I've hardly done any baking for months and very little this Christmas, other than my first ever Christmas cake (which turned out really well) and a batch of gingerbread-flavour cupcakes for work. Before Christmas I was crazy-busy with work and just exhausted at the end of the day and then over Christmas we were backwards and forwards visiting family. On Friday 30 I had a rare day at home - between visiting my sister in Southampton the couple of days previous, followed by going to friends in Cheltenham for new year's eve. In between tidying the house which was strewn with Christmas presents and sale shopping, and studying for a professional qualification I decided I would do some baking after all.
I didn't have time to go out and buy ingredients and didn't have the time or energy for anything fancy (which is a shame as there are lots of festive recipes I'd like to try!) so decided to stick with something I know - chocolate brownies. I had bought a packet of candy canes just in case I did any baking - though I don't even like candy canes as they taste of peppermint, which I hate! But in this case I decided to make some of my brownies a bit more festive with some candy cane frosting and leave some of them plain.
To make about 20, you need:
1 cup butter, softened
150g plain chocolate
2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavouring
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
for the frosting:
200g cream cheese
400g icing sugar
1 box candy canes, crushed
The brownie recipe is based on this one for brownie buttons on Canadian Living.
Melt the chocolate and the butter in a pan over a low heat then set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 180C.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar until frothy then beat in the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the vanilla, flour, cocoa powder and salt.
I used a brownie pan like this Master Class Non-Stick 12-Hole Brownie Tin with Dividers, 34 x 26 cm (13.5 x 10 inch)but you can use a simple square pan then cut the brownie into pieces. I like this one because the brownies are a good size - a few bites - but the sides make it easier to eat them when they have frosting on.
Spray the brownie pan with cake release and fill the pan - if you are using the brownie pan you will need to do this in two batches. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes and allow to cool.
Meanwhile place the candy canes (cellophane removed) in a plastic food bag and bash with the end of a rolling pin until they are smashed into pieces.
To make the frosting, sift the icing sugar and beat with the cream cheese and spread on top of the cooled brownies. Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes.
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