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Santa Hat Brownies

Looking for fun, simple treats to cook with your children this holiday? We absolutely love these Santa Hat Brownies! They’re so good and easy to make. You can use ready-made mini brownies (Woolworths do delicious ones already shaped into rounds, so no hassel guaranteed http://www.woolworths.co.za/Home/Food-Household/Cakes-Tarts/Sweet-Treats-Cupcakes/Chocolate-Brownie-Bites-15Pk/6009000029237.pid ) or you can bake a pan using your favourite brownie recipe – we’ve included one here from Nigella Lawson http://www.nigella.com/. To decorate all you need to do is whip up some vanilla-mascarpone buttercream to simulate the white trim on the hats, add a strawberry and there you have it… a really cute festive dessert. With 2 days to go, it’s really beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

For the Brownies

Ingredients:

4oz of sunflower oil

5oz of plain, milk or dark chocolate

2 eggs

4oz of self raising flour

4oz of caster sugar

1 teaspoon or vanilla essence

2 tablespoons or cocoa powder

Method:

Preheat oven 200 degrees C or gas mark 6. Use a little sunflower oil and grease a 9inch square tin and line lightly with greaseproof paper.

Melt chocolate with remaining oil and mix in until smooth.

Beat the eggs lightly and add them to the chocolate stirring vigorously.

Add to the flour, sugar and vanilla essence and mix together.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 10-20mins depending on whether you want them chewy or cake like.

Leave to cool for 10mins and then cut into rounds using a round cookie cutter. When completely cool remove from tin.

For the Mascapone Buttercream

Ingredients:

1/2 cup 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

Method:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the 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.

Finally 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.

Merry Christmas everyone!