Whenever I need a little afternoon pick me up at work, I head over to the Starbucks across the street from my lab. I was never really into coffee until a few years ago when I tried lattes – mmm, just thinking about them makes me smile, and since a latte is mostly protein-packed milk, it’s a pretty healthy snack…..right? I especially love going during the holiday season because of all the festive choices – caramel crème brulee, pumpkin, gingerbread – so good! Peppermint mochas are also one of my favorites and I was inspired to make some fun brownie bites with this flavor combination.
I stirred espresso powder and peppermint extract into my brownie batter and baked little brownie cups in a mini muffin pan. As soon as they came out of the oven, I made an indentation in each one with the back of a teaspoon and then filled the valleys with a peppermint espresso chocolate ganache. After the ganache set, I topped them with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. Crushed peppermint candies would be a great garnish too. These would be perfect for a holiday party!
Peppermint Mocha Brownie Bites
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I used this one)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
24 tablespoons whipped cream (I just used a spray can)
2 1/2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
To make the brownie bites, heat oven to 350°F. Microwave the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwavable bowl at high power until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Stir until smoth, then mix in the vanilla extract. Meanwhile, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and then add in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt until a smooth batter forms; stir in peppermint extract. Evenly spread batter into 24 cups of a greased mini muffin pan. Bake at 350°F for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Immediately press the back of a teaspoon measuring spoon into each brownie to make a round indentation in each mini brownie bite. Let brownies cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack and let brownies cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the ganache by placing regularly sized chocolate chips, heavy cream, and espresso powder in a medium microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Continue stirring until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, microwaving 10 additional seconds, if needed; stir in peppermint extract. Evenly spoon ganache into the indentation of each mini brownie cup. Place in the refrigerator and cool for an hour or until set. Right before serving, top each bite with 1 tablespoon whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. Makes 12 servings of 2 brownie bites each.
Nutrition: 260.4 calories, 15.6g fat, 1.3g fiber, 2.7g protein per serving
Cost: $0.47 per serving