Happy New Year! I'm not one for resolutions, but this year I would like to post more recipes than I was able to in 2018. Let's call it a goal. Not sure how it will go what with wedding planning and wedding happening and going back to school and working full time and whatnot...but goals are meant to challenge and inspire, so bring it on 2019!
Chocolate and mint is one of my favorite dessert combinations. Junior mints, andes mints, thin mints - yes please! But these chocolate mint brownie bars, also known as Grasshopper Bars, are one of my favorite dessert memories from my childhood. I can't say I didn't definitely stuff as many of these in my face as possible when they'd appear on a dessert buffet...
These are not particularly difficult to make. Take your favorite brownie recipe (or mine), add some easy-peasy mint buttercream frosting, and cover it with a quick ganache. Chill and voila! Honestly, the most obnoxious part (if you care about the chocolate not getting all over the sides of the mint part of your bars) is wiping the knife clean between every cut. But, they'll taste just as delicious regardless of what they look like.
MAKES 16-25 (you can cut them 4x4, 4x5, or 5x5)
1 stick butter
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or callets
3/4 cups sugar (150g)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon espresso powder
3/4 cup AP flour (90g)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
2.5 cups powdered sugar (284g)
2 Tablespoons custard powder or vanilla pudding powder
(instant or cook + serve are both fine; this item is optional, but makes the recipe better)
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons mint liqueur (creme de menthe, peppermint schnapps, etc.)
mint extract (optional, to taste if the liqueur doesn't make it minty enough for you)
green food coloring (optional)
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or callets
2 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces heavy cream
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
large chef's knife
small offset spatula
medium saucepan or microwave safe mixing bowl
stand mixer with paddle attachment OR hand mixer with large bowl
medium to large glass mixing bowl
baking spray or extra butter or shortening
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil (use THIS tip!) and spray with baking spray or grease the bottom & sides with butter or shortening.
Melt 1 stick of butter and 6oz dark chocolate in your mixing bowl - to do this, start by microwaving for one minute, then stir, and continue melting/stirring in 20 second intervals. Once it’s almost fully melted (but there are still a few lumps of chocolate), whisk until smooth and slightly cooled.
Add 150g (3/4c) sugar, 1TB vanilla, and 1tsp espresso powder, and whisk until fully combined.
Add 2 eggs, and whisk again until combined.
Whisk in 90g AP flour and 1/2tsp salt until just combined and no traces of flour are left.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, and bake 20 minutes, until the middle is just set and the frosting no longer glossy/wet.
Let the brownies cool completely before moving onto the next step. Once the pan is warm but not hot, you can speed this up by putting them in the fridge or the freezer for a bit. If they are still warm at all when you add the frosting layer, it will melt and get super messy and not what you want at all!
While the brownies are cooling, make the frosting in your stand mixer or using your hand mixer and additional mixing bowl:
Cream one stick of butter (must be room temp) on medium high with 2TB of custard or vanilla pudding powder and a pinch of salt.
Once light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes of mixing), scrape down your bowl, then add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix until fully combined and fluffy again, making sure to start on low and then move to medium-high so that powdered sugar doesn't fly everywhere when you turn on the mixer.
Add another 1c of powdered sugar and repeat mixing.
Add the final half cup of powdered sugar and keep the mixer on low. As it begins to combine, stream in your 3TB of heavy cream, and the your 3TB mint liqueur.
Once fully combined and fluffy, taste to see if it's minty enough for you. If it's not, add 1/4tsp mint extract at a time until it is, then with your final mix add some green food coloring (if you're using gel 1-2 drops should do it)
Once your brownies are cool to the touch, spread the mint buttercream evenly on top of the brownies with an offset spatula, then put in the fridge while you make the ganache topping.
Ganache Topping: In a medium saucepan on the stove, or in a microwave safe mixing bowl, melt 6 ounces chocolate, 2TB of butter, 2oz cream, and 1TB corn syrup.
If stovetop, stir to combine every 30 seconds or so, removing it from the heat as soon as everything is smooth and come together.
If microwave, start by heating for one minute, then mix and let rest for a minute, then heat again for 20 second increments, checking and stirring in between.
You want the mixture to end up as cool as possible, but of course warm enough to have melted and combined.
Once it is no longer hot to the touch (warm is okay), pour it over your frosted brownies still in the pan, and smooth it even with an offset spatula.
Chill brownies in fridge until the topping has hardened, about 4 hours.
When ready to cut using your large knife, warm the knife under hot water and have a damp paper towel ready to wipe the knife clean between cuts. Each cut you make some of the chocolate topping will end up on the knife, and then if you cut again right away it will transfer to the sides of the bars covering the pretty green layer. This is completely fine if you're main concern is how they taste, but make sure you have a relatively clean knife for each cut if you care.
These will keep in the fridge for a week or more in an air-tight container. I haven't frozen them before, but I imagine they would freeze quite well for a few months wrapped in a layer of aluminum and then plastic wrap.