Moist and fudgy dark chocolate brownies, topped with a minty, fluffy cloud of mousse and studded with cookie crumbles (naughty) & candy canes (nice)!
I will be the first to admit how much I love fall and spice and everything pumpkin flavored…but I think it’s safe to declare pumpkin season over and usher in peppermint season!
Which I am equally in love with. I can trade my pumpkin spice in for peppermint mocha with only a twinge of sadness. After all, it will be back in 9 months!
Maybe 8, if Starbucks keeps pushing it. We may have PSL available by the end of July.
Anyhoo, in honor of December, all things cold, and the impending jingle bells, I’d like to introduce you to a tasty incarnation of one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time – these Naughty & Nice Mint Mousse Brownies!
It all starts with the brownie, folks, and these brownies? To. Die. For.
They are mind-blowingly fudgy. I made them three days before I actually made the finished products, and had them sitting in the plastic-wrapped pan with a slice of bread to keep them moist.
I was hesitant to use them, afraid that they would have dried out and not had the look I was going for.
I was so wrong.
They turned out absolutely perfect, and the espresso powder married with the dark cocoa powder made them so intensely chocolatey! I can’t wait to make them again so I can try them solo.
Though it will be hard to imagine a better combination than these with the terrifically light and fluffy mint mousse that sits on top of them!
They’re seriously scrumptious. All things chocolate and chewy and wintry and wonderful.
Imagine, if you will, a cold winter day. You’re inside your cozy house, fire crackling on the hearth, all wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket, staring out the big picture window at the snow gently falling to the ground.
A loved one brings you a plate of these brownies. You smile graciously, and with one bite, you’re simultaneously inside as well as outside; cuddling up and making snow angels, warming your hands while throwing a snowball.
It’s a little bit of Christmas magic!
Or…you’re arguing over who gets the last one. To each his own!
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 Tablespoon cold water
- 4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream, divided
- 1½ teaspoons peppermint extract
- 3-4 drops green food coloring
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- Crushed candy cane pieces and crushed Oreo cookies, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on opposite sides to act as handles. Spray parchment lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, with an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer fitted with a whip), beat together eggs and sugar for 4 minutes. Add in oil and vanilla and mix until well blended.
- On low speed, gradually add in dry ingredients until combined.
- Pour batter evenly into baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and edges of brownie have slightly pulled away from the sides.
- Allow brownies to cool completely before continuing.
- In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin into cold water and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Place white chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Warm ⅓ cup of heavy cream in a small saucepan until steaming. Whisk in softened gelatin, peppermint extract, food coloring, and salt until dissolved.
- Pour warmed cream over white chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds; gently whisk until smooth.
- Place ⅔ cup heavy cream and sugar in a large cold bowl, and whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
- With a rubber spatula, fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. When lightened, fold in the remaining cream until color is uniform.
- Working quickly, spread mousse on top of the cooled brownies, smoothing it into a thick, even layer.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, 2 hours - overnight.
- Top the finished brownies with crushed Oreo cookies and candy candy pieces if desired and serve!
How do you like to top your brownies?