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Chocolate and peppermint are a classic holiday flavor combination, and what could be more indulgent than rich, fudgy brownies topped with a layer of white chocolate peppermint bark?

But as festive as the Stonewall Kitchen Peppermint Bark Brownie Mix was, at $15.95 it also seemed exorbitantly expensive. The box contained a package of brownie mix, a pouch of white chocolate chips, and a little bag of crushed red and white peppermint candy. Could it really be worth the cost?

At that price point, I would expect dense, intensely chocolaty gourmet-quality brownies topped with a firm, smooth layer of white chocolate bark loaded with fresh, snappy peppermint flavor.

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To prepare the base layer, I combined the brownie mix with two eggs and seven tablespoons of melted butter. I liked that the batter was a bit chunky. There were little pieces of chocolate chips in it, which always make for more decadent brownies—the chips melt at the brownies bake, leaving little pools of molten chocolate.

To finish the brownies after baking, I melted the white chocolate and smoothed it over the top surface. Next, I sprinkled on the peppermint candy and put the whole pan in the fridge to set up.

Cutting the brownies was a bit of a challenge. When I sliced through the peppermint bark it had a tendency to split, shatter, and break away from the brownie base. About half of my finished brownies lost a portion of their bark. The results looked more than a little haphazard.

But despite their somewhat raggedy appearance, the brownies tasted quite delicious. The base was rich and thick, sturdy enough to stand up to the bark. The peppermint was fresh and zingy, and nicely balanced with the chocolate. This mix would make a lovely gift, but in the end, it's hard to justify the price tag. Instead, I would recommend topping your favorite (cheaper) brownie mix with white chocolate and crushed candy canes.

About the Author: Lucy Baker is a food writer and the author of The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets. She is currently at work on a second book about homemade food gifts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dachshund.

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