When it comes down to the epic holiday flavor war, I’m firmly on Team Chocolate Peppermint. Don’t get me wrong, I can still be friends with people on Team Pumpkin Spice, but I just can’t share the excitement over that flavor. I’m hoping that these peppermint chocolate brownies will help recruit some people to the dark (chocolate) side, but failure just means more brownies for the rest of us.
Now that Christmas is over, it’s a perfect time to make these brownies, because you can use up your leftover candy canes, or find some cheap ones on clearance. If you’re currently on a post-Christmas baking break, you can still grab a box or two and stockpile them for later.
Don’t worry, even if you’re reading this when it’s another time of year when candy canes aren’t available, you can still make these peppermint chocolate brownies. Just crush up those round peppermint candies instead of candy canes.
Use the money you’re saving on candy canes to splurge on good chocolate. There’s a lot of it in here, so you’ll definitely be able to taste it.
I think peppermint and chocolate is my favorite chocolate pairing, but it’s neck-and-neck with chocolate and salted caramel, or chocolate and hazelnut. What’s your favorite chocolate flavor pairing, or are you a chocolate purist?
Vegan Peppermint Chocolate Brownies
1 1/2 Tbsp flaxseed meal/ground flaxseeds
3 Tbsp water
1 cup (130 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (180 g) chopped vegan dark chocolate
6 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)
1/4 cup (40 mL) agave syrup
1/4 cup (40 g) vegan brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup (90 g) vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed and chopped peppermint candy canes, or other peppermint candy
Preheat the oven to 350F (175C), and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Let the paper hang over the edges of the dish a bit.
Whisk together the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl, and place in the refrigerator to thicken while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
In a medium bowl, stir or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Place the chopped dark chocolate and vegan butter in a double boiler, and stir until melted and smooth. Alternately, you can melt in the microwave in short bursts, stirring between heating. Remove from the heat and stir in the agave syrup, brown sugar, thickened flaxseed meal, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract.
Add the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and all but a tablespoon or two of the chopped candy canes.
Using a spatula or spoon, evenly spread the thick batter in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remainder of the chopped candy canes over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. After removing from the oven, cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift the brownies out and place them on a cooling rack.