If you're baking for the holidays, here's a gift idea that you can try - Chocolate Mint Brownies! They're quite easy to make, and yummy, too! Definitely a better and tastier alternative to stale bread soused with candied fruit and rum.
1/2 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup softened butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Green food coloring
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat the oven to 350º and grease a 9-inch square baking pan. For the brownies, place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for 1 minute more. Stir until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs. Stir in the chocolate and the vanilla extract. Finally, stir in the flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Pour into the prepared pan, then bake for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for at least 1 hour.
2. To make the mint frosting, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until it is smooth and spreadable. Beat in the peppermint extract and tint to the desired shade with green food coloring. Frost the cooled brownies, cover, and chill for 1 hour.
3. To make the chocolate topping, pour the chips into a microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until the chocolate melts. Stir until smooth. Pour the chocolate over the brownies and smooth it with a knife. Refrigerate for 45 minutes or until the coating hardens.
4. Bring the brownies to room temperature, then cut into 16 to 32 pieces. Layer them on a piece of cellophane; remember to place waxed paper between the layers to prevent sticking.
5. Wrap the brownie package and tie with a ribbon (red or gold would be best).