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Peppermint Mocha Brownies #DuncanHinesHoliday

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DuncanHinesHoliday #CollectiveBias
It's official. My husband has turned me into a fan of peppermint mocha. Can you believe I wouldn't go near peppermint mocha anything at one point in my life? Mint and chocolate? Pfft. That's like... chocolate flavored toothpaste. How could anyone possibly enjoy that?
Turns out, I was really missing out. There's just something about these two flavors that when combined, they create a magical party in your mouth.

Since I've already made peppermint mocha cupcakes, and peppermint mocha cookies, naturally, the next thing I needed to make was peppermint mocha brownies. And that called for a trip to Walmart.

Yes, even bakers like a shortcut every now and then. And who can resist Duncan Hines® Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix when it's only $1.00! Plus, with only three easy ingredients, you're truly saving time and money.
You don't even need a hand mixer. In fact, in my baking experience, brownies are the fudgiest and chewiest when you don't overmix. And that stands true for these Duncan Hines brownies. Just stir together until no streaks of the dry mix remain and you are good to go!

Shout-out to my husband who was my hand model and sous chef during the making of these brownies! You wouldn't normally find my husband in the kitchen, like ever! But this time of the year brings family together and I must admit baking with him is definitely so much more fun than baking alone!

Now, in the 20 minutes you'll be waiting for these brownies to bake, do yourself a favor and download the Ibotta app! I recently discovered this app and I'm super impressed because all you have to do is what you normally do, and that's shop! You upload your receipts and then you get cash-back for the shopping you've done.

Right now, they've got an offer for Duncan Hines brownie mix that you can not miss out on; check it out while supplies last!
To amp up the chocolate flavor and bring out the "mocha" in peppermint mocha, I added about a tablespoon of espresso powder to the dry mix.
Next came the fun part- the topping! I couldn't decide whether I wanted to top these brownies with ganache or buttercream, so I did both! Actually, I added two different kinds of ganache to really take these over the top.

The buttercream was a standard American buttercream, so, your basics: butter, powdered sugar, a drop of peppermint extract and a splash of heavy cream. You'll want to make sure your brownies are completely cool before you spread it on top.
Then, I whipped up a rich chocolate-espresso ganache as the second layer. It's also important your buttercream has cooled in the fridge before you add the ganache so that it doesn't melt.
Last, but not least, I used these awesome peppermint white chocolate chunks that I also found in the baking aisle at Walmart to whip up another layer of ganache. Rather than spread it all on top, I poured it into a piping bag and piped equally spaced rows across the longer side of the pan. Then, I dragged a skewer back and forth in the opposing direction to create this intricate pattern on top.

My white chocolate ganache was a little runny at the time, so it all sort of melted together. Don't make my same mistake- let your ganache firm up before piping!
Let me tell y'all, when I took my first bite of these, I nearly lost my breath. These are quite possibly the best brownies I have ever made and my husband would agree.

Everything from the mouth-watering brownie base to the not-too-sweet buttercream, to the rich combination of both ganaches, was truly something out of heaven. I mean, this is the ultimate holiday dessert!

If you're looking for more simple and creative desserts using Duncan Hines mixes, check out this link here!

Peppermint Mocha Brownies

Yield: 13x9 inch pan (approximately 24 squares)
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Duncan Hines® Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

For the peppermint buttercream:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the chocolate espresso ganache:
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon brewed espresso

For the white chocolate peppermint ganache:
10 ounces peppermint white chocolate chunks
3/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9 inch glass baking pan with non-stick spray, then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite edges.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together dry brownie mix, espresso powder, eggs, oil, and water until well-combined and smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 20-23 minutes.

Set aside brownies to cool completely.

In another medium-sized bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together butter, powdered sugar, peppermint extract and heavy cream until well-incorporated and creamy.

Spread buttercream on top of cooled brownies, then refrigerate brownies while you prepare ganache.

In a small saucepan, add heavy cream and brewed espresso and heat until simmering. Pour over semi-sweet chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute. Then, gently stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Pour chocolate ganache over the cooled buttercream. Spread with an offset spatula. Return brownies to refrigerator while you prepare the white chocolate ganache.

In another small saucepan, heat heavy cream until simmering. Pour over peppermint white chocolate chunks and stir swiftly to incorporate. White chocolate ganache can be a little trickier, as it has a tendency to separate. Keep stirring until chocolate is evenly melted and smooth. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.

Transfer cooled white chocolate ganache to a piping bag and decorate brownies as desired. Allow ganache to set before cutting and serving brownies. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator. 

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