Even back in the not-so-distant future when I despised spending any time in the kitchen outside of designing and decorating, once the holiday season came around, I suddenly had an almost insatiable desire to bake. I wanted, and still want, to make all the holiday treats. And now that I have a mini me who (unlike her mother) enjoys cooking to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up a chef (truly), I've been extra excited to get started on some serious holiday baking goodness.
For this year's first holiday baking adventure, I decided to take one of our absolute favorite family recipes and take things up a notch. Back in the the '90s, my husband's parents wrote a family cookbook that contained hundreds of recipes, one of which was titled Elizabeth King Brownies. The first time Robbie made them for me I was hooked, and they've become a dessert staple around here. (Funny side story: They were named after a family friend named Elizabeth King, who had initially passed the recipe on to them. When my husband finally met her and told her how much he loved her brownie recipe, she couldn't remember ever making them. Ha!) These brownies are quite a bit different than any I've ever had - they're less chocolatey, a little denser, and amazing in every way. I started thinking that if I omitted a small portion of the butter (and there is admittedly a lot of it) and let them bake longer than usual, they'd make some pretty freaking awesome cookie style brownie bites. And if we crushed candy canes for the top and used a star cookies cutter to make the bites, they'd be undeniably festive. It turned out I was right. Essley and I had so much fun making these and are both looking forward to making them a regular treat around here this holiday season. They're so delicious, in fact, that I decided it would just be wrong not to share the recipe with you guys
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached All Purpose White Flour*
1-1/2 sticks melted butter
3-4 candy canes
powdered sugar (for top)
(*I love using this flour because it is pure - it's freshly milled from organic hard red wheat with the bran and the germ removed, leaving the endosperm that is then made into white flour, and is not enriched with any additives. I consider it a kitchen staple as it is incredibly versatile and perfect for all of of my baking needs - from brownies to cookies to bread. If you prefer, you can also use Bob's Red Mill Organic Almond Meal/Flour or Gluten Free Flour in place of white flour in this recipe, both of which are also staples in our kitchen.)
Preheat oven to 350. Use butter to grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Mix the sugar, cocoa, eggs, flour, and melted butter until well blended.
Pour batter into baking dish, then place in oven to bake for 35-40 minutes. While the brownies are baking, put unwrapped candy canes in a storage bag and use a small rolling pin to crush them. (You want them in very small pieces.)
Once brownies are done, removed from oven, sprinkle crushed candy canes on the top, and gently press. Allow to cool completely, then top with powdered sugar.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out star shapes, and serve. (And while they may be much less pretty, the extras need to be eaten too. And always by the chef!)
This is a really wonderful, truly delicious holiday recipe that can be made together as a family. Essley and I had so much fun making (and eating) them. They'd also look beautiful wrapped up in wax paper, tied with ribbon, and given as gifts. If you end up making them, please let me know what you thought! And if you'd like to pick up some Bob's Red Mill flour of your own, you can save some dough (get it? get it?) via these coupons. Happy holidays!
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