Chocolate: mint condition

Chocolate. A perfectly fine ingredient on its own. Some folks like to pair it with raspberry. Some, no doubt devoted fans of the Sacher Torte, marry it with apricot. Many add coffee and say “Make mine mocha.” And some benighted bakers actually pair chocolate with (gulp) orange. To which I say, “Hot chocolate is hot chocolate and OJ is OJ, and never the twain should meet.”

All of that said, there IS one flavor I find quite compelling with chocolate: mint. Now, is that a combo you’d ever dream up on your own? Yet from my first taste of Howard Johnson mint chocolate chip ice cream (and no one, to this day, has done that flavor better than HoJo’s), I’ve loved chocolate mint anything. Peppermint patties. Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. The aforementioned ice cream.

And chocolate mint brownies.

Jane Korhonen, a long-time King Arthur merchandise team member, moved to Michigan several years ago, way up to the U.P. With her she took a huge amount of organizational ability (something I’m sorely lacking); a loving, giving heart; and her special chocolate mint brownies.

Those brownies are still immortalized on our Web site (Jane’s Chocolate Mint Squares), but they’re not the same without Jane here to pass the plate. Every brownie came served with a smile—and that’s an ingredient you just can’t find on the shelf. Jane, if you’re reading this—we still miss you. And we hope you’re warmer in the U.P. than we are here, as I write this: a cool -20°F.

The following recipe is a takeoff on Jane’s. I made it in a larger pan, so it would be easier to cut out hearts, if that’s your desire. But each time I taste these (just to make SURE they’re OK), I remember Jane. And thank her for years of friendship, and inspiration, and chocolate mint squares.

Want to follow along with the recipe as you look at the pictures? Find it here: Melting Mint Hearts.

img_2465.JPG

This is a very simple recipe. We’ll start with melted butter, sugar, and salt.

img_2466.JPG

Stir till thoroughly combined.

img_2467.JPG

Add the Dutch-process cocoa

img_2468.JPG

…then the eggs.

img_2469.JPG

Stir till smooth.

img_2471.JPG

Stir in the flour and baking powder.

img_2470.JPG

And here’s the secret ingredient: extra-strong peppermint oil. Stirring in just 1/8 teaspoon gives these brownies assertive mint flavor. If you use peppermint extract, add it to taste, starting with 1/2 teaspoon.

img_2473.JPG

Grease a 9” x 13” pan. For easiest removal, line the pan with parchment, and grease the parchment. Pour the thick batter into the pan…

img_2474.JPG

…and smooth it out with a bowl scraper or spatula.

img_2475.JPG

Like this.

img_2476.JPG

Bake for 20 minutes. The brownies won’t have that distinctive shiny/crackly crust. That’s OK; you’re going to cover them with glaze.

img_2505.JPG

To make the glaze, stir together confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, milk, and peppermint oil.

img_2506.JPG

Stir or beat till smooth…

img_2508.JPG

…and spread over the cooled brownies in the pan.

img_2581.JPG

To make the chocolate drizzle, combine chocolate chips and heavy or whipping cream in a microwave-safe cup or bowl. Heat till the cream shows small bubbles around the edge.

img_2585.JPG

Stir the soft chocolate and  hot cream; it’ll seem gloppy at first.

img_2586.JPG

As you continue to stir, the chocolate will melt and come together in the center of the cup.

img_2587.JPG

Continue stirring till the cream is totally absorbed.

img_2589.JPG

Dollop the drizzle over the glazed brownies. The drizzle really isn’t thin enough to drizzle; but “chocolate drizzle” sounds better than “chocolate dollop,” wouldn’t you say? Recipe-writing 101.

img_2613.JPG

Cut the brownies in squares to serve.

img_2498.JPG

Want to get fancy?

img_2477.JPG

Loosen the edges of the cooled brownies, using a baker’s bench knife or table knife.

img_2478.JPG

Turn them onto a sheet of parchment, and peel off the parchment on the bottom.

img_2485.JPG

Glaze the brownies, and cut off the ragged edges, if desired.

img_2487.JPG

Use a heart cutter (or the cutter of your choice) to cut hearts. Yes, there’ll be scraps left over. YUM.

img_2492.JPG

Sprinkle with colored sugar while the glaze is still tacky, if desired. Be still, my heart!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Melting Mint Brownies.

Bake vs. Buy

Buy: Solomon’s Gourmet Cookies, Chicago, Ill.: Chocolate Mint Brownies, a fudge brownie base with a cool mint frosting and topped with a silky chocolate glaze. 12 brownies, $19.95

Bake at home: Fudge brownies studded with chocolate chips, glazed with a rich mint icing, and drizzled with chocolate ganache. 12 brownies, $3.05

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 ...

comments

  1. Mike T.

    Mmmm, I *love* chocolate-mint… Comes is 2nd only to coconut!

    I do have to disagree slightly on the chocolate-orange pairing. I don’t particularly like it either, but I found a dark-dark chocolate and orange ice cream recipe that is to die for… I don’t know why I like it there and no where else, but I do… Mmmmm…

    Okay, less than a month to go before my diet is over and I can try this….. *sigh*

    Reply
  2. Pam

    These look delicious and fun, too. No offense to lovers of the mint-chocolate combo, but it’s never been a favorite of mine. Could I eliminate the mint without affecting the recipe?

    Sure, Pam – Not a problem. How about some espresso powder in that white icing, though, for mocha brownies? Or not; of course they’d be delicious just in their own chocolatiness… PJH

    Reply
  3. Marion

    HoJo ice cream? Oh boy, that was the best! I don’t know if you can still get it (come to think of it does Howard Johnson’s still exist? hmm…) I can still remember the pointy scoop – that was my favorite size! I don’t think I ever tried the chocolate mint, I was so stuck on chocolate chip!

    Alas, Marion, the last HoJos’ restaurant was in Greenfield, Mass., and closed down about 2 years ago. No more clam rolls. No more hot dogs in grilled buns. No more mac and cheese, chicken croquettes… Thanks for the memories- PJH

    There is an excellent site online http://www.hungrybrowser.com that has a recipe archive,and some of the HoJo’s favorite recipes are listed there. I know the mac and cheese is there for sure. (I still remember the HoJo’s in MA not letting me have my ice cream in a cone in the dining room, it had to be in a dish for some unknown reason.) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Sue

    Those hearts look like a fun way to serve these brownies. I like chocolate and mint together, but I LOVE chocolate and orange together as well as chocolate and raspberry, chocolate and hazelnut, chocolate and peanut butter, chocolate and almond. Hmmm is there a choclate combo I’m not enamored of? I’m not wild about chocolate and coffee. I’m just not into coffee.

    Reply
  5. Donna Jo

    Sue, you are a girl after my own heart. Everything chocolate, except coffee. My daughter couldn’t stand it when I would sprinkle chocolate chips over orange sherbet!
    I just bought some Fiori di Sicilia and may try that as a flavoring in the frosting of the brownies.

    Reply
  6. Beth

    PJ, glad you highlighted this recipe, because it leads me into a question about mint. I can easily find peppermint extract or oil, and a Mennonite store I shop at carries spearmint extract, but I cannot locate “mint extract” which contains both peppermint and spearmint. I found online a company offering mint extract made by the spice company McCormick, but I sure am not going to spend 8 or 9 bucks on shipping for a 4 or 5 dollar container of mint extract. I may be mistaken, but it seems like mint extract was easy to find in your local grocery at one time. Am I mistaken? It’s not a major issue, but I wonder how a combination of peppermint and spearmint would compare with peppermint alone. Thanks, PJ. (P.S. It was -2 degrees here in central VA on Saturday morning).

    Hi Beth, I did some web searching as well for the mint extract and did not find a store locator. Lots of places like eBay, etc where you can purchase it though. Have you tried contacting McCormick? Looks like their homepage is pretty user friendly, and they have a ‘contact us’ option. Good luck in your search! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Lil

    I heartily (hehe) agree about the chocolate-orange pairing. It’s not appealing in any way, shape or form. Chocolate and peanut butter is the absolute best chocolate pairing ever, provided the ratios are correct. With chocolate and PB, it’s all about the ratios. :-)

    Reply
  8. jimmi

    If you have ever had a Lindt chocolate orange chocolate bar, it might change your mind. When I was 10 I would spend 20 cents on one bar while my sister bought a pile of penny candy because I loved the quality.
    Try one!
    I love the decorated hearts! So pretty, so delicious.
    Hi Jimmi, I remember the oranges made of chocolate that appeared in stores at holiday time. I think those were Lindt? I never did get one, and have not seen them in a long time. *sigh*. Guess I will have to settle for chocolate covered orange peel. YUM! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. Kim

    I have to laugh at your mention of “mint chocolate chip” ice cream. Here in MN, it is called Peppermint Bon Bon. I don’t know why the difference

    Reply
  10. Sue

    Beth, this might not be helpful but I’ll put it out there anyway. I have a chocolate mint brownie recipe that uses Creme de Menthe. I know that sometimes you need the extract but for this recipe I think you could use some Creme de Menthe as a substitute for some of the milk and the mint extract. Just a thought.
    Thanks for sharing Sue!

    Reply
  11. Jackie Julty

    Wow! This looks really cool. I’m going to try to make some plain brownies tonight with semi-sweet chocolate, sans the mint(cuz that’s what I have- how do I adjust the recipe?)(I also use egg substitute and things come out fine, because we don’t buy cartons of eggs-it’s easier for us to use it in this form in my house)
    Also, I noticed that you didn’t use the “SIde-Swipe”(silicon edged beater or whatever the version that you have at KAF? How come? One would think that you wouldn’t want to miss any of that great chocolate:-)

    Actually, I had failed to follow the directions on my BeaterBlade and broke it! DUH… Warning: do not use your beater blade for 2 sticks of rock-hard butter and a big pile of sugar and turning the mixer on high speed by mistake. Shattered BeaterBlade, butter/sugar all over the counter and floor. After I’d read the directions, I saw that it’s NOT for ice-cold butter or very stiff doughs of any kind. Those are best left to your metal beater. It’s great for batter, normal cookie dough, normal bread dough, meatloaf, muffins, mashed potatoes, anything like that. So – that’s what happened to my BeaterBlade. But I just got another one today. PHEW! PJH

    Reply
  12. Liz

    Hi! These look beautiful! Do you guys have any valentines recipes that will hold up to shipping?

    How about Chocolate Linzer Cookies? These would be very cute made with big and little heart cutters. Or any kind of cutout cookie, cut in heart shapes, would be fine. PJH

    Reply
  13. SimplePleasure

    Hey these looks awesome! I want one! Mint-Chocolate combos are the best! I think the only mint-choco combo we have here in Philippines is the Andes mints sooo yummy. We used to have those Andes mint chips, those were my favorite but now? no more! I don’t know what happened but can’t find those anywhere…

    A local chocolate company here just recently release a mint-choco combo it’s just that it’s not minty enough for me, which is quite sad, it lacks that minty punch.

    Reply
  14. Kathleen

    O My Goodness! Another must try recipe. I love chocolate and mint. I also think that it’s a great idea to cut them into heart shapes and decorate them for Valentines Day. I can usually judge whether or not we will like a recipe by the ingredients and I know that this one is another winner just like the Lemon Bliss cake was. Thank you

    Reply
  15. Janice

    Oh me oh my, I know what I’m making for my Valentine this year!! Would it be possible for ya’ll to post the recipe as a PDF download in addition to the blow-by-blow? It would make it much easier for printing. Pretty please?

    Melting Mint Brownies is available in printer-friendly version online, Janice. PJH

    Reply
  16. Cheri

    Good news if you’re nostalgic for that ice cream! If you feel like taking a drive, you can still get the chocolate-mint. The HoJo’s in Lake Placid, NY, is the last of the full-time restaurants still operating. I was there a while back during leaf season and it was hard to get a seat in the restaurant.

    They do have the chocolate-mint ice cream on their menu (www.lakeplacidhojos.com/Desserts.html)! My favorite was always pistachio with real pistachio nuts in the days when dyed walnuts showed up in the other brands we bought. But the mint was super, too. Oh, darn–I’m getting hungry for ice cream even though low teens are forecast for tonight.

    Reply
  17. Marcia

    I can find oil of cinnamon, peppermint, wintergreen and others with Wilton cake products. It is used most often in candy and lollypops. I use cinnamon the most often in broken glass hard candy. I saw a reference to watermelon flavor but have never seen that one for sale. I will have to look with Wilton products at a cake decorating store or craft store.

    Some of us can remember the cinnamon toothpicks and this is how they did it back in the 60s.

    Reply
  18. Brenda

    Is there a way I could use regular cocoa and not dutched process. I have searched endlessly in my area with it no were to be found. I found out the hard way at Christmas that they are not interchangeable :-( I did order some from your sight but I would love to make them for a gathering tonight :-) Love the recipes and the products!! bren You could use regular cocoa in these, but you might want to add a small pinch of baking soda as well as the baking powder. Mary @ King Arthur Flour

    Reply
  19. Susan

    More on the chocolate -orange topic. I have a friend that just returned from Germany and brought back a milk chocolate bar with orange. I opened the package, broke off a square, popped it in my mouth, and mmmmm. Then I felt teeny bits in the chocolate as I started to chew and then I felt the heat. When I took a closer look at the package, I saw that it was chocolate with orange and pfeffer (pepper). Who knew that you could add pepper to chocolate? I am actually liking it, although I do prefer chocolate in its pure form.

    Reply
  20. Sue E. Conrad

    Yum, chocolate and mint!!! I also have a recipe for Creme de Menthe brownies………..and what a hit it is!! Am going to be making a pan of them tonight and sharing them with boating friends tomorrow – hubby and I will be going out on their sailboat. And for those of you wondering how we can do that, we live in Florida. Been cold for the last few days (50s daytime, mid to high 30s at night), but nothing to shovel…YAY!!

    Reply
  21. Sharon

    I’ve been making these for years, cutting into 1″ squares and serving them in fluted candy cups. Served really cold, they are unbelievable. My friends call them “orgasm brownies”!

    Reply
  22. SimplePleasure

    Hey PJ!

    I just finished making, eating ang blogging my Peppermint brownie! taste awesome. one question though is there a ratio on how much peppermint oil as per cup of brownie batter? I’m planning to make a thicker brownie baste. Any suggestions?

    Differing ratios of butter and sugar will effect the percieved intensity of the peppermint. This recipe uses about 1/6 teaspoon per cup of batter. So, somewhere between 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per cup for a starting point. Good luck with the variation. Frank from KAF.

    Reply
  23. cnorlund

    Sue suggested Creme de Menthe, and I’m going to add Bailey’s Irish Cream as a possibility to add to the brownie recipe. We added some Bailey’s to our ‘easy foolproof fudge’ recipe several years ago—-and it went from good to, OH MY!! It made it so creamy in texture as well as taste, and got absolute rave reviews from everyone. We’ve made our fudge that way ever since. I think the reason it got added in first place was because the fudge got a little overcooked and was starting to get a bit grainy—so Bailey’s was added to cool it quickly and thin it. To our surprize it made it smooth.

    Reply
  24. neverseenblue

    I was thinking about making these as a gift for someone. What’s the best way to store them? Will they keep ok at room temperature?

    Yes, room temperature for a few days, tightly wrapped, should be fine – store them just as you would any brownie. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *