It’s St. Patrick’s Day week and whether we’re Irish or not, it’s so much fun to celebrate any and all things “Irish”! My contribution to this most green of days are these Chocolate Mint Ganache Brownies. Leave off the minty-green piping and you can serve these amazing ganache-glazed brownies any time of the year… I found this Grasshopper Brownies recipe on a favorite blog, Smitten Kitchen and adapted it using my standard maple syrup sweetener. Doing so, slightly reduces the amount of butter and egg in the recipe, which, along with the use of an unrefined sweetener, helps to make these just a wee bit more healthful. I hope your St. Patrick’s day celebrations are filled with fun, some wearin’ o’ the green, and just maybe a chocolate mint ganache brownie…or two… Sláinte!
- 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
- 1 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For chocolate mint ganache:
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
For mint piping, optional: (See note below)
- 1/4 cup half & half (light cream)
- 3/4 cup quality white chocolate chips (I used Guittard Choc-au-Lait)
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- McCormick’s Color from Nature food coloring (see package on how to make the color green)
Preheat oven to 350°F
- Spray Baker’s Joy spray oil (or similar) on a 13 x 9-inch baking pan lined with a sheet of heavy-duty foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the long side.
- Melt butter, chocolate, and maple syrup in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt until just combined. Don’t over stir; it makes for tough brownies!
- Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake on the middle oven rack until set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs adhering, for 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan, about 1 1/2 hours.
Chocolate mint ganache:
- Bring light cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Pour light cream over bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for about a minute; then whisk until smooth. Stir in extract and set aside for 20 minutes to cool and thicken.
- Spread chocolate mint ganache evenly over the top of cooled brownies. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove brownies from pan using the foil overhang. Cut the brownies into squares using a large sharp knife. (If you’re fussy like me and want all of your brownies to have tidy, clean edges, I’d recommend wiping the knife clean after each cut).
Mint piping, optional: (See note below)
- Bring light cream to a simmer in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Pour light cream over white chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for about a minute, then whisk until smooth. Stir in extract and set aside for 15-20 minutes until it cools and thickens enough to pipe easily.
NOTE: The piping I put on these brownies was in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, obviously, but feel free to leave it off; they’ll still be completely scrumptious.
It’s hard to beat a good brownie. If I have a chocolate craving, most of the time it’s the brownie I turn to for sweet satisfaction. When you add toasted hazelnuts, creamy chocolate mousse, and decadent chocolate ganache to all of that gooey, chewy, chocolate-y goodness, you’ve reached a new pinnacle in brownie deliciousness! These Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Brownies satisfy! As usual, I’ve used maple syrup as the sweetener, but if you prefer you can substitute an equal amount of cane sugar. You might consider these brownies a bit over-the-top, and perhaps you’re right, but there are those times that call for indulgence, so maybe they’re something you’ll make for special occasions. You know, like…Mondays.
Preheat Oven to 325ºF
For the brownies:
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coffee, cooled
- 10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
For the mousse:
- 1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate
- 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 Tablespoons cool water
- 3 Tablespoons Hazelnut Liqueur (optional)
For the ganache:
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
For the brownies:
- Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl; add maple syrup and cooled coffee, mixing well. Set aside.
- Put chocolate and butter in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly over very low heat until completely melted. Remove from heat and cool until warm.
- Pour chocolate mixture into egg-syrup-coffee mixture, whisking until thoroughly combined.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients and stir just until the flour is absorbed and you can’t see any in the bottom of the bowl.
- Bake in a buttered and floured 10″ springform pan for 30-35 minutes at 325ºF.
- Let brownies sit on a cooling rack until room temperature.
For the mousse:
- Place 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips in a large glass mixing bowl.
- In a small cup, soften 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin in 2 tablespoons cool water. Set aside.
- Bring 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate chips, stir until smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. (Microwave on High at one or two 30-second intervals if the chocolate isn’t entirely melted and smooth).
- Heat softened gelatine on low heat, stirring to dissolve. When it’s completely free of lumps, stir melted gelatin into the melted chocolate.
- Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream just until soft peaks form.
- Chocolate mixture should be smooth and the temperature should be about 80 degrees F (you want the chocolate to set up, but if it’s too hot, the whipped cream will melt).
- Add about half of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture and whisk gently until combined, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
- Spread the mousse over the top of the cooled cake in the ring and smooth it with a spatula. Place the brownies back in the fridge until the the mousse sets (about 30-40 minutes).
For the ganache:
- Place chocolate chips in a large bowl.
- Heat cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for a minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so, then pour over the set mousse.
- Place brownies back in the fridge until ready to serve.
NOTE: If you are allergic to nuts, you can easily leave the hazelnuts out; it’s still wonderfully delicious!
If you’re like me and you’ve never met a brownie you didn’t like, then you are positively going to fall in love with these Turtle Brownie muffins! Actually, they aren’t really muffins, rather brownies baked in a muffin pan, but baking them in a muffin pan means that all of your brownies have that wonderful chewy outer layer as well as the soft, gooey, luscious center.
If you like your brownies chockfull of pecans and layered with creamy, buttery caramel, with more pecans on top…this is the one!
- 1 package brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate)
- 1 package (11 oz.) Kraft Caramel Bits
- ⅓ cup whipping cream
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, divided
Preheat oven to 350°F
- Generously grease a 12-cup standard muffin pan. (I don’t recommend using muffin papers – the caramel will stick to them. Sorry, I know it’s more clean up….)
- Prepare brownie batter as directed on the package, except add 1/2 cup of the pecans into the dry mix before adding the wet ingredients.
- Distribute half of the batter into the twelve muffin cups. Cover remaining batter; set aside.
- Bake 20 minutes or until top is firm to the touch.
- Microwave caramel bits and whipping cream in medium microwaveable bowl on high for 2 minutes stirring every 30 sec. or until caramel bits begin to melt; stir until completely melted. Add remaining 1/2 cup of the pecans; mix well.
- Spread 2-3 tablespoons caramel over each partially baked brownie; top with remaining brownie batter. (Some caramel may peek through batter. That’s OK, the baked batter will fill in to cover the caramel)
- Bake an additional 20 minutes or until top is firm to the touch. Cool completely.
- Spoon or drizzle caramel sauce over each brownie. Top with pecan halves.
NOTE: You will have some of the caramel-pecan mixture left over. You can freeze it in a plastic container to save for another time or use.