Brownies Tannenbaum

"O Tannenbaum" ("Oh Christmas Tree") is a venerable Christmas carol. Our Christmas tree paper baking pans can be filled with cake, cinnamon (or sticky) buns... or brownies, as we do here.

Brownies Tannenbaum

Ingredients

Brownies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups (16 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache Icing

  • 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Brownies: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a paper Christmas tree pan, or a 9" x 13" pan.
  2. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the microwave briefly, just till it's hot (about 110 degrees F to 120 degrees F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies. This is a plus if you choose to forego the ganache icing.
  3. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla.
  4. Whisk in the eggs, stirring till smooth; then add the flour and chips, again stirring till smooth.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. If you're baking in the tree pan, lay a sheet of aluminum foil across the top of the pan, not tucking it in anywhere.
  6. Bake the brownies in the tree pan for 75 minutes, starting to check for doneness at 60 minutes. This is a fussier process than it would be if you baked the brownies in a regular pan; the tree pan's "branches" will be done before the center. Remove the brownies from the oven when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with just a tiny bit of batter or moist crumbs. The edges of the brownies should be set, but the middle still soft.
  7. If you're baking in a 9 x 13-inch pan, bake for 29 to 32 minutes, following the same guidelines for doneness.
  8. Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them completely before icing with ganache, if desired, and decorating with holiday sugar sprinkles.
  9. Chocolate Ganache Icing: Place the chips and cream in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Heat for about 1 minute, until chips are melting. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. The mixture will seem soupy at first, but will become beautifully dark and shiny as you stir.
  10. Spoon the ganache onto the brownies, spreading it into every corner of the pan.
  11. Decorate with holiday sugar sprinkles, if desired.
  12. To serve, peel the paper pan away from the edges of the brownies, and discard it; you can leave the bottom in place.
  13. Cut into slices.

Yield: 18 to 24 servings

Recipe and photo used with permission from: King Arthur Flour