Sunday, December 15, 2013

McCormick Spices up Christmas! (Peppermint Bars)

I don't know about you, but when I think of winter, and Christmas, and cooking, one of the things I associate with this time of year is the combination of peppermint and chocolate~ Thanks to McCormick Spices, I was invited to try out their peppermint oil in a recipe from their website, and share the results with you. I'm only sorry that I can't *really* share the results with all my readers, as that technology has yet to be invented.
(Please note, due to FTC regulations I must tell you that this is a sponsored post, but it was also a delicious post to prepare for!)

The recipe that my daughter and I chose to make served a dual purpose, as a treat for her youth group Christmas party, and a dessert for our Church Christmas dinner the next day. We made Peppermint Bars. (Click through the link to see nutritional information, etc)

The recipe is really quite simple, using a box of brownie mix, butter, baking chocolate, eggs, powdered sugar, candy canes, and of course, McCormick Pure Peppermint oil
First step is to make the brownies~ The recipe on the box called for a 13x10 pan, but all I have is a 15X11 pan, so my brownie base turned out a little thinner than yours might~ but I personally think that this thinner brownie was perfect! 
While that was baking it was time to make the minty buttercream filling to spread over the top of the brownie layer. 
The next time I make it I might tweak this a bit, as it wasn't terribly spreadable...
I ended up patting the minty buttercream lightly to smooth it over most of the browny base. 
The final step was to spread a melted butter/chocolate combo over the top, and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies. 

The finished product was quite the hit at both the party and the dinner~ 
Many people wondered if it was fudge or a brownie... it resembled both, but was just enough different to make it extra special. McCormick Pure peppermint oil has been a staple in my baking pantry since I was a kid, and I'm happy to declare that as far as I can tell, the quality is still the same. 

There are a number of other tasty Christmas recipes on the McCormick website~ things like Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies, Mulling Spice Sachets, Spiced Nuts, Egg Nog Truffles, and a favorite, Cinnamon Ornaments (There are also some yummy looking main dish and side dish ideas). 

If you are looking for a delicious dessert this Christmas and New Year's Season be sure to consider these peppermint bars~ they are extremely yummy, fairly quick and easy to make, and a HUGE hit with everyone who likes chocolate and/or peppermint, from young to old, boy or girl. 

Recipe from the McCormick Website: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package. Spread in greased foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan.
  2. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  3. Meanwhile, beat confectioners’ sugar, 7 tablespoons of the butter, melted, cream and peppermint extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled brownie. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Microwave chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in large microwave bowl on HIGH 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over top of chilled brownie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Cut into bars.

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