Chocolate-Mint Brownies

Okay, this is the final installment in my decadent brownie repertoire--at least for now. It's my son's turn to bring the snacks to Cub Scouts tonight and Chocolate-Mint Brownies are his favorite because, unlike my Marionberry-Walnut Brownies, Peanut Butter Brownies, or Caramel-Pecan Brownies, these have frosting!

I used to use York Poppables in the batter, but I don't think they make them anymore; I haven't been able to find them in a couple years. Today I cut up York Peppermint Patties into small pieces, but you could use Junior Mints, Andes Mints or mint-flavored chocolate chips. Those minty M & M's that are out during the holidays might be good too, come to think of it. Whatever you decide on, you'll want to set aside some for grating on top of the frosting as the finishing touch.

As always, I recommend baking on a preheated baking stone, if you have one.

1 pound unsalted butter
8 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
4 cups (1# 12 ounces) sugar
8 large farm-fresh local eggs (weighs 1 lb.1 oz. in the shell, if you have odd sizes)
1 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 ounces)
1 12 oz. package York Peppermint Patties, chopped (or see above for other choices)
1 recipe Mint Buttercream Frosting (below)
a few extra chocolate mint candies for grating on top. Frozen Junior Mints work well.

Line a 12 x 17-inch jelly roll pan with unbleached parchment or grease and flour well. Preheat the oven to 350 degreees (with a baking stone, if you have one).

In a large, heavy saucepan melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate over very low heat just until melted. Stir in the sugar, turn off the heat and let stand for 5 or 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted.

Whisk the eggs, salt, vanilla, and mint extract together in a very large bowl. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly until well-combined.

Gently fold in the flour until no dry particles are visible. Pour into the prepared pan.

Scatter the chopped York patties evenly over the surface of the batter. Using a rubber scraper or the back of a spoon, gently smooth the top so the candy pieces are covered with batter.

Place on the baking stone or center rack of the oven and turn the heat down to 325 degrees. Bake for exactly 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

When completely cool, frost with Mint Buttercream frosting and grate additional chocolate-mint candies over the top before the frosting sets. I use the same Zyliss grater I use for Parmesan cheese.

Brownies will be easier to cut if covered tightly and then refrigerated several hours or overnight. If you're in a hurry you can chill them in the freezer. I slide a metal spatula under the parchment and lift the whole thing out onto the counter before cutting into squares.

Makes 48 small or 24 large brownies. As with all my brownies, these freeze very well.

Mint-Buttercream Frosting

In a large bowl beat together 1 stick softened, unsalted butter and a 1 lb. box of powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon mint extract and a pinch of salt. Gradually beat in up to 6 tablespoons milk or cream until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

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