Makes 24 bars
For the brownie base:
3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Sharfenberger)
5 oz good quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 stick butter, softened but still cool, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp creme de menthe
1 tsp peppermint extract
For the chocolate glaze:
6 oz good quality dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
Make the brownie base:
Preheat the oven to 325.
Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9×13 inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper and butter the parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
Configure a large double boiler. Place the chocolate and the butter in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined. Remove the bowl from the pan. Wait until the mixture is at room temperature
Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter or your brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (do NOT use a whisk) fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The brownies should be just a tad underdone (about 1 minute from being cooked completely). A toothpick inserted in the brownies at an angle should yield a few loose crumbs. (I like my brownies quite underdone so I removed them after about 10 minutes, but it’s up to your preference). Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan while you make the creme de menthe filling.
Make the buttercream:
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, 5-7 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high until cool. Reduce the 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 creme de menthe and peppermint extract and mix until combined. If the filling is too soft, chill slightly in the refrigerator and then mix again until it is the proper consistency. If the filling is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to proper consistency. Spread the filling evenly across the top of the brownie layer and place the pan in the refrigerator, for a minimum of 45 minutes while you make the chocolate glaze.
Make the chocolate glaze:
In a large non-reactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir vigorously for 1 minute to release excess heat.
Pour the mixture over the chilled creme de menthe layer and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Place the pan back in the refrigerator for 1 hour, until the glaze hardens.
Excerpted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2010 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.