1 19.5-ounce box fudge brownie mix
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 can white frosting (with fine tip)
1 can red frosting (with fine tip)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, then prepare a 9x9-inch baking pan by spraying it with a light coating of non-stick spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil to the same width as the bottom of the pan, but make it much longer than the pan so that the left and right ends go up and out of the pan on the left and right sides. This will create a "sling" that will help you lift the brownies out of the pan after they've baked.
2. Make the brownie batter by first sifting the box of ingredients. This will remove the clumps. Add the melted butter, water, eggs and peppermint extract and mix the batter by hand just until all the dry stuff is mixed in. Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and bake it for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Allow brownie to cool before frosting.
3. Make the peppermint buttercream frosting by beating together 1 cup of powdered sugar and the softened butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. Mix in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, then add 1 tablespoon of milk, and the peppermint and vanilla extract. Mix for about 1 minute to make the frosting smooth. Add an additional 1/4 cup of powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin and light. You want a frosting that can be spread easily, yet it should be firm enough to hold up the layer of chocolate frosting that's coming next. When the brownie has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top. Put the brownie in the fridge to firm up the buttercream frosting.
4. Make the chocolate frosting by bringing 1/3 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup butter to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the chocolate chips into a heat-safe bowl. When the milk and butter comes to a boil, pour the mixture over the chocolate chips and let it all just sit there in the bowl for a couple minutes. Add the vanilla extract to the mixture and whisk until smooth. Use an electric mixer to beat in 1 cup powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth. Spread the chocolate frosting over the white frosting on the brownie. This recipe makes a little more chocolate frosting than you need, so hold back about 1/3 to 1/4 cup.
5. To add the decorative red and white icing if you decide to go for it: First apply the white icing to the top of the cake in a sweeping motion diagonally across the top of the entire cake, then add the red icing over the white in the same sweeping motion in the same direction.
6. Stick the brownie back in the fridge for about an hour before removing it from the pan and slicing it into 9 equal portions. The leftovers will keep well for several days covered in the refrigerator.
Makes 9 brownies.