Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I have one last recipe to share with you before all of the festivities are over, so if you’re in need of a St. Patty’s-themed dessert for today, you’re in luck! Last year, I made a grasshopper pie and it was seriously phenomenal. As in, months later I was still thinking about it. Last week, I was craving brownies like nobody’s business, so I decided to put a grasshopper spin on one of my favorite brownie recipes. Both recipes are based on the grasshopper cocktail, which is a mint-flavored drink consisting of creme de menthe, creme de cacao and heavy cream. It’s delicious, but I would so much rather eat my sweet, minty calories than drink them, so brownies it is!
I used my chewy brownies as the base for these; I’ve found that they’re great for layered brownie desserts since they’re not too thick, and not overwhelmingly sweet. They were perfect for the buckeye brownies, and they turned out fabulous for these grasshopper brownies, as well. I topped the brownies with a creme de menthe buttercream, and then finished them off with a creme de cacao chocolate ganache. All the flavors of the popular cocktail, wrapped up in decadent brownies.
All of the green color and mint flavor come from the creme de menthe; both are noticeable, but subtle. If you prefer a really amped-up mint flavor or a deeper green color, you can augment the creme de menthe with mint extract and green food coloring.
If you want a festive dessert to enjoy tonight (or even this afternoon), you still have plenty of time to whip these up. If you’re out celebrating, enjoy and be careful!
Chocolate brownies topped with a creme de menthe filling and a creme de cacao ganache, fashioned after the popular grasshopper cocktail.
For the Brownies:
⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces
For the Creme de Menthe Filling:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons green creme de menthe
2½ cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
For the Creme de Cacao Ganache:
14 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon creme de cacao
1. Make the Brownies: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.
4. Make the Creme de Menthe Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the creme de menthe and pinch of salt, blending until totally combined. Keeping the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar. Once it has all been incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread the mixture over the cooled brownies into an even layer. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.
5. Make the Creme de Cacao Ganache: Place the chocolate, heavy cream and butter in a medium bowl set above a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and stir in the creme de cacao. Set aside to cool to room temperature (the mixture will thicken as it cools), then use an offset spatula to spread in an even layer over the creme de menthe filling. Return to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
6. Using foil overhang, carefully lift brownies from pan. Cut into squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.