Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Very Vegan Christmas: The Peppermint Browniewich

In between playing with the world's greatest puppies and wearing pajama pants all day (how else would one celebrate the holidays?), I found time to do a massive amount of cooking with my sister, who is the original inspiration behind me learning how to cook and starting this blog. As she is now vegan, this led to some interesting limitations that will help me learn a whole lot more about cooking. Our styles are also quite different as she is more of a loose cannon (using a liquid measuring cup for solids?!?!) while I'm a by the book cook. It's a partnership that's just crazy enough to work. She may have unconventional methods, but, dammit, she gets results.

We start our Christmas adventure with peppermint browniewiches and will end it with a feast of favorites from our childhood that could feed the three of us 10 times over (the holidays are all about restraint!).

The Peppermint Browniewich
Modified from
Servings: 1 8x8 pan (or 3-4 wiches)
Time: 40 minutes

1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Ricemellow fluff
1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Dark chocolate pearls

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Combine the applesauce, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer at medium speed.
  3. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones at low speed until fully inorporated.
  5. Mix the chocolate chips in.
  6. Pour into a greased 8x8 square pan or 9" round pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center is firm and not sticky.
  7. While the brownies cool, mix the peppermint extract with a container of ricemellow fluff.
  8. Realize you can't cut the brownies in half height-wise.
  9. Cut the brownies into fun shapes.
  10. Top a brownie with the peppermint fluff mix and another brownie to complete the sandwich.
  11. Sprinkle chocolate pearls over the sticky sides.
They'll be the star of your holiday party (I'm feeling so creative now that I'm back in L.A.)
These peppermint brownies challenge traditional Hollywood conventions. They may not be much to look at, but you will be too busy devouring them to notice (Plus, let's not kid ourselves. They probably look better than that Christmas sweater you're wearing). The brownies have a nice cakeyness to them that keeps the sandwich from being far too dense, and the peppermint fluff (two straight chocolate and peppermint fluff posts, perhaps I think it's a good combo) is a delightful gooey addition that brings home the Christmas feel. The real star (yeah I went back to that well), is the chocolate pearls, whose dark chocolate provides an explosion of flavor and crunch that really makes these memorable.

Plating attempt or mess from gooey ingredients?
If you're too afraid to try the vegan approach I suggest marrying my pound of butter brownies with the peppermint fluff from my hot chocolate cupcakes. But you shouldn't be afraid of the vegan stigma as these are full of all the decadent flavor your holiday taste buds require.

Stay tuned for more holiday posts from my sister's kitchen including a special treat for those aforementioned world's greatest puppies. Will we conquer the culinary world, or will our culinary foils lead to the destruction of half a city block and a thorough tongue-lashing from the captain?

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