It’s awards season, and of course, the creme de la creme, the Oscars, was on last night. What better way to celebrate watching beautiful celebrities look their best and be honored for their talents than to gorge yourself on delicious foods that are named after the nominees? The answer is: there is no better way. I’ve been hoping to get an invite to an Oscar party with this type of theme ever since I fell in love with the kitchen a few years ago, but everyone I know who throws the idea around usually abandons it before the Academy can say “And the nominees are…”.
But this year was different. My boyfriend works with a group of women who annually throw an Oscar party that’s planned months in advance, and it gets bigger and better each year. Each guest chooses or is assigned a nominee that he or she must creatively turn into a dish, like “George Blue-ney” (blue cheese), “The Brie of Life”, “Brad Pitt-ed Olives”, etc. To top it off, the best dish (voted for by the party guests) wins a prize. So without further hesitation, I now present…
…the award-winning Mintnight in Paris brownies. That’s right, I won the “Best Food” honor for my first year in attendance! This could be the start of something new for me. Perhaps I could win contests at parties all over the place-Grammy parties, Super Bowl parties, birthday parties…I mean, I did win while celebrating the biggest event of the year. It could only get bigger from here.
The funny thing was, I wasn’t terribly impressed with these brownies. I had a plan to make gorgeous, layered brownies and then whip up some green mint meringue kisses on the side. It would all be so beautiful, but what really happened? I forgot ingredients on my shopping list and had to push my baking time back by two days, my peppermint patties melted into the brownies instead of keeping their shape, and my meringue was, at best, a frothy mess. I was nearly embarrassed to bring them. Of course, I put an extreme amount of pressure on myself, and normally, people love what I make. If I didn’t put that kind of pressure on myself, I would question how much I really loved doing it. Luckily, I have no doubts.
Mint Chocolate Brownies
Stuff You’ll Need
Makes 16 brownies
- 8 Tbsp, or 1 stick, unsalted butter or Earth Balance buttery spread, cut into chunks
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 oz unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs or 3 eggs’ worth of egg replacer
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- Approximately two dozen small peppermint patties
- 8″ x 8″ square cake pan, parchment paper
How to Do It
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a square pan with enough parchment paper that it provides small handles on the sides.
- Place the butter and chocolate in a small metal mixing bowl, and place it over a simmering pot of water on medium heat. Stir the ingredients periodically as they gradually begin to melt, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and set the bowl on a heat proof surface.
- Add the sugar and salt to the chocolate, and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk the mixture rapidly to blend the eggs without cooking them. Mix throughly before adding the next egg.
- Gently fold the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture until the ingredients are just blended. You can do this with a whisk or with a rubber spatula, but do not overmix. Brownies get tough easily!
- Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan. Cover the surface of the batter with peppermint patties, and pour the remaining batter over the candies. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in between the patties. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, and remove them by using the parchment paper handles. Use a sharp, serrated knife to slice off the uneven edges, and cut four brownies across and four brownies down to get 16.
Recipe adapted from MarthaStewart.com.
Tip: I served mine with a horribly-gone-wrong mint meringue that I turned into a mint frosting, but don’t be afraid to add other fun, minty additions, like whipped cream made with peppermint extract and green coloring or chopped up Andes mints.