Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mint Brownies

Birthdays are synonymous with cake, but I think I’ve overdone it on cake recently, as noted by the last two posts about cakes. So when we had another birthday in the office, I knew I had to come up with something different to bake. I LOVE brownies and believe that my Mom’s fudge brownies are the best in the world. I think I’ve mentioned them before they are the infamous “Breakfast Brownies” that some of my SMC Gaels know very well. If you know me or read this blog at all, you know that I also love chocolate and mint together. Bringing those two loves together, I have come up with this recipe.

Now, this recipe is the product of much research and thought. I poured through my baking cookbooks for brownie recipes, frosting tips, and icing ideas. I searched the internet for recipes that all three. I should mention that I was already in possession of a family recipe for Brownies with Mint Filling, so this was my inspiration for flavor and design. But the last time I made them I didn’t like the brownie part and was confused as to why my filling had flour in it. Unnecessary, right? So I called my editor/sister Erin, and set to figure out what the right recipes would be. I wanted to use Mom’s brownie recipe because there is no better brownie in my opinion. Her recipe produces rich, fudgey brownies that can’t be beat. Warmed up and served a la mode or eaten in its most basic form, they are always, always delicious. But, I knew that I would likely serve the brownies cold—I love chocolate and mint cold…like mint chocolate chip ice cream or frozen Thin Mint cookies—so I wanted a brownie that was just slightly cakey. Not too cakey, obviously, as I was over making and eating cake. But when my Mom’s brownies are served cold, they are SO dense. So the brownie recipe below is adapted to be just a little bit lighter: sifted flour and baking powder to lift it up a bit.

For the frosting, I found a great recipe from I knew that it would be the perfect to top my Mom’s brownies. I decided to increase the original recipe and overloaded on the peppermint extract too. The amounts I used are included in this recipe. For the pièce de résistance, I just used what I had available. I wasn’t in the mood to open up another stick of butter, so I used the 2 tablespoons I had out. When I noticed it needed more liquid, I added some heavy cream. I just kept monitoring it and keep track of what I added until I had a gorgeous, glossy, shiny chocolate ganache. Unfortunately, the ganache didn’t stick well to the frosting after it had been refrigerated, as it kept sliding around as I tried to cut the bars in the morning. But the flavors were perfect, so I’m not sure how I would proceed next. Thoughts? I welcome a discussion about what to do to make my layers stick together.

I hope you enjoy these absolutely incredible mint brownies. I’m quite proud of them because I really felt like I took control over an idea and my recipes and made dessert that I was envisioning at the start of this endeavor. Enjoy and let me know how they turn out if you make them!

Fudge Brownies
10 tablespoons butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Mint Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar
1½ tablespoons peppermint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
few drops of green food coloring

Chocolate Ganache
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan; set aside.  Start with the brownies and in a 2-quart pan, melt butter and chocolate over medium-low heat; stir until well blended. 
Slowly melting the chocolate and butter together.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition.
Mix in the eggs one at a time!

Stir in sifted flour and baking powder. Pour into prepared pan. 
The sifted flour and baking powder take the brownie from fudgey to cakey!

Bake 15-17 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely.
They are a perfect combination of fudgy and cakey!

Mix together all the frosting ingredients until creamy.
For some reason, the frosting is very blue in this picture. It wasn't in reality.

Spread on the cooled pan of brownies. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Ah, there we go. Delicious green mint frosting!

For the ganache, combine butter, heavy cream, and chocolate chips in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until smooth; add vanilla and blend thoroughly.
The ganache needs to be very smooth so it spreads easily on the mint frosting.

Pour gently over frosting and spread until all of the frosting is covered. Refrigerate until set.

Cover the frosting with chocolate ganache and let it set!
The perfect ratio of brownie to mint frosting to chocolate ganache.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my Mint Brownies!!

<3 Buttercup

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