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What is it about mint that fairly shouts "Christmas!"? Maybe it's the fact that peppermint candy canes are so closely associated with the holidays. Or maybe it's the cool, "wintry" taste of peppermint. Whatever, peppermint is a flavor that seems to appear during the holidays and disappear just as quickly once the New Year's arrived.
This recipe combines mint and chocolate in a dense, rich bar, made festive by a layer of white icing offset by a final drizzle of dark, bitter chocolate. If you like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, you'll love these.
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter or margarine
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts or chopped pecans, optional
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract or peppermint oil*
2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) melted butter
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract or peppermint oil*
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
*Peppermint oils or extracts may vary in strength; add them judiciously, tasting as you go.
Dough: In a double boiler, or in a microwave, melt together the chocolate and butter or margarine. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, salt and eggs. Add the chocolate mixture, stirring to combine, then the flour, nuts and peppermint, mixing till well-blended.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 9-inch pan. Bake the squares in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool to room temperature.
Frosting: In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter or margarine, peppermint and milk. Spread the frosting over the cooled squares in a thin layer.
Glaze: In a double boiler, or in a microwave, melt together the chocolate and butter or margarine. Drizzle this over the frosted squares, and sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy. Refrigerate the squares till they're well-chilled. To serve, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Yield: About 36 small squares.
Nutrition information per serving (1 square, made with walnuts, 22g): 99 cal, 5.8g fat, 1g protein, 2g complex carbohydrates, 8g sugar, 25mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 35mg potassium, 40RE vitamin A, 9mg calcium, 22mg phosphorus, 2mg caffeine.