I also love to bake. I love chocolate. And food, in general. I don’t believe in “dieting”. I don’t believe in low-fat or eating fake sugar. I think a nice hot toddy will cure many ailments.
The thing is – to me, these two philosophies make perfect sense together.
Being healthy is so much more than what you eat. It’s having a balanced approach to life where your lifestyle, relationships, career, creativity, exercise, and of course your food, all support you reaching your goals.
And my perfect blend of lifestyle elements includes baking, eating and sharing the occasional indulgent treat.
Enter: the Creme de Menthe bar. When I’m in need of an intense chocolate hit, this is it. A rich, dense, fudgy brownie layer topped with cooling, minty buttercream, and a drizzle of bitter chocolate. Oh, I’m in love.
To be enjoyed in moderation.
Creme de Menthe is that bright green, super sweet and minty liqueur which is used in our house for two things: making these brownies, and for spiking cups of hot chocolate (yum!). If you prefer not to have alcohol, just use some peppermint extract in the frosting instead.
Pay no attention to the photo for presentation. I got so carried away wanting to eat a brownie that I rushed through the photo taking process and got sloppy. I suggest cutting these bars into thin strips because the flavor is so rich. Also, make sure to wipe off your knife between cuts, to avoid crumbs stuck into the pretty green frosting. Or just eat the crumbs. That works too.
Creme de Menthe Bars
9 in x 13 in pan. Makes approximately 36 brownies.
200 g. (7 oz) bittersweet baking chocolate (70% cocoa)
250 g. (8 oz) salted butter
80 g. (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
65 g. (1/2 c.) plain white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
350 g. (1.5 cups) sugar
1.5 cups (170 g) powdered (icing) sugar, sifted
2.5 Tb. butter, soft
1 Tb. creme de menthe
1 oz. unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
1 Tb. butter
Preheat the oven to 180c / 275F. Line your baking pan greaseproof paper (or just grease the pan well).
Melt 200g. dark chocolate and 250 g. butter in a double boiler, bain marie, or a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl, combine cocoa, flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the 4 eggs and mix well.
Now pour in the melted chocolate mixture, stirring well and scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. This batter is super glossy and shiny!
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan (a toothpick inserted in the center will still have a moist crumb on it – you want the brownies to be fudgy in the center!)
Let the brownies cool in the pan.
Frosting – In a bowl, combine the icing sugar, creme de menthe and soft butter. Beat vigorously until it looks smooth and creamy like icing! Spread onto the cooled brownies.
Drizzle – Again in a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Drizzle in thin lines across the top of the mint icing.
Let the icing harden in the fridge, and then slice with a thin, sharp knife, wiping the blade between cuts.
I like to store these brownies in the fridge so the icing remains firm.