Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chocolate Mint Brownies--The Easy Version

I do like to bake, even though it really isn't my "thing". It is too precise, too unforgiving. Those of you who know me personally probably think I'd love the exacting, scientific nature of baking rather than the comparably free style of cooking. But those of you who truly know me also know I hate to fail---so the margin for error in baking is sometimes just too great for my fragile ego.

For this reason, plus the fact that long lists of tedious instructions bore me to death, I do a lot of "short-cut" baking. Sort of like Sandra Lee's "Semi-Homemade" on the Food Network, without all that perfect blond hair. The following recipe is a perfect example of one of my short-cuts. The long version of this recipe was on the cover of Cooking Light several months back. Considering I'm a complete chocolate/mint fanatic, skipping this recipe was not an option. Because I wanted them fast--I decided to use a boxed brownie mix for the base and use their idea for the chocolate and mint icings.

I may like things quick and easy, but I don't like to skimp on taste, so I have only a very few boxed brownie mixes that I use. I remember Cooks' Illustrated did a taste test of several brands awhile ago and one of the top rated mixes was Ghiradelli. Taste tests of my own revealed similar results, so that became one of my pantry staples. I also love the Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie mix---which is also excellent and has that "homemade" taste to it, unlike some other brands, which will remain nameless.

So, as we head into the Christmas season, where chocolate and mint flavors reign, try these delicious brownies. They'll definitely be a hit at your holiday dessert table.

Want more mint? Check out my Merry Mint Meringue recipe over at my other blog, Season to Taste!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

1 box brownie mix, prepared according to package directions

Mint Icing:

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon mint extract

2 drops green food coloring

¼ cup butter, melted

Chocolate Glaze:

¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons butter

First make brownies and allow to thoroughly cool in pan.

Next, prepare the mint icing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and beating with a mixer until smooth.

Spread mint icing on top of the cooled brownie (still in pan).

Lastly, prepare the glaze by combining chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-proof bowl. Heat on high power at 30 second intervals, for a total of 90 seconds. Stir after each interval. Allow to cool 2 minutes and spread over mint layer.

Cover pan and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Invert entire brownie onto a cutting board and cut into squares.

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