Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baking Minty

Every time I return to the U.S., I fly back to Bulgaria with at least twenty York peppermint patties. I consider mint chocolate the ideal dessert. Britain does it well, with Fry's Peppermint Cream bars and Mint Aero, and Germany proffers green and white Ritter Sport packages filled with a neat grid of chocolate-on-mint, but Bulgaria hasn't yet embraced the craze. I can feel it coming though. Last week I made Andes Mint Chip Cookies for my weekly "Dessert Office Hours" and my 10th grade girls exclaimed that they LOVED mint chocolate.

I've experimented with it a fair amount, making thickly iced green and brown bars, mint chip cookies, and peppermint patty brownies, among other things. The iced bars were TERRIBLE, the cookies are good but not too sweet, and the brownies are one of my all time favorite desserts. For those of you who share my minty sweet tooth, here are the recipes for the cookies and brownies.

Andes Mint Chip Cookies
(adapted from the Tootsie Roll Website)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 package Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I might lessen this slightly next time)

Cream together the butter and sugars, then stir in vanilla and eggs.
Stir in baking soda and baking powder, then add the mint chips.
Finally, mix in the flour in three parts.
Refrigerate the dough for one hour in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough several inches apart on the tray.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.

If you want, make balls with some of the dough by rolling it in your palms and stick them in a Ziploc in the freezer for future warm fresh cookies. Just bake frozen dough balls directly from the freezer in the same way, though it may take an extra minute or two.

Find many many more recipes for all things Andes at Tootsie Roll's recipe site (believe it or not).

Peppermint Pattie Brownies
from the York website

24 small York peppermint patties (unwrapped!) or After Eights
1 1/2 cups melted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
5 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F (325 if you plan to use a glass baking dish).

Grease a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan.

Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and blend well.

Reserve two cups batter. Spread the remaining batter in the greased pan. Arrange mints about 1/2 inch apart in a single layer, then spread the reserved 2 cups batter over them.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool completely in the pan (on a wire rack if you can) and then cut into squares.


And for those of you who really want to bake minty...

I enjoyed the Thin Mints from Baking Bites, though they were a lot of work, and sometime soon I plan to make Joy the Baker's Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes at Simply Recipes and Mint Chocolate Fudge at eCurry also look great.

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