The St. Patrick’s Day preparations are in full-swing at our house! My parents will be coming for a visit this weekend to help us celebrate, and my kids are about to burst with excitement! The brisket is already in it’s brine for homemade corned beef. I made and toasted my own mixture for pickling spice this year. The fragrance was fantastic. So exciting! The fun party hats and favors have been purchased, and I found a fabulous “green” dessert to help mark the day.
I’ve actually been wanting to make these bars for quite some time, but that beautiful green hue made be hold off until St. Patrick’s Day. Last year I made this indulgent stout cake that still ranks as one of my favorite cakes of all time. Apparently, a bit of alcohol in the token St. Patty’s Day dessert is how we roll in the Kulseth house.
My kids are big fans of mint. In these bars, when combined with the chocolate, it’s brilliant. These little numbers do not disappoint. The brownie layer is perfectly fudge-y. It’s worth noting that under-baking the brownie layer by a minute or so will lead to a perfect bar in the end. The mint buttercream in the center is ideal– perfectly minty, but not overpowering. And the top layer is a rich chocolate shell that holds it all together. These bars keep very well, they’ll last at least 4 days in the refrigerator.
The Recipe: Grasshopper Bars
For the Brownie:
3/4 cup (4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
5 ounces good quality dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped (I used Sharffen Berger)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
For the Buttercream:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into small chunks
3 tablespoons crème de menthe
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or metal 9-by-13-inch pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Set aside.
To make the Brownie: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside. In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, add the chocolate and the butter. Stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until everything is completely melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Alternately, this can be done over a hot water bath. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugars until they are completely combined. Pour into a large bowl, and let sit until it cools to room temperature.
In a small bowl, gently mix the 3 eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder. Add the egg mixture to the bowl of chocolate. Whisk until just combined. Be careful to not over -mix the batter, as it will lead to a cakey brownie. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate and fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a rubber spatula until just a trace amount of flour/cocoa mixture is visible. Again, do not over-mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out with an offset spatula. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway. These brownies will benefit from being slightly under-baked. A toothpick inserted into the brownies at an angle should contain a few loose crumbs. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
To make the Buttercream: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook and cook over medium heat, whisking often until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce speed to low and add the butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until filling is light and fluffy. Add the crème de menthe and peppermint extract and mix until combined. If the buttercream is too soft, chill slightly in the refrigerator and then mix again until it is the right consistency. If the buttercream is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to the right consistency. Spread the filling evenly across the top of the cooled brownie layer and place the pan in the refrigerator for a minimum of 45 minutes.
To make the Chocolate Glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir vigorously for 1 minute to release some of the heat. Pour the mixture over the chilled mint buttercream layer. Use an offset spatula to smooth it out into an even layer. Place the pan back in the refrigerator until it hardens, about 1 hour.
It is best to cut into the bars using a knife warmed underneath warm water, wiped clean each time. Store the bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Baked Explorations
Be sure to check back later this week — Relishing It will be having it’s first giveaway and I’m so excited!