I’ve made more thematic St. Patrick’s Day items in past years. There were the Guinness/Bailey’s/Jameson cupcakes, the beef and Guinness pies, the soda bread, the Irish coffee sundaes, the Guinness chocolate cake. But this year, I went a slightly lazier (and Guinness-free) route and just dyed some frosting green. I’d say I’m sorry… but once you taste these, you won’t be sorry.
You could actually use Bailey’s in the frosting instead of mint flavoring, if you’re feeling boozy. But mint and chocolate together is one of my favorite combinations ever. It ranks right up there with macaroni and cheese.
I wasn’t quite sure about these brownies while I was making them. The cocoa-butter mixture is grainy and gross looking when it’s ready to move to the next step (I even added an extra tablespoon of butter, but that didn’t seem to do much except make the final product extra fudgy). And even after they had baked the suggested time, it just looked like wet batter.
But after some extra time in the oven, they came out amazing. And they’re really quite easy — just a little confusing at first.
I stirred some chocolate chips in for good measure, but they’re not necessary. And the brownies would be delightful with just a bit of powdered sugar dusted over them once they’ve cooled. But everything is more fun with frosting, right?
Don’t be like me and accidentally put vanilla extract in your frosting. Adding extra marshmallow creme is always encouraged, though.
Try to wait until the brownies are completely cool before frosting them, or the frosting will melt. I also put mine in the fridge overnight after frosting them, which makes the brownie part a bit difficult to cut with a butter knife, but helps set the frosting. And a sharp knife (I used a steak knife) will cut them beautifully. Enjoy, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Chocolate mint brownies (Brownie recipe adapted from Food52. Makes one 8×8 inch square baking dish of brownies)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter (I added one additional tablespoon for 11 total)
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process or not, doesn’t matter)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) – place them in opposite directions so the bottom is covered by both and there is a bit of an overhang on all sides.
Place the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium to large heatproof bowl. Halfway fill a large, wide skillet with water, place it on the stovetop and put the bowl in the skillet. Bring the water to just simmering (not boiling!) and stir the cocoa-butter mixture occasionally until the butter is totally melted and the mixture is very warm (you should be able to touch it with your finger but wouldn’t want to leave your finger there very long). It may still look super grainy, but that’s OK.
Carefully take the bowl out of the skillet and set it elsewhere to cool slightly. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the vanilla, then the eggs, adding them one at a time and stirring well after each. After everything looks well blended (and probably much smoother than it was previously), stir in the flour until you can’t see it, then stir hard for about 40 rotations. Stir in the chocolate chips (some may melt, but that isn’t a bad thing).
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared an and bake about 20-25 minutes (it may take longer), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out just a little moist (not totally wet with batter). Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting.
Marshmallow-mint frosting (makes enough for the brownies, plus a little for tasting)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at or near room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme or fluff
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
green food coloring
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a medium mixing bowl. Beat butter (with an electric mixer, if not using a stand mixer) until creamy, then add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (if you add more at once, it may make a mess).
Add the marshmallow creme and beat to combine. Add some milk if the frosting seems too thick to spread, and continue beating the frosting until light and fluffy.
Add 1 teaspoon of the peppermint extract and beat to combine, then taste. If it’s not minty enough, add a little more and beat again.
Once frosting tastes right, beat in a few drops of green food coloring until frosting is desired color.
Smooth a thick layer of frosting over cooled brownies and refrigerate to set. Remove brownies from pan by pulling up on two opposite sides of the parchment paper overhang. Cut the brownies with a sharp knife to serve.