Surprise: Thin, crisp sheets of red-and-white peppermint top soft, fudgy bars. Get the secret

Peppermint-topped Brownies

A dark, soft, fudgy brownie topped with rich chocolate ganacheand a crunchy sheet of red-and-white peppermint: This was thedessert we envisioned one day in Sunset’s test kitchen while dreaming about the treats we’dlike to bake for the holidays.

To make the tasty and surprising candy top, we relied on thetechnique for creating “stained-glass” windows in gingerbreadhouses: Set hard candies on a cookie sheet and melt them to a flat,glassy pane, then quickly score and cut them while hot.

In our tests, we used round, red-and-white peppermint candies,baking them for varying lengths of time and at differenttemperatures. After some trial and error, we had what we were after― crisp, minty, swirly tops that make these brownies like noother.

Set these out at your next open house and watch themdisappear.MORE TOPPINGS TO TRY

Why stop at peppermint? Try these other embellishments for ourrich, soft brownies. Be generous with amounts, and chill browniesso that the topping sets.

Coconut and macadamia Sprinkle shredded toasted coconut andchopped toasted macadamia nuts over the just-warm ganachelayer.

Crushed toffee Sprinkle crushed toffee bits over thejust-warm ganache layer.

Double peanut Warm up natural-style peanut butter (creamy orchunky) and spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate until peanutbutter is firm; top with ganache and chopped peanuts.

Raspberry Spread raspberry jam over cooled brownies and topwith ganache.

Rocky road Preheat broiler. Spread half of the just-warmganache over cooled brownies, then top with mini marshmallows andchopped walnuts. Broil brownies for about 1 minute, or untilmarshmallows are toasted and beginning to melt together. Removefrom oven and drizzle with remaining ganache.

White chocolate swirl Spoon dollops of melted whitechocolate over the just-warm ganache layer and make marbled swirlsusing a toothpick or a knife.

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