Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mint-Chocolate Brownies

These brownies ARE holiday baking to me. Though I do make them at other times of the year, they are something my Mom made at the holidays, and I love, love, love them.

What You Need:
Brownie Layer:
1/2 cup whole milk
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz. chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
3/4 cup butter (divided)
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

Mint Layer:
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter (not margarine)
3 Tbsp. Creme de Menthe*
1 Tbsp. Water

Top Layer:
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening

Makes 3-4 dozen small brownies
*Note: Creme de Menthe is found in the liquor store or liquor section. You can buy it in clear or green. I like green because I like the color it adds. It's also yummy to add to hot chocolate on a cold winter's night. Mmmmmmm. 

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together the milk, brown sugar, chocolate, and 1/4 cup of the butter. Set aside to cool. (In a pinch, you could also use 8 oz. of Hershey's Syrup here to replace this homemade syrup, but this is so much better. The original recipe did call for Hershey's.)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.

In a mixer, cream together the remaining 1/2 cup (softened) butter and the sugar.

Add eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition.

Add remaining ingredients. Mix until the batter just comes together.

Pour into the pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cool completely. You can remove the brownies from the pan while they cool or as they cool. Just lift up on the extra flaps of parchment, and lift them out. Run a knife around the sides if they seem like they're sticking to the sides.

While the cake cools, make the mint layer.
In a mixer, cream together sugar, butter and creme de menthe. Add 1-2 Tbsp. of water if the mixture is too stiff to spread. I usually use 1 Tbsp. of water. If you add more than 3 Tbsp. Creme de Menthe, it starts tasting like alcohol.

Spread the filling evenly over the cooled brownie layer.

Let stand in the refrigerator until set.

While that sets, make the top chocolate layer.
In a small saucepan, or a double boiler, mix chocolate chips and shortening. Melt over low heat while stirring the whole time.

Spread a thin layer over the mint filling.

Cut the brownies shortly after spreading the chocolate layer.

It's useful to have a damp paper towel nearby to wipe off the knife after every few cuts. It gets rather gummed up with all of the filling and chocolate.

If you wait too long, the top layer cracks when you cut it. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

I recommend the freezer... or else you will just end up eating them all... like I do. (But they only take 5-10 minutes to defrost if you cut them small enough.)

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