There are two kinds of people in this world, at least when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day – those who see the holiday as an excuse to bring on the mint in all its gorgeous green glory and those who see rainbows everywhere. Based on those descriptions can you guess which one I am?
(I am well aware that there is an entire other kind of people who couldn’t care less about dessert and simply say bring bring me the Guinness 🍺, but I’m not going to go there this morning).
I was never much into rainbow food, even as a kid. There was a bread at our local supermarket that made an appearance every spring that was a veritable rainbow swirl. Bright green, blue, pink and yellow. It definitely didn’t look like food and it almost hurt my stomach just to look at it.
Today I feel the same way. I love a beautiful rainbow in the sky; but rainbow food just doesn’t do it for me. Well, except for rainbow sprinkles – you all know how I feel about my rainbow sprinkles. But towers of multi-colored cake aren’t my thing. I try to stay away from artificial colors and believe me when I tell you it takes a lot of food coloring to turn a cake those bright colors. I can appreciate how beautiful they look, but they also take a lot of work and often the real masterpiece is hidden behind a plain white frosting, So, I think it’s safe to say I’m not likely to be making a brightly-colored 7-layer cake anytime soon.
If, like me, you simply enjoy looking at these crazy-colored confections you can check out #rainbowcake on Instagram.
The mint madness, on the other hand, is something I can definitely get behind.
This weekend I made no less than five minty dishes: these gorgeous mint chocolate brownies that I am sharing today, a refrigerator chocolate mint cheesecake dessert (that I will share later in the week), mint chocolate chip ice-cream, mint muffins and chocolate mint waffles. Plus, I whipped up a mint avocado dressing for my gorgeous green salad that Kelly and I will be eating for lunch this week.
For this recipe I use a fudge-y brownie recipe that is lightly flavored with chopped Andes candies. You could substitute Andes mint chips if you have them available. If not, simply chop up one box of Andes mint candies and stir them into your batter.
First, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and lined a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. If you aren’t using parchment paper in your baking, you really should be. It makes removal of the brownies from the pan much easier, and it cuts down on clean up time. Win, win!
Once my pan was ready I melted the butter and chocolate chips together in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate was completely melted and the mixture was nice and creamy.
Then I set the chocolate aside to cool and combined my dry ingredients, flour, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl.
When the chocolate was cool, I transferred it to a large mixing bowl and added both sugars, mixing well. Then I added the eggs, one a time, stirring well after each addition and I stirred in the vanilla. Finally, I added the flour and cocoa mixture and mixed just until combined and then I stirred in my chopped Andes candies.
I transferred the batter to my prepared pan and baked it at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Of course, oven temperatures vary but since I cooked this on a slightly lower heat (to keep the brownies fudgey), I found they took a little longer to cook. Start checking the brownies at 29-30 minutes to make sure they don’t overcook, but be aware they could take up to 36 to 37 minutes to cook.
While the brownies cooled I prepared my mint frosting. This is a buttercream mint frosting and it is delicious. I whipped 1 cup of softened butter in the bowl of my stand mixer until it was light and creamy. Then I added in the vanilla and mint extracts, some heavy cream and food coloring. I don’t always use food coloring (and probably would not have if I weren’t photographing these for the blog, but I find the green frosting just gives the brownies the extra pop they need to grab readers’ attention). Finally, I reduce the mixer speed – make sure you do this or you will have powdered sugar everywhere! – and added the confectioners sugar one cup at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Sometimes, I also add some additional heavy cream to reach a nice spreadable consistency.
The last step was to make the ganache – which couldn’t be easier. I placed the chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl and then heated up my heavy cream in a medium saucepan until it began to bubble. Do not bring the cream to a boil or it will make a huge mess. I poured the hot cream over the chocolate chips and walked away. I like to let the cream start melting the chips on its own, so I leave it to its things for about five minutes. Then I grabbed a whisk and whisked away until chocolate was completely melted and the ganache was shiny.
Then, it was time to assemble the brownies. I gave the brownies a nice thick coating of mint frosting – I did not use all of my frosting, but I’m already looking for creative ways to use the extra. Or maybe I will just eat it with a spoon. You will probably have extra too, but please don’t halve the recipe or you frosting will be skimpy. And we don’t like skimpy frosting around here, do we? I drizzled the brownies with chocolate ganache and cut them into bars.
Finally, they were ready to eat! And, if you ask my kiddos, not a moment too soon.