Friday, December 28, 2012

Post-Christmas Sorting and Repurposing: Peppermint Pattie Brownies


Christmas is over and as much as I love this season, when it is over, I’m ready for it to be cleaned up and put away.  We came home yesterday from our tour-o-families for Christmas and hauled in all of our bags, dirty clothes, and gifts as well as the sacks of day-after-Christmas-sale-Target finds.  I immediately began putting away, sorting clothes and taking down the decorations.  While rearranging and assembling one of the kids' gifts, Dave and I watched The Holiday (because we hadn’t yet watched it this year and it’s a favorite of ours).

When putting away the decorations, I try to decide what things might be “winter” instead of Christmas, and therefore could be kept around for the next couple of months.  If things are blue and white, or snowy and wintery, then I like to keep them in use.  (It makes me feel better about how much work it is to decorate and un-decorate for just 3 weeks). 

I just bought 3 sets of these cute little melamine appetizer plates at Target on Wednesday and am trying to decide which ones could stay in use and not look too Christmasy. Maybe use the two snowflake ones and put away the tree/ornament/gift ones?  I'm not sure about the candy cane striped. They are questionable.


In life, I am always looking for good ways to re-use and repurpose things.  My mom taught me a great trick years ago.  When she had left over m&ms, after Christmas she would separate out the red and green and save the green for St. Patrick’s Day and serve the red for Valentine’s Day. Genius! We do it with M&Ms and Hershey’s kisses and any other green and red leftover things.

A couple of years ago, I started making these Peppermint Patty Brownies.  They are gooey and super terrific and are the perfect solution to York Peppermint Patties wrapped in Christmas foil.   (This week is a good time to find them ½ price at the store, if you don’t have any left over.)


These brownies are simple. You can use your favorite brownie mix if you have one on hand or use this recipe-which is rich and fudgey and uses both cocoa and melted semi sweet chocolate. (You know it's fudgey when the recipe calls for lining the pan with parchment or foil).

This recipe came from Everyday Food magazine, which I adore and have written about several times.  Sadly, I just got a notice in the mail a few weeks ago that after a long stent, Everyday Foods is no longer in print. There will be recipes and articles Everyday Food-related available on the Martha Stewart website, and features in other magazines of hers.  However, the half sheet, monthly recipe-filled magazine has come to an end.  I am sad. Many of my favorite recipes in the past decade have come from this publication.  Thankfully, I have about 3 years of them stacked in my house, needing to be sorted out and used, and books filled with years of great recipes from the magazine. (And most of them are available online).



1 stick butter, plus more for a pan
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (or chopped)
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt (or a little less if using salted butter)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
25 small (1 1/2 inch) York peppermint patties

Unwrap 25 peppermint patties. Put to the side. 

Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter and line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment or foil.  Set aside. 
Place chocolate and butter in a medium bowl in the microwave and cook until melted (checking and stirring every minute or so).  
Whisk in sugar and salt until smooth; whisk in eggs.  Gently whisk in flour and cocoa powder just until smooth (do not overmix).
Spread 1/3 of batter in prepared pan.  

Arrange peppermint patties on batter in a single layer, leaving a narrow border on all sides. 
Top with remaining batter, and smooth surface.  
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached – 30 to 40 minutes.  
Cool completely in pan.  
Use foil to lift from pan; peel off foil and discard.  
Cut into 16 squares (4 rows by 4 rows).



And now it's time to begin to think about our goals for the new year.  I write HERE about my love for a new year, a clean slate and goal setting at the beginning of the new year.  We are working on our goals and aspirations as individuals and as a family for the new year around my house. One of which is being as resourceful as we can!

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