I do not actively observe St. Patrick’s Day. Growing up, my impression of the holiday consisted of pots of gold, small, bearded leprechauns, and four-leaf clovers. I started celebrating the holiday more out of necessity than actual interest; kids at my junior high school would pinch whoever wasn’t wearing green, so I started digging through my closet to find an acceptable shirt or sweater.
Last year, I completely forgot about the holiday; as far as I know, no one in France actively observes it. However, when I walked into work this past Friday, I was greeted by a sea of green: green shirts, green hats, and green pants. One of my co-workers was even wearing lime green knee-high socks. A secretary was selling green Mardi Gras beads, so I jumped on the proverbial bandwagon and purchased some. The beads protected me from most of the inevitable questioning; i.e. Why aren’t you wearing green?
When I was trying to decide which recipe to try this weekend, I wanted to choose something that related to the holiday. After all, I might not be joining a pub crawl or eating standard Irish fare, but I could at least incorporate some St. Patrick’s day theme into my baking.
When I found the recipe for Thin Mint Brownies, I knew I had met my match. I had a full box of leftover Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies in my pantry, and mint=green…which, in some lines of thinking, also equals St. Patrick’s Day. Plus, who can resist soft, moist, fudgy, mint-flavored Brownies? I’ve never been immune to their appeal.
The hardest part about baking (besides being precise) is not stopping after the batter is made. Of course, the finished product usually tastes good, but why is the batter SO delicious? It took alot of willpower for me to actually spoon the gooey, rich, chocolately mixture into the pan.
I split the batter in half, and top the first layer with roughly chopped Thin Mint Cookies…Make sure you disperse them evenly, so each brownie has its fare share of mint.
Then, I topped the first layer of brownie batter and the chopped cookies with another layer of batter.
The recipe called for peppermint extract, but I didn’t have this at home. I ended up leaving it out, and found that the brownies still tasted minty enough without it. If you like an overwhelming mint flavor, you can add the extract; but I liked the subtle hint of mint mixed with chocolate.
These brownies might not be standard holiday staples, but they make for a nice addition to any St. Patrick’s Day dessert table. And, when presented to haranguing co-workers and friends, they might just grant you immunity from questions and pinching.
Thin Mint Brownies (slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction)
Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup butter, cut into large cubes
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (I omitted this ingredient)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
10 Thin Mint Cookies, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter on medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted.
3. Whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar and add in eggs, extracts and salt; mixing until thoroughly combined. Gradually add in flour and stir until just combined.
4. Spread 1/2 of the batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of Thin Mint Cookies and cover with remaining 1/2 of brownie batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes; do not over bake.
5. Remove to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
6. If desired, serve with whipped cream, hot fudge, and a sprinkling of any leftover Thin Mint cookies.