Tag Archives: Holiday

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

First, I would like to offer a warm hello to all of our new readers.  We were “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress the other day and got a lot of traffic.  We hope that everyone sticks around!  We love to read all of the comments, ideas, and suggestions about the blog that others have.

The cast of characters

The cast of characters

And now, it is time for more cookies!  I really love cookie season because I love any excuse to bake (and eat) butter and sugar-laden treats.  Last night I got the urge for something chocolate.  Since it was already late I knew I needed something relatively quick (no long rests in the refrigerator) and easy.  These cookies fit the bill.

Melted chocolate goodness

Melted chocolate goodness

These are rich and chocolatey cookies with an unusual chewy/crispy texture.  The recipe describes them as the top layer of a brownie and that is exactly what they are like.  If you could skim the very top crackly layer off of a pan of brownies, you would have these cookies.  They deliver all the chocolate punch of brownies but they are lighter and less of a commitment.  The addition of a little bit of mint extract makes them very festive.  Of course, if you wanted pure chocolate, you could omit the mint and use chopped nuts instead of peppermint candies on top.

Spreading the dough

Spreading the dough

A couple of notes to make baking these easier.  First, the thinner you spread the dough, the thinner and crispier the cookies will be.  This makes the cookies great for eating, but challenging to get off the pan.  I found that using a very thin, flexible spatula (like an offset spatula that you would use to frost a cake) helps to get the cookies off the sheet in one piece.  Also, the original recipe says to bake the cookies for 7 minutes.  My oven probably runs a bit cool but I found I needed to go to 10-11 minutes in order to get cookies to the appropriate state of crisp.

Cookies ready for baking

Cookies ready for baking

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

6 tbls butter, cut into pieces

2 ounces good quality dark chocolate (at least 72% cacao), chopped

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

3 tbls plus 1 tsp all purpose flour

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp mint extract

pinch of coarse salt

Crushed peppermint candies, for garnish

To Make:

Position your oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease two baking sheets and set aside.

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium, microwave safe bowl.  Microwave the chocolate and butter using medium power until almost melted (about 1.5 minutes).  Remove from the microwave and whisk until completely melted.  Add the sugar and egg and whisk until smooth (about 1 minute).  Add the flour, extracts, and salt and stir until just combined.  Set the batter aside and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Scoop teaspoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheets, spacing them so you get about 12 per sheet.   Using the back of a large spoon, spread the dough into thin circles, about 2 inches in diameter.  Top with the crushed candy.  Bake in the oven, one sheet at a time, until the edges are darkened and the centers are nearly set, 7-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes.  Using a thin spatula, remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Serve:

Serve with milk.  Makes 2 dozen.

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Filed under Baked goods, Bars and Brownies, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

It is officially December and I am In. The. Spirit.  It feels a little early to be so excited for Christmas… but I am.  Maybe it is because my maternity leave is winding down and I am feeling the urge to play homemaker for as long as I can.  Or maybe it is because Thing 1 is old enough this year to really “get” what the Christmas season is all about.  Whatever it is, I am in the mood to make all kinds of Christmas goodies. 

Chocolate and cream, what's not to love?

I spent the last week looking for some new recipes to try.  In addition to the traditional stuff I always make, fudge, sugar cookies, etc., I wanted to find delicious things to add to my repertoire.  I came across fun treats like Bourbon Balls and Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Cream, and then I found the recipe for these tarts on a pull-out flyer from McCormick in one of my magazines. 

Chocolate ganache

Peppermint whipped cream

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These little tarts are perfect for the busy holiday season.  Not only are they delicious and pretty to look at, they are quick and easy to make.  The crispy phyllo tart shells contrasts nicely with the smooth chocolate ganache.  The mint creme on top adds a light finish.  Whip up a batch in less than half an hour and have an instant party treat or hostess gift.  To make storage easier, build and store the tarts in the plastic trays that the phyllo shells come in.  They keep for about a week in the refrigerator (though the shells lose some of their crispness over time) so you can make them when you have a few precious moments of free time. 

Mini phyllo shells

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

Recipe from McCormick

Ingredients:

2 packages (15 shells each) frozen mini phyllo shells

1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tbls sugar, divided

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

extra chocolate or crushed peppermint candies for garnish (if desired)

To Make:

Bake phyllo shells in a 350 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp.  Let cool completely.

Chop chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl with 1/3 cup heavy cream.  Microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring briefly after 30 seconds.  After the minute in the microwave, stir until all the chocolate is melted and the cream and chocolate are thoroughly combined.  Cool until ganache is thickened slightly, about five minutes.  Spoon a scant teaspoon of ganache into each phyllo cup.  Allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 2 tbls of sugar until smooth.  In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to whip 3/4 cup of heavy cream, remaining two tbls of sugar, and peppermint extract until the cream holds stiff peaks.  Stir half the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.  Gently fold in remaining whipped cream.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of creme onto each tart.  Alternatively, use a piping bag and wide tip to pipe the creme onto each tart.  I found that I had creme left over.

To Serve:

Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or crushed peppermint candies if desired.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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Filed under Baked goods, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes