How are you feeling about the coming New Year? I find myself looking forward to it with more exuberance than usual. I don’t expect much to change with the tick of a clock at midnight, but I anticipate a new beginning – one that I intend to face with more realistic expectations than I did last year. I’d like to set myself up for 2022 according to some advice that I often give.
If you expect very little, you’re unlikely to be disappointed, but perfectly poised to be pleasantly surprised.Mama Lava
And speaking of pleasant surprises, I have a recipe to share. It is one which upscales box brownies to a level fit for a black-tie affair. And you won’t believe how simple it is!
How are you going to ring in the New Year? Are you the type who enjoys fancy clothes and exclusive celebrations? Or do you prefer an intimate gathering of friends for your countdown? Maybe you’re like me and you enjoy sleeping through the whole thing so you can enter January 1st well-rested and ready to roll.
Whether the black-tie affair you attend is real, or in your dreams, this brownie recipe will fit right in. But first, let me tell you the short story that goes along with it.
You are already acquainted with my friend, Brooke. If you are not, you can find the humbling tale of how we met here. She introduced me to the incredible quiche recipe which has become a tradition in our house, and is sure to become a favorite in some of yours as well.
Brooke is amazing. She loves extravagantly and entertains with her heart. She does everything top-notch. It is just who she is.
One day, as I was scrolling social media, I came across one of her posts, announcing an event she was preparing to facilitate at a renowned location. She described the menu she had planned, and I saw my name near the bottom. It said “Also, the famous Brownie/York Pattie dessert, thanks to a recipe from my sweet friend, Mama Lava. She gave me the recipe many years ago and it’s a cherished favorite.” (Quote almost verbatim.)
You know what? I had all but forgotten that I’d shared the recipe with her. I had tried to put it out of my mind, I think, because I’d been embarrassed about it. I recalled the fiasco.
I had made the brownies for a cookie exchange. (If you’re not familiar with cookie exchanges, I described one in this post.) These brownies are terrific on their own, but they were a terrible choice for the exchange. When they were plated with other goodies, their strong flavor tainted everything and ruined the more subtle flavors of the delicacies around them. I was dismayed that my dessert overpowered the hard work Brooke and our friends had put into their baked goods.
I was blessed to read that God had made a favorite out of what I had considered a failure. I was thankful for the surprise that Brooke had been enjoying my recipe through the years. It felt like reciprocation for her quiche recipe that I appreciate so much. It was just like God to be so merciful with my mess and prove to me that He is good, even when I goof!
Brooke was right about the recipe being fit for her black-tie affair. These brownies are meant to stand out and be noticed. They are sleek and decadent. And while they are impressive, they are also quick and easy to make.
Whether your New Year’s Eve plans are extravagant in actuality, or just in your imagination, these brownies will fit right in! Here is the recipe.
Brownies Fit for a Black-Tie Affair
- 1 Box Brownie Mix
- Oil, Eggs, and Water to make brownies according to box instructions
- Approximately 12 bite sized York peppermint patties (Did you take me up on my suggestion to purchase a bag during the after-Halloween clearance sales?)
- Preheat oven and make brownie batter according to box instructions.
- Pour half of the batter in your pan. (Use whatever size pan is called for on the brownie box. The most common sizes are 8×8 or 9×13-inch pans.)
- Unwrap York patties and place on batter, spaced evenly.
- Cover with remaining brownie batter.
- Bake according to box instructions.
- Let cool completely before slicing.
- When you cut your cooled brownies, you can slice through the mints to show them off, or you can slice through the brownie and let the mint be a surprise in the center. If you plan the size and preferred presentation of your brownies, you will be able to intentionally place the peppermint patties to accommodate your desired result.
- You can also use Jr. Mints and make brownie bites.
- If you prefer a double thick brownie, use two boxes. In the photos, I’ve used only 1.
- Pro-tip: Did you know that cutting cooled brownies with a plastic knife prevents tearing?
I served these after our town’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony a few weeks ago. I topped them with vanilla bean ice cream and a candy cane, but I was wishing I had pink peppermint ice cream. Mint chip works well too. And honestly, ice cream is not required! These brownies are incredibly flavorful on their own. They are decadent and delicious, and nobody will believe how little work you had to put in. I won’t tell if you won’t!
I adore chocolate and mint together. York patties are one of my favorite treats. Adding the brownie around it is just fabulous. This recipe elevates any occasion and, at least for one blissful moment, turns it into a black-tie affair. What event on your calendar could you upscale with a pan of these peppermint brownies?