Sunday, December 26, 2010

Peppermint Brownie Cups

I'm not a huge fan of peppermint but when its in a dessert paired with chocolate, I can easily make an exception.  I've made these for a couple holiday events this season and they are so easy to do.  And very yummy, especially if you like chocolate and peppermint.

This recipe is originally from a Pampered Chef cookbook called Celebrate and they are originally called Tuxedo Brownie cups.  But I made just a couple changes to make them a little more festive for Christmas.

The brownie cups themselves are just a packaged fudge brownie mix plus the ingredients to make cakelike brownies (usually 1/4 water, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs).  Mix the brownie batter like you normally would for brownies.  Then using a mini muffin pan, put a small scoop of brownie batter in each cup, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake for 14 minutes, until edges are set.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  Immediately press tops of brownies with a mini tart shaper (or the back of a small spoon or even your thumb) to make indentations.  Let brownies cool completely.

For the topping, melt 2 ounces of white chocolate with 2 TBSP milk for about 1 minute in the microwave.  In a separate bowl, combine 1-8oz package of softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Mix well, then gradually stir in the melted white chocolate mixture until smooth.  Fold in 1 cup whipped topping like Cool Whip. For the peppermint version, I also added about a teaspoon of peppermint extract.

If you have a Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator with a star decorating tip, it makes life so much easier for things like this.  If you don't, you'll want something like a icing/decorating bag and a decorating star tip that you attach to it.  Otherwise, you could just use a spoon too but it may not look as pretty.
easy accent decorator from Pampered Chef

So fill your decorator or icing bag or whatever with the topping and pipe out a small dollop on top of each brownie cup.  The original version decorated each cup with a slice of strawberry and a mint leaf.  For my peppermint version I sprinkled crushed peppermint candies.  You could also drizzle with melted chocolate for either version! Then they suggest refrigerating them 1-3 hours before serving.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen and it can easily be halved or doubled for however many you need.  The brownie cups can be made up to 1 day ahead but the topping should not be made until you're ready to pipe it as it will become too hard to decorate with after being in the refrigerator. And a little side note: make sure you grease and flour the muffin pan before putting the batter in.  They can get a little sticky!

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