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.
They say that everyone is a wee bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t you love that we’re all included in the fun?! My celebration of the day comes in these irrestible Chocolate Mint Bars that taste a lot like Andes mint candies or Girl Scout’s thin mint cookies. I’ve added a little green food coloring to the minty middle layer, but you can totally leave it out. This recipe comes from a friend’s Mom, who got it from a home-grown Colorado cookbook by the name of Colorado Cache Cookbook. I have a couple of these community/neighborhood cookbooks; they’re one’s that I’ve returned to time and time again, evidenced by the number of spots and splatters on the pages… I hope you’ll try these oh so yummy chocolate mint treats! Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
For the Bottom Chocolate Layer
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (13.7g) butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup (191g) maple sugar*
- ½ tsp (2.5g) peppermint extract
- 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
- ½ cup (49g) flour, optional
For the Middle Mint Layer
- 2 Tbsp (28g) butter, softened
- 2 Tbsp (15g) cream
- 1 1/4 tsp (5g) peppermint extract
- 1 cup (130g) maple powdered sugar*
- Green food coloring, optional
For the Top Chocolate Layer
- 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
- 2 Tbsp (28g) butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325ºF
For the Bottom Chocolate Layer:
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
- Add the cooled, melted butter and maple sugar.
- Mix in the peppermint and melted chocolate.
- Stir in the flour.
- Pour the chocolate batter into a greased 9-inch, square pan.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn oven off and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. (They will set as they cool).
For the Middle Mint Layer:
- Blend all of the ingredients well.
- If desired, stir in several drops of green food coloring.
- Spread the mint layer on the cooled, baked chocolate layer.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill for five minutes.
For the Top Chocolate Layer:
- Whisk the melted chocolate and butter together until combined.
- Once the middle mint layer is firm, spread the butter-chocolate mixture over the top.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill for five minutes.
- Cut the chocolate mint bars into strips or squares.
- Store these treats in the frig until ready to serve.
Adapted from: The Colorado Cache Cookbook, Chocolate Peppermint Bars recipe.
*NOTES: The maple sugar used in this recipe can be substituted with granulated sugar and confectioners sugar in equal amounts.
Not having a favorite sweet treat for St. Patrick’s Day to bring you, I searched about and surprise, surprise! there are so many yummy ones to choose from out there in the vast world of food blogs. It was a tough choice to make but I finally decided on this Guinness Chocolate Bundt cake that I adapted from Fine Cooking. And I’m sooo glad I did! You really don’t taste the beer at all; it mostly serves to enhance the flavor of the chocolate in the cake, which is moist and rich and irresistible. To gild the lily, I’ve topped the cake with an Irish whiskey chocolate ganache that I found on Brown Eyed Baker. Dessert with Guinness Stout and Irish whiskey in it – now that says Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!
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For the cake:
- 1-1/4 cups Guinness or other stout beer
- 1/3 cup dark molasses
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (more to sprinkle in the pan)
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 6 ounces (¾ cup) semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
For the ganache:
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 6 oz. semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey (optional)
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Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
- Butter (or use shortening) a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan, making sure you cover the entire pan, (crevices and center post too) and then lightly coat with sifted cocoa powder, tapping it around the sides of the pan and center post until well distributed. Tap out the excess cocoa.
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the beer and molasses to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat while you prepare the cake batter.
- Add together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, around 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Mixing on low speed, alternate the flour and stout mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Stop the mixer to scrape the bowl and then beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth, about 30 seconds. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan spreading it evenly so it’s fairly level on top. Tap the bottom of the pan gently on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
- On the center oven rack, bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out mostly crumb-free, 45-50 minutes. Set the cake on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and carefully remove the pan. Let the cake cool until just warm. Transfer to a serving plate or cake platter.
To Make the Whiskey Ganache Glaze:
- Heat the cream until simmering, remove from heat and add finely chopped chocolate. Let it sit for one minute. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.
- When the ganache has cooled but is still warm, spoon over barely warm cake.
Guinness Chocolate Cake adapted from Fine Cooking. Irish Whiskey Chocolate Ganache adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.
NOTE: This cake is from scratch, but I think you could easily make it with a chocolate cake mix with only a few changes to speed and simplify the process; I’m going to try it sometime soon and will let you know how it compares.