Monday, December 12, 2011

Week Eighteen -- Santa Hat Brownies

I always have such high hopes for the holidays. I imagine days of baking and making cute gift bags with homemade treats. The reality is a little less, well, Martha-ish. However, I do firmly believe in making time for a few fun (and new projects)….. hence the Santa Hat Brownies.

Santa Hat Brownies
Adapted from this recipe found on Erica’s Sweet Tooth
Yields 12-16 brownies
·         1 pan of your favorite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (I used a round cutter) – or for the really rushed baker – those two-bite brownies they sell in the bakery department of every grocery store. (Shhh. I won’t tell.)
·         12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled – Try to find smallish ones. The usual ones are enormous and way too big for this project.
·         Vanilla frosting. Either use the recipe below or just buy a can of white frosting. I mean, seriously. These are so cute, no one will notice.
To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie.  Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place.  Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the Santa hat.
Mascarpone Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and salt.  Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth.  Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.

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