Recently, I received an email with a message that was short and succint:
“Hi there, loving all your Christmas recipes so far but where’s all the chocolate?!”
Apparently this lovely reader of mine has always thought of yours truly as a chocolate fiend as well as a massive citrus lover and she has noticed the lack of chocolate recipes in the past couple of months. My response?
“Patience, my friend. It’s all coming. As if I’d go through Christmas without over indulging on large amounts of chocolate treats?”
Ok not my exact words but that was the basic gist of it. In any case, I’ve well and truly stocked up on chocolate and I’m rearing to go. But let’s start things off slowly with these simple-as-pie Chocolate Peppermint Bars.
Peppermint is another favourite Christmas flavouring and it certainly was mine judging by all the candy canes I must’ve consumed in the last, oh, 20 years? And I simply adore it with chocolate. I love it as an alternative ‘after-dinner mint’ or as a prelude to the main dessert (because there’s no such thing as too many sweets in Christmas, am I right?). It also makes for some great edible festive gifts or for a wonderful snack when you’ve been hard at work writing up all those Chrissie cards. Ah heck, is there such a thing as a bad time for chocolate?
So my dear friends, with 1 month to go, are you all excited about silly season?
Chocolate Peppermint Bars
200g of good quality dark chocolate, chopped roughly
125g butter, chopped
110g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
180g plain flour
240g icing sugar
1 tsp butter, softened
1/4 tsp peppermint essence
approximately 30ml (2 Tbl) of milk
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a deep 19-20cm square cake or brownie/slice pan. Line the base with baking paper.
Place the butter and chocolate in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted and combined.
Stir in the caster sugar and eggs then add the flour and mix to combine. Spread the batter into the cake pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and rest in the pan for about 15 minutes before turning out onto the wire rack to cool.
To make icing:
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and then simmer on the low heat (for double boiler).
Combine the icing sugar, butter and peppermint essence in a heatproof bowl. Gradually add in the milk, little by little and mix until it forms a thick paste.
Stir the icing over the saucepan of low simmering water until icing is spreadable.
Spread icing over the cooled chocolate slice and allow to set at room temperature. Make sure to spread the icing quickly as it will start to set as soon as it touches the cake.
When it has set, use a sharp serrated knife to trim off the hard and crispy edges from the cake and cut into small squares. Make sure to wipe the knife after each cut to form clean squares.