>chocolate mint brownies

>Baking. Ugh. My skills in this area are less than par. Can’t seem to get the timing down or master the perfection of doneness. My layer cakes are lopsided and my cookies too brown. I think it’s the kitchen’s fault. It has to be the lack of the Viking range, I’m sure of it. It couldn’t be my inability…or could it? As an aside, I also struggle with frosting the finished products. Crumbs always seem to mix in while spreading the layer of frosting. Any tips here are appreciated… Regardless, I am in need of a baking overhaul. You heard it. 2011 will begin the journey of improvement.

I found this recipe for chocolate mint brownies. The mint layer can be colored green to make them festive for St. Patrick’s Day. However, if you don’t care for mint, these brownies are pretty amazing by themselves – they’re rich and fudgy.

Chocolate Mint Brownies (adapted from joyofbaking.com)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Have ready a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan. Set aside. The original recipe said to line the pan with aluminum foil, but I had issues with removing from bars once done.)
Brownie Layer:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces (114 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Brownies: 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:

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract or 1-2 tablespoons creme de menthe
green food coloring (optional)

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.

Chocolate Glaze:

3 ounces (90 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread over the mint filling and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate glaze starts to dull.

To Serve: Remove the brownies from the pan by lifting with the ends of the foil and transfer to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into 30 squares. It is a good idea to wipe your knife between cuts with a damp cloth. These brownies can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or else frozen.

Makes about 30 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares.

You can see my kids enjoyed them. Brendan & Clare finished before I had a chance to snap some pictures, but Dane & Eleanor took a little more time.

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