Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mint Brownies

Happy Birthday
This treat is for you!

Truth be told… I have no idea if you like mint or brownies, but since it’s your birthday (and St. Paddy’s day) I thought I’d dedicate this treat to you. I know you try to keep your sweets to a minimum so I cut these very small (1 inch squares). This way, if you can resist eating more than one, the sugar effects would be minimal. On the other hand, I also know you like to exercise so if you do happen to eat more than one, you have a good excuse to hit the pavement and work off your spoils.

From what I was told, these brownies were amazing and by far the most eaten out of the array I had made for a baby shower earlier this week. I can’t tell you first hand what they tasted like because I couldn’t eat a single one. Not even a taste to see if my mint ratios were correct! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to bake/cook when you take snitches of what you are preparing? It’s hard and I hope you only ever have to take my word for it. Set aside the challenge of getting the recipe just right, it’s torture for the food loving soul. (I wonder if I could start a book series based on that title- you know to play on the other multimillion dollar book franchise about a warm broth for the whatever loving soul…I think my book would do better though because I think people like to torture themselves.) Anyway, I’ll address that particular problem (about not being able to eat the food I prepare) later. For now, enjoy your Birthday/St. Patrick’s Day Sweet.

Oh and now for a little baking explanation. I found these little beauties off of the website scrumptious photography and yes, I am aware that her photography skills are far superior than mine...I’m over it. After much deliberation, I decided to change a few things with the recipe. To start, I didn't feel her pictures were "minty" enough, so I one-and-a-halfed the mint layer portion of the recipe. (recipe below reflects the change). Since I didn’t have any peppermint extract or crème de menthe on hand I used lorAnn’s Oils Crème de Menthe Flavor. Which, I’m told is a stronger concentration than either of the other flavoring methods mentioned and for best results should be done to taste (hard to do when you can’t taste-so I used my brother and his wife to help me out). I used close to ½ a dram for my recipe.

The other thing I changed was the addition of a drippy ganache (which I can never spell correctly and neither can spellchecker) and an Andes Mint as garnish. I was going for "WOW" factor and/or pretty presentation. I’m not sure I achieved either, but the brownies were gobbled up so that must say something. 

-brownies adapted from: /
-ganache adapted from: annies-eats

Brownie Layer:
½ cup unsalted butter, but into pieces
4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Scharffen Berger 99%)
1 ¼ cups granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Mint Layer:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
¼ to ½ a dram (1-2 ml) lorAnn Oils Crème de Menthe flavor
2 drops liquid green food coloring

Chocolate Ganache:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Andes Mints, cut in half on the diagonal
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Have ready a 8 x 8 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan (avoid glass) that has been lined with parchment paper across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan, like a sling. Set aside.

In a stainless steel (heatproof) bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (with a wooden spoon) after each addition. Stir in the flour and salt and beat, with a wooden spoon, until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan (about one minute). Pour the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. 

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the edges of the brownies are just beginning to brown. A toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies will come out almost clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to completely cool.

Mint Layer:
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients until smooth. Add a few drops of green food coloring if you want the frosting green. If the frosting is too thick, add a little extra cream. (The frosting should be just thin enough to spread.) Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled brownie layer. Place in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes or until firm. Cut brownies into individual pieces and arrange ½ an inch apart on a cookie tray covered with parchment paper. (this is so you can drip the ganache off the sides)

Chocolate Ganache:
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.  Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 3 minutes.  (Do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to drip over the brownies.)  Dip a small spoon into the ganache and with the backside of the spoon dab the ganache onto each brownie square ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides. Place Andes mint on top of ganache for garnish and refrigerate the brownies until the glaze is set, at least 1 hour.  

Bring back to room temperature before serving.



Julie said...

Mmm Yum!

kimberly salem said...

glad the recipe turned out well for you! your changes sound yummy :)
-kim (from scrumptious photography)

Eftychia said...

These brownies look extremely tasty! Thanks!!

Cooking Rookie said...

Beutiful! And I bet yummy :-)