Mastering ganache, a mixture of chocolate and cream, is a pathway to next-level desserts like this one. Cool peppermint perfectly complements the smooth, dark topping for a sweet indulgence. Not to be overlooked, the golden cookie base is delicious all on its own, making it so much more than a vehicle for satisfying your chocolate cravings!
4 hrs 20 minutes (preferably overnight)
For the base:
- 1½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour 1½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour
- 5 tsp (13 g) cornstarch 5 tsp (13 g) cornstarch
- ½ tsp (3 g) salt ½ tsp (3 g) salt
- 1 cup (227 g) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature 1 cup (227 g) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- ½ cup (109 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed ½ cup (109 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) heavy cream 2 tbsp (30 ml) heavy cream
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract 1 tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
For the peppermint ganache:
- 2½ cups (425 g) dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao), finely chopped 2½ cups (425 g) dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao), finely chopped
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (280 ml) heavy cream 1 cup + 2 tbsp (280 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tbsp (28 g) butter 2 tbsp (28 g) butter
- ¼ tsp (2 g) salt ¼ tsp (2 g) salt
- 1½ tsp (7 ml) pure peppermint extract 1½ tsp (7 ml) pure peppermint extract
- ½ tsp (2 ml) pure vanilla extract ½ tsp (2 ml) pure vanilla extract
- Peppermint candies or candy canes, crushed Peppermint candies or candy canes, crushed
- Square baking pan (8-inch) Square baking pan (8-inch)
- Parchment paper Parchment paper
- Scale or dry measuring cups Scale or dry measuring cups
- Measuring spoons Measuring spoons
- Liquid measuring cup Liquid measuring cup
- Medium bowl x 2 Medium bowl x 2
- Whisk Whisk
- Rubber spatula Rubber spatula
- Offset spatula Offset spatula
- Fork Fork
- Wire cooling rack Wire cooling rack
- Medium heat-proof bowl (preferably stainless steel) Medium heat-proof bowl (preferably stainless steel)
- Heat-proof spatula Heat-proof spatula
- Plastic wrap Plastic wrap
- Small offset spatula Small offset spatula
- Chef’s knife Chef’s knife
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
Lightly grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides for easy unmoulding.
For the base:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and salt until well combined, and no lumps remain.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter and Redpath® Brown Sugar until combined and no lumps remain. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.
Add the butter mixture into the dry ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold together until it forms a dough; do not overmix.
Transfer and evenly press and spread the dough with an offset spatula into the prepared pan. Place into the fridge to chill; at least 10 minutes.
Dock the dough with a fork and place the chilled base into the preheated oven and bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until pale golden and edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and place onto a wire cooling rack to cool.
For the peppermint ganache:
Place the finely chopped chocolate into a medium heat-proof bowl.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream, butter, and salt to a simmer; do not boil. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit; 2 minutes.
With a heat-proof spatula, stir the chocolate mixture, starting in the centre and slowly moving outwards as the chocolate incorporates into the heavy cream.
When the chocolate and cream mixture is smooth and homogeneous, stir in the peppermint and vanilla extracts. Pour the ganache over the cookie base. Gently tap the pan several times on a flat work surface to even out the chocolate. Place into the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the ganache slightly before sprinkling the top with crushed peppermint candies or candy canes (see Chef’s Tips).
Cover pan with plastic wrap and place back into the fridge to completely set; at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Once firmly set, run a small offset spatula around the bars and the parchment paper, pressing the blade against the parchment paper to prevent gouging of the bars. Clean the offset spatula, and run it around the parchment paper and the sides of the baking pan, pressing the blade of the offset spatula against the sides of the pan. This will help loosen the parchment paper from the pan and loosen the bars from the parchment paper.
Carefully lift the bars from the pan using the parchment overhangs. With a sharp chef’s knife, slice into 32 bars or squares (see Chef’s Tips).
*Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar can be used in place of the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar. Note that the resulting cookie base will not have the strong butterscotch undertone, which gives these slices a more complex flavour.
*Use high-quality chocolate for the ganache; do not use chocolate chips as these tend to be formulated to stay in “chip” form and do not melt evenly. As there is a higher ratio of chocolate to heavy cream, ensure chocolate is finely chopped so that the chocolate melts more readily.
*If chocolate is not completely melted after adding and stirring in the heavy cream, heat a medium pot with about an inch or two of water to a simmer. Reduce heat to low or turn off heat and place the bowl of chocolate over the pot. Stir just until the mixture is completely smooth. Proceed with recipe as usual.
*If pure peppermint extract is unavailable, place 2 peppermint tea bags (good quality) into the hot cream after taking it off the heat. Cover and allow to infuse; 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and reheat cream to a simmer before pouring over the chopped chocolate. The flavour will be more subtle, so omit the vanilla extract to allow the peppermint flavour to shine through.
*To crush peppermint candies or candy canes, place candies into a resealable bag and use a rolling pin to crush into pieces. Alternatively, place candy into a food processor with a metal blade and process until crushed into small pieces; do not pulverize. Note that smaller candy pieces are ideal as they will make the bars easier to bite into than larger pieces.
*For clean slices: dip or run a sharp chef’s knife into a container of very hot water, dry with a kitchen towel, and slice. Do this between every slice.