Chocolate and mint. One of the best combos. When Terry sent me this recipe from David Lebovitz’s blog, I knew I had to make them. He adapted it from Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies. And what was most impressive about David’s post- is that he makes his own peppermint patties! He doesn’t include the recipe- so I scoured the internet- finding one on Epicurious- and finding out that people actually make these… from scratch. And as ridiculous as this is- the more I thought about it- the more I had to do it. All I needed was a lovely weekend at Mrs. Weiner’s- with a lot of time and counter space- to get these done. These brownies are crazy awesome good. Next time, I don’t feel like it is wholly necessary to make your own peppermint patties- and would probably just use Yorks- to cut down on time. I would make the peppermint patties again though- to eat on their own- and have included the recipe below. I have huge respect for Maida and her brownies– and have come to trust anything she does. This makes a shit ton of brownies. They are very rich- so best to cut them into thin bars or small squares. Enough for a party. And I am just going to say something wild here— but I bet you could do the same thing with peanut butter cups. And can even your own on those too… peanut butter patties… or maybe even caramel ones…ah, for another day.
8 ounces (225g) unsweetened chocolate
8 ounces (225g) unsalted butter
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso
3 1/2 cups (350g) sugar
1 2/3 cup (170g) sifted flour
about 2 pounds (1kg) chocolate-covered thin mints (peppermint patties) or you can make your own
1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC).
2. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil, shiny side down. Smooth the foil then butter it lightly or coat it with nonstick spray- see Just the Tips #2.
3. Chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes, then warm them together in a medium bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as both are melted and smooth.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or by hand, whip the eggs, vanilla, salt, instant coffee, and sugar on high speed for about ten minutes until foamy and stiff.
5. By hand, stir in the chocolate mixture, then the flour.
6. Smooth half of the batter into the pan. Place a layer of thin mints over the chocolate, breaking the mints into pieces to fill in any large gaps. [or as I did use measure one giant slab of mint pattie]
7. Pour the rest of the batter over the mints and smooth the top.
8. Bake the brownies for 35 minutes, rotating the brownies midway during baking.
When the brownies are done, they will have a firm crust on top but a toothpick inserted into the center should come out wet. Do not overbake the brownies. [I took mine out after 30 mins and they were perfect- they cook more as they cool]
9. Let the brownies cool completely [this took several hours], then lift them out of the pan and slice into rectangles.
Storage: The brownies will keep at room temperature for up to three days. They can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months.
*Adaption- Peanut Butter brownies– so I didn’t try it with the peanut butter cups- which I still think is a great idea. Instead, I used the same brownie recipe and incorporated a peanut butter swirl. To do this, you can pour in half the batter, then glob big spoons of creamy peanut butter- don’t use natural- in random places. Then take a knife and run it in figure 8s to swirl the peanut butter. Pour rest of batter and repeat the process. When I made in the Adirondaks- we only did peanut butter on top layer- and the general consensus was that people wish there was more pb throughout- instead of mainly on top. Otherwise- follow recipe as above.
I would definitely make these again. If not for the brownies, then just as a candy treat. This recipe came from Epicurious but I simplified it quite a bit. To make little circular patties, they suggest rolling out the mint center, cutting out circles w. cookie cutters, and using a candy thermometer- which, if you read my salted caramel post- know my dislike for. And then they dip the rounds in chocolate- but dipping was enough of a pain in the ass for the cake balls– that I steer clear of it where I can. For the brownies- I doubled the recipe- and made a giant slab- and then trimmed it to the brownie pan specifications. But even if I was not using them for the brownies, i’d still make a big block and cut in rectangles like Andes. Or if you want to be fancy, take a cookie cutter and cut out any shapes you want from the finished slab. This is much easier to me than dealing w. the dipping. The whole candy thermometer bit, which I ignored, is that you don’t want the chocolate to be so hot that it melts the mint. So what I did was. once the chocolate was melted, just wait a minute until it is slightly cooled to use.
I doubled the recipe below to fit in the brownies.
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (less than 1 pound), divided
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat-free)
10 ounces 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used ghiradelli bittersweet which is 60%)
Beat 2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, shortening, and a pinch of salt using an electric mixer (with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) at medium speed until just combined. Knead on a work surface dusted with remaining 1/4 cup confectioners sugar until smooth. Roll out between sheets of parchment paper on a large baking sheet into a 7- to 8-inch round (or rectangle) (less than 1/4 inch thick) [I doubled the recipe so had about a 10 x 15 ovalish shape- trimmed later to 9×13 rectangle]. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove top sheet of paper and sprinkle round with confectioners sugar. Replace top sheet, then flip round over and repeat sprinkling on other side.
Line a cookie sheet w. parchment paper. Melt half of chocolate in a metal bowl(or pyrex) set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. [If the chocolate is too hot it will melt the mint.] Pour chocolate on parchment paper and spread with spatula or some such into a thin chocolate layer- should be about the size of your mint layer. Place the frozen mint layer on top. Put in the fridge while you melt the rest of the chocolate. Melt rest of chocolate- allow again to cool slightly- spread over mint layer. Put cookie sheet in fridge to set, about an hour. Cut into little Andes size rectangles- or cut out desired shapes. I think these are best kept in the fridge.