Chocolate

For Better Brownies, Just Add Mint

It's hard to come up with something negative to say about brownies. Even lackluster brownies are pretty good—we are talking about chocolate here, after all.

However, if I were to critique the past few recipes I've tried, I might mention that some tiptoe just into the category of too rich.

Yes, brownies, when done properly, are intense affairs. Yes, brownies shouldn't dilly-dally around with faint whispers of cocoa powder.

But that being said, a brownie shouldn't be one-note. A single bite shouldn't overwhelm your taste buds. Rich and decadent are good qualities in a brownie, but I believe firmly that the flavor should still be nuanced. You should really taste the chocolate, not just sugar and butter. It should be fudgy enough that you're swooning a bit, but not cloyingly sweet or leaden. You should want to close the door, turn off your phone, and have a few quiet moments to savor it.

Enter chocolate's perfect match: mint. Adding mint (in two forms) to brownie batter offers a refreshing counterpoint to all of that chocolate. Cool and bright, mint balances out the richness of a very fudge-like brownie. I've always been a fan of chocolate and mint desserts, and brownies prove to be an excellent vehicle for both.

To turn up the volume on the mint, I used crushed peppermint candy (the ideal use for leftover holiday candy canes, in my opinion) and a bar of mint dark chocolate. Look in the candy aisle of a grocery store for the mint dark chocolate: You want mint-infused chocolate, not any sort of filled chocolate or truffle. If you can't find it, just use regular dark chocolate (60% cacao or higher).

4 Comments

AntoniaJames March 21, 2016
My mother used to lay Andes mints on top of the brownie batter in the pan (her favorite, from "The Joy of Cooking") during the Christmas holidays, for a special treat. Having that melted minty top layer guaranteed a good whiff of its flavor as you bit into the brownie. Mmmmmmm.<br />I do appreciate learning of this clever way to use up leftover candy canes, of which I always seem to have so many, come January. ;o)
 
Smaug March 21, 2016
Brownies without nuts? Grampaw was right, the world IS going to hell in a handbasket.
 
Author Comment
Posie (. March 21, 2016
the world is your oyster...go RIGHT AHEAD and add nuts!
 
trvlnsandy March 21, 2016
I grind up my leftover candy canes and use that in place of sugar. A few pieces are larger and occassionally you get one in your mouth while eating the brownies, providing an extra mint sensation.