Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

I was going through my vintage cookbooks again. I am fascinated by the strange food people ate in the 50s and 60's. Take this recipe from 1968, a pie made by mixing lime juice, marshmallows, and heavy cream into a graham crust studded with more mini marshmallows, green food colouring, optional. I would love to try this just to see how it looks! let alone to taste it.
However, while sifting through the outmoded and just plain grotesque, you will ocassionally come across a few gems, like these chocolate peppermint brownies.

A friend of mine from Lithography class mentioned her experiment of mixing hot chocolate and peppermint tea, and it gave me the inspiration for some chocolate mint brownies. I adore mint chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate peppermint bark, and I ate mentos by the handful as a kid but it always seemed wrong to put mint into anything that wasn't a full on cakes and brownies. However, my mind was changed after some free samples of the chocolate peppermint brownies at Starbucks.(I love when they give me free samples....its like they are feeding me to hang around, except that I already bought my 4 dollar latte)
The point of this long digression is that a pepperminty frosting over dense fudgy brownies is an inspired match. So when I was browsing my old cookbooks and found this recipe that calls for stuff I already have in my pantry, and no marshmallows in sight, I knew it would be great.

And it is, an elegant 3 layer brownie, consisting of: a fudgy dense brownie base, a white slick of peppermint frosting and a crackly chocolate topping. These would have been great at a 1950s dinner party, let alone a dinner party today, served on pretty platters with some peppermint tea or hot chocolate. These are really tasty, the main flavour here is the chocolate, the peppermint is refreshing but subtle. These are best served cut into tiny one inch squares for a little something sweet and refreshing after a nice dinner, because they are very rich. You could tint the peppermint layer green which would be so retro, but I decided that I would be serving it to people who may be a bit squeamish about food colouring and opted for white. I brought these to school and even got requests for the recipe!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Time: about 1-2 hours plus chilling time
Makes 24-30 bars depending on how you cut them, these are rich so cut them small!

• 2/3 cup butter
• 3 ounces(squares) unsweetened chocolate
• 2 cups brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1-1/4 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter and chocolate together in the top of a double boiler; remove from heat. Add brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla; blend well. Sift dry ingredients; add ad blend into chocolate mixture, mixing well.
2. Spread evenly in greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, until brownies are firm to the touch and will bounce back when lightly pressed. Cool thoroughly. Chill and glaze.

Mint frosting
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• ¼ cup softened butter
• 2 tablespoons milk or cream
• ½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1. Beat all ingredients until smooth; if desired tint with food colouring. Spread on bars; chill

Chocolate glaze (I just used about 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips melted for this step)

• 2 squares semisweet chocolate
• 2 tablespoons butter

1. Melt chocolate and butter; dribble over cooled firm frosting. Spread gently with spatula until surface is covered. Cool, cut into bars. Yield 24-30 bars depending on how small you cut them.

The Beta Sigma Phi Desserts Cookbook, 1968

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