Grasshoppers – the little mint cookies I took to the NYC cookie swap yesterday – were definitely a hit. But I’m not going to tell you it’s an easy recipe. It’s a recipe that will make you grumble a little. Well, a lot.
Until you look at a box filled with these goodies – all 60 of them. That’s a lot of cookies. So, the return on all that work is good. Really good. In fact, so delicious, you’ll be glad there are a lot of them so you can save plenty for yourself.
The real secret to this recipe is patience. And time. It takes a full day – with plenty of time off for chilling the layers – but the cookies last for three weeks if kept nice and cold. I store them in a box in the garage (about 35° these days) only because my refrigerator is too full of jars.
First we make a brownie layer. It’s rich, decadent, and very firm. Next, make a white chocolate ganache flavored with Creme de Menthe. (I think I’ve had my bottle for 10 years. It will surely last another 20. This is the only time I take it out.) Finally, a bittersweet ganache tops the whole thing.
Give it a try. Don’t get angry with me when you cut the squares and the darn ganache cracks. Keep cleaning your knife after every cut. Imperfections will be overlooked once you get a taste of this confection. It’s somewhere between cookie and candy – what I call my happy place.
For brownie layer
12 T unsalted butter
10.5 oz bittersweet chocolate
1-1/2 c light brown sugar
3 lg eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c flour
1/4 c + 2 T unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
3/4 tsp salt
For mint ganache
1/2 c heavy cream
10 oz excellent white chocolate, chopped
2 T green creme de menthe
1 tsp peppermint extract
For chocolate ganache
1 c heavy cream
10 oz excellent bittersweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 375°
Butter a 13×9 baking pan and line with two crisscrossed sheets of foil -leave a significant overhang.
Butter the foil. (I melt the butter and brush it on – you’ll get better coverage.)
Whisk the dry ingredients for the brownie.
Melt the butter and chocolate along with the brown sugar in a 3 qt saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then the dry ingredients until just combined and no white streaks show.
Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake 20 minutes, until a tester inserted near the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
Cool on a rack at least 2 hours.
Simmer the cream and pour over the white chocolate. Let it stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the creme de menthe and extract. Cover and chill about an hour.
When cool, stir well and spread over the brownie layer. An offset spatula is the perfect tool.
Cool for at least two hours.
Simmer the cream, then pour over the chocolate. Allow it to stand for one minute, then whisk until smooth. Cover and chill for about 30 minutes, then give it a stir and spread over the mint layer. Work quickly and don’t fuss too much.
Chill overnight. Lift the whole thing out of the brownie pan. It’s okay to swear a blue streak while you do this. Trim the edges – great cook’s snack!
Mark off your squares – I use a ruler – and use a long slicing knife to make your cuts, cleaning the knife after each one.
Layer the little goodies between wax paper and keep ’em cold – they’ll last three weeks – well, theoretically, anyway.