It’s the time of year when the traditional cookie recipes come out of the recipe box, and I start baking up a storm. Many of these recipes I have made since my childhood and my mom and grandmother made before me. But, I always like to try something new too.
I was recently asked to demo three cookie recipes for a local Twin Cities TV show. I dug into the Land O’Lakes recipe files and came up with two of our all time most requested during the holiday season recipes, Best Ever Butter Cookies and Sparkling Butter Toffee Cookies. These are wonderful, delicious, traditional cookies to make during this cookie baking time of year. For the third recipe I decided to take a little risk, here was my chance to try something new – Brownie Holi-Pops.
Brownie Holi-Pops are featured in our 2010 holiday recipe brochure, Merry and Bright. We also have a gluten-free version of the brochure. The reason I chose this recipe is the “cookies” are just about the cutest cookies I have ever seen. They are so adorable they can be used to make a darling centerpiece just like in the photo above. They are also a recipe that your kids can help make and it can be done in steps over a couple of days if your hours are filled with other holiday related activities like shopping and wrapping.
The first step which can easily be done a day or two ahead is to make a pan of brownies. Start by heating your oven to 350ºF. In a 2-quart saucepan combine ½ cup butter and 2 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so the chocolate doesn’t burn, until melted.
Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and salt.
Make sure everything is mixed well.
Spread the batter evenly into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.
Bake for 23 to 27 minutes or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cool completely. Making brownies is that simple. If you are making this recipe over a couple of days you can cover the brownies at this point and continue the next day.
If you are ready to keep going the next step is to crumble the cooled brownies into a large bowl. This is definitely something your kids will enjoy helping with. I just broke the brownies into pieces over the bowl and kept rubbing the chunks of brownie between my fingers until coarse crumbs were formed.
Next melt the remaining ¼ cup butter and 1 ounce chocolate in a small saucepan. Add this mixture and the powdered sugar to the crumbled brownies and mix well.
Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls. This is a step the kids can help with.
Place the balls onto a waxed paper-lined jelly-roll pan or tray.
Cover with plastic food wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight). It’s time to dip the balls in candy coating! Melt vanilla and/or chocolate candy coating according to the package directions. Working with about one-third of the balls at a time (keep the others in the refrigerator) insert a lollipop stick into each ball. Push the lollipop stick into the ball so that the end is about in the center of the ball. You can purchase lollipop sticks at craft stores and some grocery stores.
Dip the balls into the melted coating, swirling or tapping off excess coating.
I found it helpful to use a spoon to drizzle the coating over the ball to get the places that dipping didn’t quite reach.
Sprinkle with holiday nonpareils, jimmies and/or other decorator candies. Push the lollipop stick into craft foam and let stand until the coating is set. If you don’t have any craft foam you can place the balls onto waxed paper, they just won’t be quite as round-shaped because the coating may pool under the balls.
Aren’t these just the cutest cookies? Have fun making a centerpiece with these as the stars! Won’t your guests think it’s fun to eat the centerpiece? Now, I will admit these are a little putsy to make but when made spread out over a couple of days it was not a big deal. And, they really aren’t difficult to make at all. I think the cute factor is worth the extra effort. Oh, and by the way they taste good too!
Go out on a limb, take a risk and try something new along with all your traditional favorites this holiday season. Please rate and review Brownie Holi-Pops if you give it a try and I’d love to hear any comments about your experience making them. We also have a gluten-free version of this recipe available.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.