Whip half a cup of heavy cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to use.
In a small saucepan combine milk, remaining heavy cream, and sugar. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in peppermint extract.
Divide among serving mugs and top with whipped cream and a candy cane.
Prep 36 non-stick mini muffin tin cups by either spraying generously with non-stick spray or greasing and flouring. See note.
Chop the semi-sweet chocolate and measure out 4 ounces. In a large bowl combine the 4 ounces of chocolate with the butter and microwave at 30-second intervals until melted, stirring often.
Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fully combined.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt directly into the bowl. Whisk to combine just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Scoop the batter into prepared mini muffin cups using a level 2 tbsp scoop.
Bake on the centre rack for 12 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the tombstones but slicing each cookie wafer into thirds, tapering the bottom slightly inward toward the center piece to create a tombstone shape. Reserve the side pieces that have been cut off.
Crush reserved cookie wafers that have been cut off the sides to a fine crumb that resembles dirt and set aside.
Dust each tombstone piece with a small amount of powdered sugar by rubbing the sugar lightly onto the cookie wafer.
Melt the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave using 30 second intervals and stirring often until melted.
Remove brownie bites from the pan and spread the tops with a small teaspoon of melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with crumbled cookie wafers and press lightly to adhere.
Push a tombstone wafer into each brownie bite, cutting a small slit in the brownie if needed to push in far enough to hold in place.
Decorate with candy bones, spiders, or worms as desired. Drizzle with red decorating gel to mimic blood. Serve and enjoy!
- I have used both pan preparation methods with similar results. The key is to allow the brownie bites to cool completely in the pan before trying to remove them. Loosen the tops from the pan with a sharp knife if necessary. Twist the brownie lightly to loosen and the brownie should pop out.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake pans as per option 1 or option 2 below.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.
In a large bowl whisk together eggs, oil, milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Stir in parsnips.
Option 1: Line the bottoms of 3 - 8" round cake pans with parchment and spray sides with non-stick spray. Divide batter evenly into each pan and spread out with a spatula (about 13 ounces per pan). Bake on centre rack for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Remove cake from pans and peel off parchment. Brush each layer with the simple syrup. Arrange one layer on a serving plate and spread with approximately 1/4 of icing. Top with another layer and repeat with icing and top with the remaining cake layer. Ice the top, reserving a small amount of icing to fill in the layer sides. Run a bench scraper or long straight edge spatula around the outside of the cake to smear and flatten the icing into a "naked cake" look. Dust the top with cinnamon and cut into desired wedges.
Option 2: Spray a 9"x13" pan with non-stick spray. Pour batter into the pan and spread out evenly with a spatula. Bake on centre rack for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Brush with simple syrup and spread evenly with frosting. Cut into desired squares and serve.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil stirring until sugar is dissolved. Once at a boil, allow syrup to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in brandy. Allow to cool completely before brushing on the cake.
Cream Cheese Icing
Beat butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, spices and vanilla. Beat until just combined. Frost cake as desired.
Using a food processor, blend pretzels and sugar until you have a fine crumb. Add melted butter and pulse until combined.
Press crumbs evenly into a 10" springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes, remove and allow to cool to room temperature while preparing the filling.
Increase oven to 400°F.
Hull strawberries and cut in quarters. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Flip strawberries and continue to roast for 20 minutes. Strawberries will be soft and jammy. Allow them to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Beat in yogurt, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Keep chilled until ready to proceed.
Whip heavy cream and the remaining 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until stiff. Keep chilled until ready to proceed.
Once strawberries have cooled, combine with the granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and blend until pureed and combined.
Stir strawberry mixture into the cream cheese/yogurt mixture until completed combined. Fold in whipped cream and pour over cooled pretzel crust. Smooth out top and place in freezer for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, remove from freezer and remove outer springform ring at least 20 minutes prior to serving. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with additional whipped cream and fresh macerated strawberries if desired.
-strawberries can be roasted and chilled one day ahead.
-frozen cake well covered will keep for up to a month in the freezer.