peppermint-bars-web.jpgGet Cookie Inspired

Baking is among the most fun, flavorful holiday traditions — and one that brings family and friends together in the kitchen. In fact, nearly 60 percent of home cooks are expected to bake holiday cookies this year.

“The holidays are marked by cherished baking traditions and enjoying the season’s most-loved flavors and treats, like gingerbread men, sugar cookies, peppermint candies and eggnog,” says Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens.

“This season, we’ve taken a favorite recipe, Peppermint Bark, and added a fun, new take to create holiday-inspired cookie bars. Layer fudgy brownies with smooth peppermint crème, chocolate glaze and candy cane toppings for these delicious Peppermint Bars.”

Prep Time:
15 minutes
Cook Time:
15 minutes
30 minutes

Makes 36 servings

1 package (21 ounces) fudge brownie mix
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
15 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
12 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
Crushed peppermint candies
or candy canes (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package. Spread in greased foil-lined 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan.

2. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, beat confectioners’ sugar, 7 tablespoons butter, cream and peppermint extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled brownie. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

4. Microwave chocolate and remaining 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter in large microwave bowl on HIGH 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over top of chilled brownie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Cut into bars.