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Chocolate Mint Day

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune

Try some no-bake chocolate mint bars to help celebrate National Chocolate Mint Day or Valentines Day.


Sunday, Feb. 19, happens to be National Chocolate Mint Day.


While I m not a huge fan of chocolate mint flavor (except for candies such as York Peppermint Pattie), I am well aware that I am seriously outnumbered by fans of that flavor combo. So this column is for them and it is my hope all you choco-mint fans find something delicious to make.


All of the recipes can be used to help you celebrate Valentines Day, if that is a tradition for you and your family. Hearts and flowers to all of you as spring begins to appear on the horizon. Meanwhile, stay warm and safe and we will get through the rest of this winter together.


I am loving the rain and snow, as long as I don’t have to drive in it.

 

No-bake chocolate mint bars
Adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe.

 

1/2 cup butter
1 bag (10-oz. or 1 2/3 cups) mint flavored semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
1 or 2 drops green food coloring
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup butter

 

  1. Grease 9-inch square pan. In 2-quart saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in the chocolate cookie crumbs until well blended; press evenly in pan. Refrigerate mixture until firm, at least 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat 1/4 cup butter, the tablespoon of milk, mint extract, vanilla and food coloring with electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. On low speed, gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth.

  3. Spread the peppermint mixture evenly over the chilled crumb mixture. In a 1-quart saucepan, melt remaining chocolate chips and 1/3 cup butter over low heat, stirring constantly; spread evenly over the mint mixture. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, 10 to 15 minutes. For bars, cut into 5 rows by 5 rows, making 25 pieces.

 

Andes mint brownies
For the brownies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon brewed coffee 
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or granules
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup flour
28 Andes mints (1 4.6-oz. package), each mint chopped into thirds


For the topping:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
28 Andes mints, also chopped into thirds

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang and spray with cooking spray. (Or grease and flour the pan itself.) Set aside.

  2. To make the brownies: In a large microwave-safe bowl, place the butter and dark or bittersweet chocolate;  heat on HIGH power to melt, about 2 minutes, or depending on the strength of your microwave oven. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Allow mixture to cool a bit before adding the eggs so they don’t cook and set.

  3. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, coffee, espresso powder or granules, pinch of salt;  whisk mixture vigorously to combine. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Making sure the batter isn’t so warm that the Andes melt, add the Andes. Working quickly and carefully, fold the Andes candies into the batter, making sure not to overwork the batter or the Andes will melt. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing out the surface.

  4. Bake for about 24 to 25 minutes, or until center has just set and is no longer glossy.  If you use a toothpick to test, keep in mind that you might poke into some melted chocolate, which would make it hard to judge if the batter is done, so try another spot. Allow brownies to cool in pan on a wire rack while you make the topping.

  5. To make the topping:  In a small microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate chips, and heat on HIGH power to melt, about 1 minute. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and can be stirred to a smooth consistency. Pour the chocolate evenly over the brownies, which don’t need to be completely cool. Smooth surface with an offset spatula or other tool

  6. After chocolate has cooled for about 8 to 10 minutes, evenly sprinkle the remaining chopped Andes mints. The chocolate needs to be warm enough so the Andes will melt into it just enough to adhere, but not too warm or they’ll melt completely.

  7. Place pan on wire rack and allow to cool uncovered for about 4 hours, or until chocolate has set completely, before slicing. Or cover with foil and place pan in refrigerator for about 2 hours, or until chilled enough for slicing. Lift brownies out using foil overhang, slice, and serve. Brownies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Makes 9 to 12 generous servings.


Mint chocolate chip cheesecake
For crust:
15 Oreo cookies (or similar ones)
10 Keebler Grasshopper fudge mint cookies
5 tablespoons butter, melted


For cheesecake:
3 packages cream cheese (8-oz. each), softened
1 can (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon Creme de Menthe liqueur
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon green food coloring
2 cups miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon flour
1 tablespoon milk

 

  1. Preheat oven to 300. In a food processor, combine the Oreo and Grasshopper cookies. Pulse until fine crumbs form. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times, just until crumbs become moistened. Press the cookie crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer, beat softened cream cheese on medium speed until it becomes light and fluffy, about 3 minutes Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix until just incorporated. Add the eggs and mix until well blended. Add the Creme de Menthe, peppermint extract and food coloring and mix well.

  3. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the chocolate chips with the flour. Stir the chips to coat well. Add the flour-coated chocolate chips to the cream cheese mixture and stir. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for one hour.

  4. Remove pan from oven and immediately use a knife to separate the cheesecake from the pan’s edge, going all the way around. Allow cheesecake to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, combine remaining 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips and the tablespoon of milk  in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave mixture on HIGH for 30 seconds, stopping after 15 seconds to stir. When smooth, drizzle the melted chocolate over each slice of cheesecake and serve. Makes 12 servings.

 

Tastes like Thin Mints hot chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup hot water
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Whipped cream, for topping
A few Thin Mints cookies, optional

 

 

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar, cocoa powder and pinch of salt. Add the hot water and mix until mixture is dissolved.

  2. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

  3. Add milk and peppermint extract. Cook until the milk is hot, but do not allow to boil. Top each serving with some whipped cream.

  4. If using the cookies, crush a few of them and leave some whole. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of each filled cup and serve a whole one on the side.