Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Candy Cane Brownie Parfaits

Christmas is fast approaching, I hope you are not stressing out! I've always been a plan-everything-majorly-in-advancen kind of person, so I never find Christmas too stressful. I bought most of my presents while I was travelling in Sri Lanka in July, so I've just been doing some final edible gifts to go with them. I'm a big advocate of edible gifts. Most of the people in my family don't actually need more stuff, and if they do then I don't know what it is that they want. So, a thoughtful handmade edible gift saves space in their house and saves them ending up with something they didn't actually want or like. I've tried to go for some different gift ideas this year, and I'll share them with you in the next few days - so keep your eye out!

In the meantime, it's time for the last Sweet Adventures Blog Hop of the year! There have been some great hops over the year - and I'm glad to say I have managed to squeeze in an entry to all 12 of them! Wow. Here are the other great themes from this year:

November's Vegetable Hop - Jus Alpukat (Indonesian Avocado Milkshake)
August's Berry Hop - Sugar Free and Vegan Raspberry Fudge
July's Nut Hop -  Best Ever Vegan Carrot Cake  (I got this one in just in time, but it never appeared on the link list so you may have missed it!)
June's Pie Hop - Easy, Sticky, Messy Banana Rum Pie
May's Tea Hop - Thai Red Tea Vegan Jelly with Poached Apples
April's Lemon Hop - Lemon Curd 'Cake Sandwiches'
March's Layers Hop - Rhubarb and Apple Sago Parfait
February's 'Love' Hop - African Almond, Pistachio and Orange Blossom Bites
January's Choc Hop - Black Forest Shots & Truffles in 3 Flavours: Paprika, Tahini & Strawberry Gum
December's Festive Hop - Chocolate Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding

This time round, being December - the theme is "Sweets for Santa". It is at this point I must confess a secret, I've had this dessert going round in my brain since last Xmas! Last year, right after the rush of Xmas - I happened upon a box of crushed up mini candy canes in the reduced section of my supermarket. Because they were all smashed, and because Xmas is over, they were 99c for the box! I bought them immediately and squirrelled them away. They've been sitting in my cupboard ever since and now I finally get the chance to bring you my Candy Cane Brownies (in parfait form!).


1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
50g dark chocolate
2/3 cup smashed candy canes

Vegan Brandy Whipped Cream
2 cans coconut cream, refrigerated for at least 24 hours
2 tbsp soft icing mixture
2 tsp brandy
More crushed candy canes, to garnish

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl.
3. Add the water and oil and mix into a thick batter.
4. Melt the chocolate in a metallic bowl sitting on top of a bowl of boiling water (make sure NO water gets into the actual chocolate, just use the heat from the boiling water to heat up the metallic bowl).
5. Stir the melted chocolate and the smashed candy canes (see note below on smashing up candy canes) into the mix.
6. Grease a small-medium square baking dish and line with greaseproof paper (this is important, as the candy canes will melt as they bake and become very sticky). Spread the batter evenly into the dish.
7. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, it is best if you can refrigerate them before assembling the parfaits, so the brownies can firm up.
8. To make the whipped cream: When you open the tin of coconut cream you will notice that the top is a very solid thick cream. Scoop out all of the solid thick cream on top (you can reserve the liquid to use in another meal – like a curry or a smoothie).
9. Put the thick cream into a bowl and mix well using a hand held electric mixer. Move the beaters up and down to try and get as much air into the cream as possible. Add the sugar and brandy and beat until it pretty much resembles thick cream.
10.To assemble, break up pieces of the brownie and place in the bottom of a glass (tumbler, martini glass, wine glass, beer glass - all work well!). Layer some cream on top and then repeat with another layer of brownie and then cream. Decorate with a layer of crushed candy canes

Makes 6 parfaits (varies, depending on the size of your glasses)

Tip: If you make these in advance, add the crushed candy canes on top just before serving, so they stay nice and crunchy.

What is the best way to smash a candy cane?

Smashing up candy canes into fine pieces can be easier said than done. Food processors don't work too well for candy canes - so here are some tips. The easiest way to smash your candy canes is if they come already in individual wrappings - just leave the candy cane in the plastic wrapping and then go to town on it with a meat tenderiser (yes, for some reason I own a meat tenderiser although I have never used it for tenderising meat) or a mallet. Or a hammer, for that matter. If you find they're not smashing up as easily as you'd like, you can put them in the freezer for a bit to make them more brittle. I didn't find this step necessary though.

If they're not in individual packaging, just put them all in a ziplock bag and then bash at them the same way, you'll end up with some holes in the bag but that doesn't really matter. Once they're all smashed up, snip the corner off the bag and you can pour out your shards easily and without making a big mess.

Happy Smashing!


  1. This looks great! I am so glad I checked out your recipe! I will make it this weekend!

    1. Glad you like! Let me know how it goes for you!

  2. The candy canes are such a cute festive touch!

    I haven't used coconut cream all that much so I've got a few questions. Does the coconut cream taste really coconutty in this dessert or is this quantity of sugar and brandy enough to hide it? What brand did you use? I've only used canned coconut cream once before and it wasn't pristine white!

    1. HI Stephanie, yes the coconut cream does taste coconuty. I like it, so I don't usually try to hide it. But I'm sure you could by increasing the sugar slightly, or adding something like vanilla extract? Different brands of coconut cream have slightly different results. I use Admiral, which is also conveniently one of the cheapest. All the coconut cream I have used has always been very white. In fact, it's whiter than cream usually (because cream has a slightly yellow tinge).

  3. Woaaah this looks amazing and I can't believe its vegan! Hope you have a lovely Christmas xx

  4. Yum! All my favourite Christmas things in a parfait glass :D Lovely! Merry Christmas!

  5. Mate, I am SO IMPRESSED with your incredible effort of taking part in all 12 blog hops!! Congrats! I had to miss a couple myself due to work so I know just how hard it is some months to find the time. Kudos to you. And these parfaits look incredible. Want!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. Sounds so festive and decadent! Love the list of hop posts, thanks for joining us each month!