2013 turned out to be a better year than I expected. 2012 was... well... stressful. As the end approached, I had wishes for a year that'd be just a bit easier to digest. Overall, it was. With every down moment, there were joyful events; the birth of my niece, vacations, epic dinners with friends, my first cookbook shoot, along with loads of magazine and restaurant projects.
I'm expecting that 2014 will be full of just as many milestones. Family trips are already planned (to the Berkshires and, as usual, to the Cape) and travel to California is in the works. Between all of this, Eric and I hope to purchase a property of our own (the search has been long... but we know we'll eventually find the right place). And, of course, there will be plenty of delicious food created and consumed, which I look forward to sharing here.
Speaking of food... let's talk about these brownies. My sister is fond of anything with chocolate and mint. Ice cream? Definitely. However, these brownies, which my mom has made for us countless times, are her favorite. The best way to consume these bites is right out of the freezer. Yeah, I know... sounds weird. But, trust me, it's awesome. They do come out a bit harder than most brownies, but there's something satisfying about gnawing on that frozen chocolate topping. If you're skeptical, try it... then come back and thank me.
Chocolate Mint Bites
Yield 20-24 bars, depending on how big they're cut
For the brownies 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 6 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped 1 cup sugar 1 tbsp vanilla extract 1 cup flour 1/2 tsp Kosher salt 4 eggs
For the mint layer 2 cups confectioner's sugar 5 tbsp creme de menthe 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
For the top layer 6 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped 6 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13" baking dish with butter.
2. For the brownie layer, start by melting the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the flour and salt. Vigorously whisk in the eggs until fully incorporated into the batter, approximately 30 seconds.
3. Pour batter into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
4. For the second layer, mix together the ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Spread over the brownie layer.
5. For the final layer, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth. Once it has cooled slightly, spread over the mint layer. Refrigerate the bars and, when set, cut into bites. At this point, you can put them in a container and store in the freezer.