"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.
Yield: 18 to 24 servings
- 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
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a paper Christmas tree pan, or a 9 x 13 inch pan.
- In a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the microwave briefly, just until 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.
- Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract.
- Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth; then add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you're baking in a 9 x 13 inch pan, bake for 29 to 32 minutes, following the same guidelines for doneness.
- Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them completely before icing with ganache, if desired, and decorating with holiday sugar sprinkles.
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.
- Spoon the ganache onto the brownies, spreading it into every corner of the pan.
- Decorate with holiday sugar sprinkles, if desired.
- To serve, peel the paper pan away from the edges of the brownies, and discard it; you can leave the bottom in place.
- Cut into slices.