For this week's Sweet Sunday I decided to make Grasshopper Squares. I love chocolate and mint together and think that this is a great sweet for the season. They are pretty time intensive to make, but if you are home decorating your tree or preparing for guests they are easy to do. No one step takes more that 5-10 minutes, it's the waiting times that make the whole process take long. But I think they are worth it.
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
10 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not extra-bitter or unsweetened and no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 oz fine-quality white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons green crème de menthe
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup heavy cream
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
MAKE BROWNIE LAYER
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 13- by 9-inch baking pan and line with 2 crisscrossed sheets of foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides. Butter foil.
Melt butter and chocolate with brown sugar in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt until just combined.
Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake until set and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs adhering, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
MAKE MINT GANACHE
Bring cream to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Pour over white chocolate in a bowl. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Stir in crème de menthe and extract and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour.
MAKE CHOCOLATE GANACHE (I recommend making the Chocolate Ganache once you've put the mint ganache on the brownie layer, because it needs to chill for at least 30 minutes before you can add the chocolate)
Bring cream to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Pour over bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 30 minutes.
Spread mint ganache over top of cooled brownie in a thin even layer using offset spatula, then chill until firm but still slightly sticky, about 30 minutes.
Spread chocolate ganache over mint and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Lift dessert out of pan using foil overhang. Run a heavy knife under hot water and wipe dry, then trim edges of dessert (1/4 inch off each side). Cut dessert into squares and peel from foil.
COOKS NOTE · Squares keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, chilled in an airtight container 3 weeks. · We recommend Droste unsweetened cocoa and Lindt bittersweet chocolate for this particular recipe.
This recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies, depending on how small or large you cut them. They are quite rich, so small squares are best. The boy isn't a fan of mint but I was pleasantly surprised that he liked them. The chocolate and mint are really well-balanced so you aren't overpowered by either flavor, which is why the boy liked them more that ether of us anticipated. I think the mint adds such a great cool finish which makes these treats taste like winter and Christmas to me. They are perfect as an edible gift or for a holiday party. Enjoy!