Mint chocolate brownies

Baking has become a kind of solace for me–a way to focus the mind and lift the spirits. So having a little friends gathering gave me the perfect excuse to spend the day tinkering in the kitchen. I had a hankering for something chocolatey but that would be easy for people to serve themselves. I hadn’t made brownies in years, and a new mint chocolatey twist on a classic seemed like just the ticket.

Recipe

adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts

Brownies
1¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1½ oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp peppermint extract
½ cup sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
pinch of salt
1½ tsp heavy whipping cream
1½ tsp instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
½ tsp white (clear) crème de menthe
3 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

Glaze
6 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ tbsp peppermint extract

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350 F. Butter sides of 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Line pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Butter foil. Stir chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, butter, and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool.

Sift flour and salt into small bowl. Mix cream, espresso powder, and crème de menthe in a small cup. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until frothy. Fold in cream mixture, then melted chocolate. Fold in dry ingredients. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake until tester inserted in centre comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes (surface may crack). Using metal spatula, press down brownie edges to level top. Cool 30 minutes on rack.

Glaze: Meanwhile, stir chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, butter, and peppermint extract in heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Let cool until thick enough to spread. Spread glaze over brownies. Let brownies stand 4 hours at room temperature.

Using foil as aid, lift brownies from pan. Fold down foil sides and cut into squares.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: The original recipe called for mint chocolate chips, for which I substituted peppermint extract and semi-sweet chocolate chips. As I had someone coming who is gluten-free, I also used gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.

The brownies seemed to be a hit, with a nice concentrated chocolatey flavour. I was definitely guess-timating how much peppermint extract to use as a result of switching out mint chocolate chips for regular chocolate chips, but I think I managed to hit on just the right amount of mint flavour without encroaching on toothpaste territory (always a danger when working with peppermint extract). These little bad boys are fairly rich, so a piece or two goes a long way.

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