Welcome back to Christmas Week! This annual event was started in 2012, and is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic. This year we have over 35 bloggers sharing festive sweet recipes for the event, plus we all chipped in for a huge Amazon Gift Card Giveaway. Be sure to enter… full details are at the bottom of the post!
Today’s recipe is inspired by one of my favourite wintertime rituals, which involves curling up with a big mug of hot cocoa topped off with a big fat marshmallow.
My version of hot cocoa is as straightforward as it gets – just hot milk with cocoa powder and sugar whisked in, though I do add a dash of ground cinnamon to give it a little extra oomph.
This year, though, winter’s been taking its sweet time showing up.
Not that I’m complaining about how mild the weather’s been so far, but it would be nice to get at least one properly chilly evening where that big mug of cocoa feels like pure bliss.
These hot cocoa brownies are my attempt to bridge the gap. They’re neither warm nor comforting, but they still hit the spot in all the important ways… they’re gooey and fudgey and deeply chocolately, with that little hint of cinnamon that makes my hot cocoa so delicious.
And because they’re made with cocoa powder, they’re easy enough to make at a moment’s notice. Everyone keeps cocoa, butter, sugar, eggs and flour on hand at all times, right? (And if you don’t, think of these as a good reason to get into the habit.)
The crowning touch is a layer of gooey marshmallows, toasted to a perfect golden-brown under a hot broiler. It’s a pretty sweet upgrade from the plain un-toasted marshmallows I normally use in my hot cocoa.
If you’re not a fan of toasted marshmallows (you crazy person, you), just skip the broiler. You should still pop the marshmallow-topped brownies back into the oven to soften the marshmallows so you can properly smoosh them, though. The end result will be a softer, sweeter, gooey-er topping.
Honestly, as far as seasonal indulgences go, this might just replace my beloved mug of hot cocoa.
Though… on second thought… maybe I should just combine the two into one super-indulgent tradition. There’s no such thing as too much hot cocoa, right? Hello winter, goodbye diet!
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup milk chocolate chips
- 8 large marshmallows, cut in half
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on the sides to help lift out the brownies.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder until well combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- Once the butter mixture has cooled slightly, stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Add the flour, and mix until just barely combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a very moist crumb. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the brownies, cut side down, and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the marshmallows are soft and gooey. Using the back of a spoon, press each marshmallow down slightly, then broil for just a few seconds or until the marshmallows are golden-brown.
- Let the brownies cool off completely in the pan, then lift out using the parchment paper and cut into 16 squares.
But wait… there’s more! Don’t forget to check out all of the festive treats my fellow bloggers are sharing today:
- Pistachio Roca from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Slow Cooker Eggnog Granola from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
- Hot Cocoa Brownies from Crumb: A Food Blog
- Soft Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies from Food Done Light
- Cranberry Chai Tea Cookies from Farm Fresh Feasts
- Chanukah Gelt Cookies from Mother Would Know
- Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies from Food Lust People Love
- Rocky Road Fudge by My Catholic Kitchen
- Best Sugar Cookies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Thumbprints from Mind Over Batter
- Gingerbread Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from Lauren Kelly Nutrition
- Habanero Orange Marmalade from Everyday Southwest
- Upside Down Sticky Apple Pie from From Gate to Plate
- Homemade Instant Hot Cocoa Mix from Flour on my Face
- Chocolate Raspberry Walnut Rugelach from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
- S’mores Hot Chocolate from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Up for grabs are three (3) Amazon gift cards valued at a total of $800 USD. Three winners will be selected: a first prize winner of $500, second prize of $250, and third prize of $50.
The Christmas Week Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada who are at least 18 years of age. Giveaway will run from December 7, 2015 to December 26, 2015, at which time three winners will be randomly selected from the eligible entries. Winners will be notified by email, and must correctly answer a skill testing question to receive their prize.