I Prefer My Creme de Menthe in Brownie Form Please…

…though liquid form would be fabulous too.

On a whim, I decided I wanted to make something peppermint for the unseasonably warm Christmas season. I came across a video of Paula Deen making brownies, and after the addition of her second stick of butter, I knew they had to be delicious. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of consuming butter, and I’ve actually been replacing butter in many recipes with vegan-friendly Earth Balance instead, but I have to admit that butter in desserts usually adds to the richness of flavor and texture. Ask Paula Deen-she adds it to everything.

These brownies were almost as easy as making them out of the box, but the quality of taste is so much better. They’re rich without being sugary, and they burst with chocolatey goodness with only a hint of mint. After the brownies are cooled, they’re frosted with a decadent chocolate buttercream (to which my boyfriend responded “why are you putting chocolate on chocolate?”…why WOULDN’T I put chocolate on chocolate should be the correct question on any other occasion). Note that I said-after the brownies are cooled…I made these late in the evening and was desperate to get to bed, so I frosted them when they were still slightly warm. Amateur mistake! The frosting is made of butter, which melts when it’s heated…silly. Paula suggests topping the frosting with chopped Andes mints, which would be amazing also, but I felt that was too much mint and couldn’t find them at the store anyway. I used the green cream cheese frosting I made for the gingerbread cupcakes, and piped thin diagnol lines across the surface to make them a little more festive. I did this using a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip.

My last comment before we get to the good stuff…I will admit, I used my stand mixer to make the batter, but it was mostly because I was too lazy to dig out my hand mixer (I have terrible storage space in my apartment). Brownies are best made using an electric hand mixer or even folding the batter by hand. Batter tends to get overworked in a stand mixer if it’s not carefully monitored, and brownies should be fudgy and soft, which may be compromised if the batter is mixed too much. If you use a hand mixer or mix by hand, you’ll pay more attention to how the batter feels. It should be thicker and creamer than a cake batter, but not as stiff as a bread dough.

Onto the good stuff.

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 2 dozen small brownies

For the Brownies

  •  1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (or 2 sticks of Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 10 oz package mint/chocolate baking chips
  • 13″ by 9″ by 2″ cake pan
  • Parchment paper

For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unslated butter, softened to the point of being a little melted
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk

How to Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13″ by 9″ by 2″ pan with butter (or Earth Balance), and place a piece of parchment paper snugly over the bottom and the sides of the pan. Leave enough of the parchment paper hanging over the sides of the pan that you’ll be able to easily pull the brownies out with it later. This makes removing the brownies from the pan tremendously easier.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a mixing bowl, and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed until creamy. After the ingredients are blended, add the eggs, one at a time, and beat the mixture well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, and blend.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients in three steps, and be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl in between each addition. When the batter is mixed, fold in the mint chips with a rubber spatula. Do NOT beat them in, or you may break the chips.

    Fold the chips in using a rubber spatula

  5. Spoon the batter into the greased pan, and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly across the bottom. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a fork or toothpick inserted into the center comes out free of batter.
  6. Cool the brownies slightly in the pan before transferring to a wire cooling rack (by carefully using the parchment paper handles you made!) to finish cooling.
  7. While the brownies are baking and cooling, make the frosting. Add the butter, cocoa, vanilla, and milk into a mixing bowl, and beat until the ingredients are moist and blended. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar, and whip until the frosting is a spreadable texture. Add a little more milk if it’s too dry.
  8. When the brownies have cooled, spread the frosting on top, and cover with shaved or chopped Andes mints, mint/chocolate chips, or pipe with green frosting.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen’s Creme de Menthe brownies.

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