Ooey-gooey melty-minty brownies: A lava-like take on Thin Mint cookies

The list went up in our employee kitchen last week, and the buzz started.

“Hey, did you see the list? It’s Girl Scout cookie time!”

“The list is up in the kitchen… Karen’s daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies again.”

“Any new ones this year? Did you order yours yet?”

Funny the hold Girl Scout Cookies® seem to have on so many of us. Since the vast majority of the employees here at King Arthur are women, and since many of us are Boomers and liable to have actually sold GS cookies ourselves, maybe it’s simply nostalgia. Or maybe, as the bunch of community do-gooders we try to be, we just like supporting the Scouts. Plus, whenever a colleague’s kid is selling something for a fund-raiser, you pretty much have to buy it, right? Because then they have to buy what your kid is selling.

Or maybe it’s just that Girl Scout cookies are pretty darned tasty. Especially the Thin Mints.

OK, I know there are those of you who stock up on Samoas. And my husband actually likes the Trefoils, the plain old vanilla shortbreads. I loved a version they had last year that’s sadly missing this time around: Café Cookies, a thin, crisp cookie “caramelized with brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon spice.” I am REALLY sorry that they didn’t make the grade, sales-wise; the two new offerings this year are sugar-free chocolate chip cookies, and lemon crèmes. But nothing will sway me from my devotion to Thin Mints.

Now, usually I’m a plain chocolate gal. Chocolate and raspberry maybe; chocolate and apricot in sacher torte; and chocolate and coffee, of course. But all these other “chocolate-and” combos leave me cold. Like chocolate and orange. Or chocolate and ginger. No thanks. But chocolate and mint? Oh boy, now we’re talking!

I was asked by Deb, our merchandise director, to come up with a “gooey, melty kind of chocolate” recipe for this week’s email. And, since that list in the employee kitchen is beckoning, I immediately thought “Girl Scout cookies–chocolate and mint.” And “gooey melty.” How about sticking some chocolate mint candies in brownie batter?

I tried thin mint candies first, those wafer-like “peppermint patties.” Too thin; they melted away. Then I hit on mint chocolate cups, little Reese’s Pieces-type candies filled with mint instead of peanut butter. PERFECT. It’s seldom that I “get” a recipe so quickly, but this one just came together magically. Must be the spirit of Girl Scouts past…

Without further ado, here they are: Ooey-Gooey Melty-Minty Brownies. If you’ve read this blog in the past, you may have seen me make basic brownie batter before. Skip this first part if you like; but if you haven’t seen this method, read on.

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First, combine butter and sugar in a microwave-safe container.

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Heat till the butter melts; stir to combine.

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Here comes the interesting part: heat the butter/sugar again, till the butter is very hot. The mixture shouldn’t boil; but notice the tiny bubbles starting to form on the surface. This step will give your brownies an attractive, shiny, thin-crackly top crust.

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Combine the butter/sugar with the cocoa. It’ll make a grainy-gritty mixture. That’s OK.

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Once you add the eggs and flour (and the rest of the ingredients–espresso powder, vanilla, baking powder, and salt), look how nicely it smooths out.

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I like making these brownies in two 9” round cake pans, rather than a 9” x 13” pan. That way, I can make half a batch of plain brownies, for those who prefer ’em like that. So I weigh the batter first, in order to distribute it evenly between the pans.

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I grease two 9” round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment. Since I’m a cheapskate – er, I mean “fiscally conservative” – I cut circles from a sheet of parchment paper, rather than use the pre-cut rounds. Even though I can’t really get two rounds out of a single sheet, as you can see, it’s close enough.

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Don’t worry, you’ll be able to get a spatula under that little edge that’s not covered by the parchment.

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Each pan gets 590g of batter. This might seem kind of anal, but when you have a scale it’s easy to be precise, so why not?

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Here are the candies I used. You’ll need two bags, if you want to make both pans of brownies ooey-gooey melty-minty.

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Pour the batter into the pan, and set the candies on top. Bake in a 350°F oven.

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And here they are, 28 minutes later.

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Check to make sure the batter surrounding the melty part is done. Use a cake tester, bamboo skewer, or something similar to dig a divot out of the center of the pan. It should be moist, but not liquid. I know it’s hard to see in this picture, but notice how the center comes out in a chunk, without sticking to any molten batter underneath.

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Cut the brownies right away. You can cut them in the pan, or do what I did: for better elbow room, turn them out. I’m using a round 2 1/4” biscuit cutter here; it makes a nice-sized serving.

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The brownie will stick in the cutter as you move it to the serving plate.

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Once it’s in position, just press down gently on the brownie to push it out of the cutter.

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And here it is, an ooey-gooey melty-minty brownie. Serve with vanilla ice cream (or peppermint stick, or mint chip) if you like.

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Here’s what they look like when they’re completely cool. The candies solidify back to their original texture. Still chewy and umm-UMM good!

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P.S. After I’d published this blog, readers let me know that they were having trouble finding the mint candies I’d used. So I decided to test two other options: York peppermint patties, and milk chocolate-covered mint Oreos.

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Results? The Oreos made tasty brownies, but without any molten, oozing center (right). The peppermint patties worked just fine, providing a good amount of mint “lava” (left).

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Here’s a nice closeup of the peppermint patties version.

Hey, bakers: Never hesitate to let me know if you’re having issues with a recipe; email me at the “contact us” link on the front page of the blog. I’m happy to figure out answers to challenges–that’s what we’re here for! I love that King Arthur is dedicated to teaching people how to bake–not just to “selling stuff.” Our mission is to be a creative resource for bakers; which means being a resource for help, inspiration, and education, as well as for merchandise.


PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...