Cool Peppermint Brownies


I feel to tell you that I wasn’t invited to my Senior Prom. It’s very likely the boys had seen the fluorescent turquoise number I’d plucked from a clearance rack, far in the back of a bridal wear shop, strung with fake pearls, and worn mercilessly on the arm of a sorry freshman to the Junior prom. So, my chances weren’t very good to begin with. But, still. I was sort of sad.

On the night of the dance, friend Jessica and I drove our lonely little selves an hour up to the Utah State Capitol building and decided–date or no date–we were going to try to sneak a peek at our fellow classmates. And, here let me say we were not there to spy or stalk. Rather, we were there to see. With fingers crossed, we were there to root for our pick for Senior Prom Queen. Several months before, blonde and bouncy choir-darling Camille had broken her neck, made a remarkable (if very long) recovery, and was now nominated for the penultimate high school title. How could we miss it?

In faded jeans and burger-stained tee-shirts, we tiptoed up the elegant marble steps, slowly opened the gold-gilded doors, pushed ourselves into the lobby and from there could see the room full swirling, smiling, sparkling couples. Ringlets bouncing. White gloves resting on tuxedoed shoulders. I remember sighing, then snickering quietly. Turning toward Jessica I was about to make a snarky comment, when….WHEN….I realized a shadow had fallen over the two of us. Our history teacher–chaperone for the night–was standing directly above our heads.

Excitedly he motioned toward another teacher. Then, another. He pointed rather anxiously our way, and we started slinking with horror toward the door.

“Girls! Stop!” Here were the summoned teachers, coming toward us very, very quickly. We moved back, they moved in. Grabbing our arms, they pulled Jess, then me. And, captured our worried bodies into warm, welcome hugs.

“Come in! Come in!” They welcomed us, “You must come dance.”

But we don’t have tickets. We don’t have dates. We don’t have dresses. We stammered.

The teachers shooed away our worries. One of them whisked the lace tablecloths off of the ornately decorated entryway tables, wrapping them around the both of us toga-style. “In you go!” they said, smiling.

Jess and I worked the dance floor as though we’d been invited guests. We hugged happy hello’s to our gussied up gal pals, filled ourselves with cream puffs and fruit punch, someone offered her date to me for a slow dance. Then, the music stopped. The microphone tapped. The room silenced. We huddled together on that floor full of friends, arms around each other, pinkies crossed, heads tipped together, waiting for the name of the new Queen to be called. We wept tears of joy when sweet Camille was crowned victorious. At some point, Jess and I snapped a photo, unraveled ourselves from our makeshift formals, and walked elbow-in-elbow out to the car. I remember smiling the whole way home.

It was ridiculously lovely, this evening that started as a glum reminder of my lonely high school status and ended with the thick happiness of camaraderie. It just goes to show–unexpected twists are always right around the corner, so long as you’re willing to open the door and dance.

Which brings me to this week’s unexpected twist. An overwhelming number of you voted for more quick & healthy recipes to be featured here on Cheeky Kitchen. Silly me. I’d always assumed I’d lose a lot of you if I halted my frenetic baking sessions and more fully represented my preferred diet.

So it is with great pleasure that you will be seeing a lot more around these parts. Or, should I say a lot less? In the coming weeks, look for a plethora of healthy, gorgeous recipe ideas arriving here regularly.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing the sort of food I cook up regularly for my family, you’ll want to visit my Tastebudding posts. Simple, family-friendly fare with minimal perservatives and lots of nutrients. Recipes like my Goldilocks Morning Muffins, sugar-Free ChocoPops, Quick & Delish Foil Fish, Creamy Butternut & Orzo Pasta Bowls, and more! Are you shocked that cheeky ‘ol me is actually a healthy food fanatic? Well, like I said. Unexpected twists are always right around the corner.

Now, let’s dance.


Cool Peppermint Brownies
The first time I ever tried my hand at making mint brownies, I ventured into the baking aisle of our local grocery store and paide premium price for a bottle of “mint” extract. This would seem to make sense, wouldn’t it, since I was making a batch of green frosted brownies. Imagine my horror, then, after frosting a batch of mouthwatering goodies I piled a heap of them on my plate, forked right into them, and discovered a mouth full of toothpastey flavor. Ick! As it turns out, the preferred extract for a mint-and-brownie escapade is “peppermint extract.” That said, I’ve always wondered why we don’t offer a thick kick of blue to the frosting, rather than the standard green. Peppermint in my mind has always been a cool, bright blue, the color of ice and frost and imaginary crystals. I garnished my brownies with those divine little York Peppermint candies which have been popping up in grocery aisles. Their presence seemed to lend a great, glorious AMEN to this little batch of heaven.

You’ll Need: One prepared batch of my Chewy Chocolate Brownies
Peppermint Buttercream & Chocolate Icing
1 stick butter
1 tsp. peppermint extract
16 oz. powdered sugar
2-4 T. milk
Blue Icing color
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
4 T. butter, melted

In a large bowl, beat stick of butter, peppermint extract, powdered sugar, milk & icing color together until fluffy. Add just enough milk to make the frosting spreadable, but thick. Spread evenly atop cooled batch of brownies. In a small, microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips & butter. Microwave just until melted. Stir together, then spread immediately on top of frosting. If desired, sprinkle with York Peppermint candies and white nonpareils.


Fondest, funniest {or most frightening} high school memory? Now that I’ve spilled one of mine, I’d love to hear yours. Or, share your ideas for my Chewy Chocolate Brownie Batter. Using it as a base for Ice Cream Sundaes? Topping it with cherries and cream cheese? Make It Work Mom has already whipped up a batch of her own. See if she was successful by clicking here.