Cooking on the Cheap: Fancy Schmancy Brownies

4

September 8, 2009 by skwishface

Sometimes I am a Baker. Sometimes I BAKE. And then sometimes, I’m in a hurry and it’s a busy Saturday and friends are coming over for dinner and the kids are biting my ankles and there’s still laundry to do and a house to clean and dammit, it’s just easier to put “brownie mix” on the grocery list for The Husband.

We were having a casual little dinner party, see, and my contribution was to be dessert. Plain ol’ brownies are fine and wonderful on their own, but surely something can be done to improve them. Something to make them visually impressive and extra delicious. Something …. minty.

Fancy Schmancy Brownies (cost: $4, prep time: 10 minutes, cook time: 20-30 minutes)
1 box dark chocolate brownie mix
16+ York peppermint patties
whatever ingredients the brownie mix requires (such as eggs, oil)

(for a printable version of this very complicated recipe, go here)

Name brand not required. Price difference is minimal, though.

Name brand not required. Price difference is minimal, though.

I dig the dark chocolate because milk chocolate brownies, especially when gussied up with candies, can get super rich and cloyingly sweet. Dark chocolate just gets fudgey and wonderful.

York Peppermint Patties are magnificent. They have a thin chocolate shell and a lovely, creamy white inside. And, as it  turns out, they hold up really well to baking.

Sure they've got cracks. Don't we all? Imperfections matter little when baked into chocolatey goodness.

Those aren't cracks in the chocolate shell. Those are flavor distribution points.

To start, prep the mix per the instructions on the box. The mix I used needed water, oil, and a couple of eggs.

Looks a bit disgruntled, doesn't it. Probably cuz it knows whats about to happen ...

Looks a bit disgruntled, doesn't it. Probably cuz it knows whats about to happen ...

buahahahaha! Vroom!

buahahahaha! Vroom!

The delicious aftermath.

The delicious aftermath.

Line the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. 9×9 size would work, too, as long as it’s quite deep. Leave a few inches of paper sticking up over the edges of the pan. Then pour in half of the batter and spread it out.

Little known fact: parchment paper is mildly infuriating to work with.

Little known fact: parchment paper is mildly infuriating to work with.

If you’re kind of eye-twitchingly perfectionist like me, you’ll be driven just a bit insane by the parchment paper’s stubborn refusal to conform exactly to the rounded corners of the pan. I seriously pondered running out and buying a new pan with 90-degree angle edges. And then The Boy shoulder-checked me in the back of the knee and I got over it.

Unwrap your Yorks and lay them out in the batter, in rows, overlapping slightly.

Like so.

Like so.

The overlapping is key – it will create pretty patterns. Stick with me, you’ll see.

Next, pour on the rest of the batter and spread it out to evenly cover the minty candy patties.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Ignore the York-shaped lumps. You’re cutting this whole mess up into little squares later, anyway.

Into the oven, following whatever the instructions on the box say.

When checking for done-ness, stick a knife or toothpick or something clean in the center of the brownies, dodging the York-lumps so you don’t end up with an implement covered in minty goo.

Scratch this picture and sniff the chocolate-mint goodness!

Looks like somebody used my brownies as a coaster. Several times.

Let the brownies cool completely. I know! It takes forever and they’re so warm and gooey and they’re RIGHT THERE. But for real. Wait till they’re cool before you cut them. The interior of these brownies is pretty volatile fresh out of the oven.

Once they’re cool, use the overhanging parchment paper to just magically lift your plank of dark sweetness right out of the pan. Then take a big ol’ knife and cut your brownies into pieces.

Corner piece? What corner piece? I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

Corner piece? What corner piece? I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

These brownies are really very pretty, and oh … so … minty. And rich! I recommend cutting them into fairly small pieces.

Plate them in such a way that the lovely stripes created by the overlapping Yorks can’t be missed. People will ooh. And aah. And never assume you used a box mix and pre-packaged candies.

*nom nom nom*

*nom nom nom*

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4 thoughts on “Cooking on the Cheap: Fancy Schmancy Brownies

  1. Sara Thomas says:

    These look fantastic. I moseyed over from Tasty Kitchen and promptly spent an hour going through some of your older recipes. I think I’m going to be baking these this weekend.

  2. kittenz says:

    Gonna make these for the church picnic on Sunday. That’s 3 whole days away… Your pulled pork looks yummy, too.

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