Kneaders Double Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

I have this friend. We met in high school when we worked at the video store together. She is AWESOME! We always had the best time together. Then we grew up. We went to college. One of us got married (that's me). One of us traveled the world (that's her). Through it all, we kept in contact. She is currently living on the other side of the country. She recently got married and is now expecting baby #1!! I'm so excited for her. Anyway, when I was expecting baby #3 and we found out about my mom's cancer, she happened to be in town. Since she is so awesome, she came for a visit and brought some of these beauties with her. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE peppermint brownies and these may be the best I've had!! Did I mention she is the best? I realize it is no longer Christmas time, but believe me you can eat these anytime and you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!

1 cup butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Melt the chocolate and butter in a 2 quart bowl in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring every 20 – 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted. Cool slightly.
Add sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix well with a spatula.
Add the flour and stir to combine.
Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into a buttered 13-inch x 9-inch x 2-inch baking pan.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Do not overcook. Cool.

½ cup softened butter, margarine, or shortening
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 drops mint flavoring or to taste
1 drop pink food coloring
(I had to add evaporated milk to this as well)

In a small bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar, butter and mint flavoring until smooth.
Add food coloring to make a light pink.
Spread evenly over cooled brownies and then chill.

Chocolate Ganache
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream crushed peppermint ( red and white)

Put the chocolate chips and cream into a small bowl.
Microwave on high for 1 minute stirring every 20 – 30 seconds until chocolate is melted. Do not over heat. Immediately pour over the brownies.
Decorate with crushed peppermint.

Do not refrigerate. Mixture will set up on brownies in about 15 – 20 minutes.

The chef's notes: Instead of doing the ganache, I just substituted chocolate frosting which I just made with powdered sugar, evaporated milk, softened margarine and some cocoa powder. Once I put on the mint frosting I put them in the fridge to let the frosting harden and then added the chocolate frosting. I think the brownies ended up cooking about 30 minutes instead of 25 - but your oven might be different. Enjoy!

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