Peppermint Truffle Brownies
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup crushed peppermint candies
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving overhang "handles". Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine 6 ounces (half the bag if you're using a typical 12-ounce size) of chocolate chips and butter in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Alternately, melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every minute until melted and smooth. Cool chocolate mixture until lukewarm, 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Stir in flour. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack and let brownies cool completely.
Bring cream to a simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add remaining 6 ounces’ chocolate to hot cream and let stand 5 minutes to soften, then whisk until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate ganache over cooled brownies (still in pan) and spread to cover completely. Let stand at cool room temperature until topping is set, about 4 hours. Sprinkle with crushed candies. (Note: The crushed mints get soggy if you put them on right away. Wait until the last minute to sprinkle them over the top of the ganache and lightly press them in.)
Using foil as aid, lift brownie sheet from pan. Fold down foil edges. Using a large sharp knife, cut brownie sheet into 25 squares, wiping knife with a hot moist cloth after each cut. (Don't skip this or the brownies will be a mess to cut.)