This past weekend, we had a big family party to celebrate my aunt’s birthday and the start of the holiday season. I know for most people, family parties are kind of hum-drum, with a handful of relatives sitting around a table and falling asleep in front of a football game. My family, though, is a little bit different. My Grandma is one of six siblings, and to this day they all gather for all of the holidays. Instead of one giant family reunion, this group gets together regularly. Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, Thanksgiving dinners were regularly a sit-down dinner for forty-plus. Although the whole sit-down thing only happens once a year, this gathering was still absolutely full of people.
When I was a kid, I would simply help my mom with whatever she was bringing to contribute to the meal. Now, though, I’m finally old enough to start bringing my own dish. Between the celiac disease within the family and my cousin’s vegan-ness, I’m always sure to bring something safe for everyone to eat. And what better way to kick off the Christmas season than with peppermint brownies to share?
These brownies were amazing. Everybody loved them – from the gluten free-ers and vegans, to the wheat-eating carnivores. Seriously, NOBODY is going to miss the wheat flour or the eggs or the butter. The brownies were fudgey in texture and rich in flavor. There was a perfect balance of chocolate and peppermint, neither overpowering the other. And the frosting added such a fun twist to plain old brownies. I’ll admit that they can get a little bit messy to eat, but then it just gives you and excuse to lick your fingers! Or you could use a fork, I guess, but what fun would that be?
Anyway, you need to make these brownies. They would put the Grinch himself into the holiday spirit! The only downside is that they will be devoured almost immediately. But then, I suppose that’s the price for baking deliciously addictive brownies!
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
Gluten Free & Vegan
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, separated
- ½ cup white sugar, separated
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp mint extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp flax seed, dissolved in 6 tbsp warm water
- 1 tbsp warm coffee
- ¾ cup gluten free flour, with xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 325. Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together applesauce, ¾ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup white sugar, and ¼ cup canola, until everything is incorporated. The mixture should be moist throughout.
- Stir in remaining white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix on low until it is homogeneous.
- Add in flax eggs and coffee, and beat vigorously, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- With the mixer on low, beat in remaining cocoa, flour, and baking soda. Continue to beat until everything is incorporated and the mixture is glossy. The batter will be thick.
- Transfer batter into prepared pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
- 6 oz (approx. 1 cup) chocolate chips (vegan if desired)
- ¼ cup almond milk (I used light vanilla)
- ½ tsp mint extract
- Measure chocolate chips into a heat safe bowl.
- In a separate bowl, microwave almond milk until just starting to simmer.
- Pour almond milk over chocolate chips, and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Add mint extract, and stir until the chips are melted and everything is combined.
- Allow to cool to about room temperature (if lazy like me, you can put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes).
- Using a hand mixer, whip the ganache until it is lightened in both color and texture; it will be roughly the consistency of a buttercream.
- Spread frosting onto cooled brownies, and top with crushed candy canes. Allow the frosted brownies to set for a while before slicing.
Makes 16 2” brownies
This post is part of A Vegan Holiday, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media with #AVeganHoliday. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here or here.