 cup Vegetable oil
- 2 Eggs
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 1/3 cups Flour
- (1/3 cup) crushed Candy Cane pieces.
Combine cocoa, baking soda, water and oil; add the eggs and sugar. Mix in the flour to make a thick batter.
Line or butter a 9 x 13″ pan, pour in the batter and spread it to fill the baking pan evenly. Top with crushed candy cane pieces.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Allow the brownies to cool in their pan, then break into small pieces, like gravel. Whip 1/3 cup of 35% cream and stir the cream and crumble together.
Tip the now-damp chocolate pieces onto a large sheet of parchment (or wax) paper, press the mixture into a flat disk and then lightly roll with a rolling pin until approx. 1 square foot. (The brownies should be about 1/4 inch thick.) Slice into small pieces, approximately 1-inch squares.
Cut and store in a tin or other covered container. If they feel too soft, leave the brownies on the counter for 1 hour to dry a little, but they will remain moist.