I love cookbooks. Any and all cookbooks. Even if I never make a recipe out of them, I love just reading them. I have several older cookbooks that I’ve gotten from relatives, some were my grandma’s, and they are all so interesting. Especially church cookbooks. For some reason that I cannot explain, I am fascinated by recipes that our grandparents and great grandparents grew up on.
Because of my fascination with these kinds of recipes, Baked Explorations is my new favorite cookbook. The authors take a look at good, old fashioned desserts-the good, the bad, and the ugly. They adapted their favorites, but kept them simple and classic. There are a few that I recognized (monkey bread!!) and some I had never heard of. They even have 2 (yes, TWO!) recipes for whoopie pies. The whole book is amazing.
I saw the picture for this recipe and had to make them immediately. I am so glad I did. They were time consuming, but if you love mint, you will adore these brownies.
For the Brownie Base:
3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
5 oz dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 325.
2) Grease the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9×13 inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper and butter the parchment.
3) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
4) Place the chocolate and the butter in the bowl of a double boiler. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined.
5) Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined. Remove the bowl from the pan. At this point the mixture should be at room temperature. If it isn’t, allow to cool to room temp before continuing.
6) Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter or your brownies will be cakey.
7) Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.
8 ) Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and bake for approximately 13-18 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The brownies should be just a tad underdone (about 1 minute from being cooked completely). A toothpick inserted in the brownies at an angle should yield a few loose crumbs. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan while you make the creme de menthe filling.
For the Buttercream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk (I used 2% instead of whole, it was fine)
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 stick butter, softened but still cool, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp creme de menthe (prepare to learn how to make the Grasshopper cocktail to use up the rest of the bottle)
1 tsp peppermint extract
1) In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, 5-7 minutes.
2) Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. increase the speed to medium-high and beat until filling is light and fluffy. This will take a while, 10-15 minutes.
3) Add the creme de menthe and peppermint extract and mix until combined. If the filling is too soft, chill slightly in the refrigerator and then mix again until it is the proper consistency. If the filling is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to proper consistency. Spread the filling evenly across the top of the brownie layer and place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes while you make the chocolate glaze topping.
For the Chocolate Glaze
6 oz dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
1) Utilizing a double boiler, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir vigorously for 1 minute to release excess heat.
2) Pour the mixture over the chilled creme de menthe layer and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Place the pan back in the refrigerator and allow glaze to harden.
3) Remove the pan from the fridge, wait about 15 minutes for the glaze to soften slightly and cut the bars with a warm knife. If you don’t allow the topping to soften, it will crack. Cut into squares and serve immediately. You can store leftovers for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations.
Amazing. They are also incredibly rich, but they make 24 bars so the portions aren’t too big.
I’ll probably add these into my Christmas baking, but I doubt I’ll make them much more often than that. I spent a good three hours in the kitchen, and I just don’t have that kind of time very often.
But if you have time to make them, definitely do it! And go get the book. It’s really interesting to read about the history of these classic desserts.