This post is dedicated to my Aunt Jan, my mother’s sister. Aunt Jan gave me this recipe over the phone last week when I was visiting my family in Windsor for Christmas. Thank you, Aunt Jan! You are my cooking and baking heroine!
*This recipe is adapted from a cookbook published by the Art Gallery of Windsor.
My best friend Erica and I reunited for the first time since Christmas Eve Day. We decided to bake together again. Since it is a seasonal recipe, we agreed to bake the “Candy Cane Brownie” recipe that Aunt Jan had shared with me.
RECIPE: CANDY CANE BROWNIES
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chopped)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chopped)
*Note: Erica purchased special baking chocolate for us. It is called “Baker’s Chocolate.” It comes with 8 individually wrapped chocolate squares, one ounce each. I loved this baking chocolate, as we just unwrapped the squares and melted them in my pot, instead of having to chop or grate the chocolate beforehand.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs (Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author of the award-winning cookbook “The Joy of Vegan Baking” – one of my Christmas presents from my parents – recommends vegan alternatives to eggs. The option that we used is silken tofu. 1/4 cup silken tofu is equivalent to 1 egg. Therefore, we used 1 cup of silken tofu.)
2/3 cup butter (I will research a vegan alternative. My cookbooks recommend “vegan butter,” which I will try to find.)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour (We used my specialty cake and pastry flour from Eden Mills, a popular local flour mill located in Arva, just north of London.)
1 teaspoon salt (I never cook or bake with salt. I read that sea salt is healthier than regular, refined salt. Mom gave me sea salt months ago. We used it today. I highly recommend NOT using sea salt. I added more chocolate to compensate for the salty ocean taste I discovered when taste-testing our brownies.)
2/3 cups mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed candy cane
(Unfortunately, Erica and I could not find candy canes at the grocery store today. I found Christmas mints for us to use as an alternative. When I tried to crush the mints, they were as hard as rocks…literally. Then I figured I would microwave them for 20 seconds to soften them. They were still too hard to crush. Then I decided to microwave them for another 30 seconds. Around the 25 second mark, half of them actually EXPLODED in my microwave, which scared me and made me scream! Lastly, I decided to heat the Christmas mints on the stove on low heat to try to melt them. I added a little bit of vanilla almond milk to prevent the candy from burning. After heating the candy of the stove for about 10 minutes and using my new potato masher to smash the candy, with Erica’s help, we finally melted the candy! I added two more ounces of unsweetened chocolate to the melted candy to compensate for the aforementioned sea salt problem.)
2/3 cups mini- chocolate chips
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
(I forgot to buy parchment paper so Erica just added vegetable oil to my baking pan.)
*I should mention that we used my beautiful new cherry red ceramic baking pan that I purchased along with another 5 cherry red ceramic baking pans during the Boxing Day week sale at Stokes, a Canadian cooking/kitchen store. I’m super excited about my wonderful new bakeware set!
In saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together butter, semi-sweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate.
Take chocolate mixture off the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes.
Whisk in sugar, then silken tofu (or eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition).
Whisk in vanilla.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour and salt.
Transfer brownie mixture into prepared pan.
Bake in centre of 350 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes.
After cooking, sprinkle candy cane pieces and chocolate chips on top of brownies.
(Note: As I mentioned, we had a melted Christmas mint and chocolate mixture instead of crushed candy canes. We decided to combine 1/2 of the candy/chocolate mixture into the brownies and add the remaining 1/2 on top along with the chocolate chips.
Return to oven for 30 -60 seconds.
Remove from oven and let brownies cool completely on a cooling rack.
Refrigerate for 1 hour to cool.
Cut brownies into squares.