Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas treats 2: mint chocolate strips

Chocolate mint is, for me, one of the most Christmassy combinations there is. When i was little a client of my mother’s used to send us a basket full of pine branches and mint brownies. The two smells together are still magical and Christmassy to me. With time, I have also cracked the recipe for the mint brownies and, because I’m a perfectionist, I have evolved it slightly and turned it into my Chocolate Mint strips.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
200g butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips, which you will melt
½ cup dark muscovado sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together (a food processor is quite handy but you can live without) and pour them into a rectangular baking tray. Bake for about 30 minutes in the oven at 180°c: at the end the surface should be puffed up and dry, showing the moist inside from the cracks.
Take the brownies out of the oven and, when they are cool, put them in the fridge for a couple of hours – you really need a solid base for this to work out prettily.

In the mean time, prepare the two kinds of icing:

1/4 cup melted butter
4 tablespoons of single cream
3 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons of peppermint extract
a drop of green gel food colouring

Mix all of these together to make the green mint icing.

1 cup dark chocolate chips which you will melt
¼ cup of melted butter
¼ cup of single cream
1 tablespoon of icing sugar

Mix all of these together to make the chocolate icing.

Spread the mint icing on the brownies and put back in the fridge for at least 2 and ½ hours. Then spread the chocolate icing on top to form a drippy pattern, Pollock-like. Let the green icing peep through! Put back in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the icing to set.

Cut this into thin stripes about 2 inches wide and 5 inches long. They are delicious served with mint tea or coffee or hot chocolate: I always decorate the plate I put these with some pine branches to add some of the fragrance. 

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