There was no way I could resist sharing a “bit o’ the green”, in brownie form, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. I often took these mint brownies to potlucks at work, and they were always well received. But when I checked my bottle of mint extract, I realized it was almost empty. And when I went to the grocery store, I found that they were completely out of mint extract.
I just hate it when everyone in Dexter decides to make the same dish I am thinking of, but they get to the store for ingredients before me! It seems to happen before every pandemic holiday (sigh…). The next day, I extended my shopping to include Ann Arbor, and had better luck, so I am now able to share the recipe for minty brownies that look and taste wonderful.
Of course, you have to like mint, or you will not be impressed. When I told my 5 year old granddaughter I was bringing a special dessert to her family later in the day, she was excited: “What is it?!”
“Mint Brownies!!!” I said.
“I think I’ll pass.” She said.
Hmmph. Then she explained, “Sorry, Foo Foo, I don’t like mint. It’s just not the best kind of flavor for my mouth.”
I still brought the brownies to her parents–and an ice cream bar for her.
But for the mint aficionados out there, I will share my “some people like it” prize recipe. This really is a simple, moist, easy-to-make brownie. Melt the unsweetened chocolate using the double boiler method. I put some water in a small pot, bring it to a boil, and turn off the heat. Then I place the bowl of chopped chocolate over top, and cover it with another favorite kitchen tool: a silicone lid.
When my friend Peggy gave me one of these lids, I was hooked, and now have eight in different sizes and shapes. Silicone lids work on steel, glass, plastic, ceramic, even wood. I use mine on pots, pans, and bowls for cooking and/or covering food—on the stove top, microwave, oven, refrigerator or freezer. The suction cup-like grip keeps flavors in, unwanted flavors out, and ingredients moist; a great invention in my book.
Then I discovered that I could put a silicone lid over top of a bowl of chopped chocolate to speed up the melting process. In addition, I didn’t have to worry about the chocolate seizing from getting too hot or having any steam/water accidentally get into the bowl.
Let the chocolate cool while mixing the rest of the brownie base; beat the butter and sugar-then the eggs. Stir in flour and mint extract, then the melted chocolate. Note that there is no leavening in these brownies—that is not a mistake in the list of ingredients. These are not cake like, but are thin, dense and moist. I took the brownie base out of the pan to show how thin it is, but it is easiest to frost the brownies while they are still in the pan. After cooling, the brownies are spread with a simple frosting. Combine butter, confectioner’s sugar, mint extract and enough milk to make a spreading consistency. Stir in a few drops of green food coloring.
Then the fun part starts. Melt the last bit of unsweetened chocolate. I like to do this in a little glass bowl in the microwave because it is such a small amount of chocolate. Just watch and stir it every 10-15 seconds until melted. It should take less than a minute and can be removed before the last bits melt completely. Just stir until it is all smooth.
Use a small teaspoon to drizzle parallel lines across the top of the frosting. Don’t worry about how perfect the lines are—they can be wobbly or uneven like mine. Just move the spoon along and try to keep the spacing mostly the same. After the top is covered with the lines, grab another great kitchen tool–a toothpick. Starting at one end, drag a toothpick at a ninety-degree angle across the lines. Then move the toothpick down about half an inch and drag the toothpick back again to the other side. Keep alternating the back and forth dragging until you end up with a beautiful pattern like this:
It is important to chill the frosted brownies in the refrigerator. for a few minutes until the chocolate sets up before cutting them. Otherwise, you will end up swirling it all together instead of having a distinct pattern. And don’t leave the brownies in the refrigerator, or they will be too hard. Cut and serve these with coffee, tea, or milk.
By the way, aforementioned Granddaughter had a taste of her mother’s mint brownie and decided: “But mint’s okay on brownies!”
- 1/2 Cup Butter, softened
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs, beaten
- 1/2 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
- 1/2 Cup Sifted Flour
- 2 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate, melted and cooled
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, softened
- 2 Tablespoon Milk
- 2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
- 3-4 Drops Green or Red Food Coloring
- 1 Ounce Unsweetened Chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a nine-inch square pan with parchment paper and/or spray with cooking oil spray.
Beat butter with granulated sugar until smooth. Stir in eggs, peppermint extract, and flour. Mix until thoroughly blended. Stir in melted chocolate until well combined. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan.
Combine softened butter, confectioner’s sugar, and milk, beating until smooth. Stir in food coloring until well blended. Spread over cooled brownie base.
Meanwhile, melt unsweetened chocolate in microwave, stirring every 10-15 seconds, until smooth.
Drizzle parallel lines of melted chocolate over frosting, approximately 1/2 inch apart. Drag a toothpick back and forth, perpendicular to the chocolate lines, alternating direction each time.
Refrigerate until glaze is set. Trim edges all around. Cut into 16 squares, then cut each square into a triangle or rectangle.