Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fudge Brownies with Andes Mint Buttercream

Against my will, or maybe I should say, in spite of how I would most enjoy spending a Sunday, I will be going to a Super Bowl party this weekend.  And it's not that I don't enjoy spending time with my friends, but when the event centers around football, then I feel like I might literally die of boredom.

I have to satisfy myself by dreaming of all the things I'd rather be doing - much like my fantasies of riding through Scottish moors on horseback and being rescued by a ruggedly handsome fisherman who would take me back to his castle where my room would even have its own crackling fire in a huge stone fireplace - these fantasies were my escape from many long church services in high school.

I'm not into football.  Or sports in general.  The fact that the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl and I live in Denver should mean something to me, maybe...  but it doesn't.  Not even one tiny little bit.  Last year, I fell asleep while the game charged noisily on around me.  The whole ordeal - and yes, it's an ordeal - feels a bit like I'm being punished for something, except that I don't know what I did wrong to deserve it.

But I will go, so as not to be anti-social, and sit and chat with the other non-football-watching ladies and babies in the kitchen while the men commandeer every couch and comfortable lazy-boy chair facing the big screen.

I might even bake something.

You know, to show how sweet and cooperative I can be, even when surrounded by all that cheering and screaming over something as meaningless as a football game.

I have - half jokingly - told Jamie that I hope our kids are more the artsy, creative type and not into sports, because I'm not exactly looking forward to spending every weekend either shuffling them back and forth to practices or sitting on a freezing soccer field watching 5-year-olds run around after a ball while I feign interest.  Okay, well, I'm sure if it was my own 5-year-old, I wouldn't have to feign interest and would actually be quite proud of them.  But still.

Just a few weeks ago, I baked these brownies for a New Year's Eve party since brownies are always a hit, and I've learned that whole cakes are just not the way to go at casual house parties.  People are afraid of being the one to cut into it and mess it all up.

But I actually like my baking to be thoroughly messed up and devoured and enjoyed.  Just not left uncovered.  Baked goods left to dry out uncovered is one of my biggest pet peeves.  So I think I might make some kind of lemon tart for the party, since it will not suffer in the least bit at being left out on the counter throughout the day.

But, these brownies, though, were truly one of my favorite brownie recipes I've baked.  Fudgey, chewy and rich, as good unfrosted as they were with cool and creamy mint buttercream.

They're the sort of brownie that compels you to reach for a carton of ice cream late at night and make a huge brownie sundae to eat while watching a movie.  But not football.

Please, no more football.

Fudge Brownies with Andes Mints

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
mint buttercream:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 package Andes Mints, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.  Pour the melted butter over the cocoa mixture and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Add the vanilla, and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg; batter will be very thick.  Stir in the flour, just until moistened, then the chocolate chips.  Spread evenly into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist, sticky crumbs clinging to it.  Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting or the buttercream will melt on the hot brownies (these are also wonderful unfrosted).

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat the butter for one minute.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder until moistened.  Add the peppermint extract and the milk and whip on medium high speed until very light and fluffy.

Stir in half the chopped mints and spread the frosting over the brownies.  Sprinkle with the remaining chopped mints.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen