A quick warning- there’s a potential I may bombard you over the next day or so. With the semester coming to a close and online school for my kids slowing down for the break, I’ve had time to bake over the past few days. I want to share all the recipes! I won’t, but I’ll share as many as I can while I have this brief bit of space. You already have my sugar cookie recipe (didn’t work so well in Puerto Rico’s humidity, but made some cute snowmen this year!).
While we gave most of the baked goods away, I made sure to save enough for us all to sample at least a bite of each. I had the family rank in preference for the sake of figuring out which recipe to share first, and these mint slices won. Admittedly, our family may be partial to these. When we lived in Australia, most fell in love with Tim Tams, but I only had eyes for Mint Slices. Marry a Thin Mint with a Peppermint Patty, and they produce Mint Slices. When friends travel to Oz, my request is always to bring back a package of Mint Slices. I have been known to pack a suitcase within a suitcase so that I can fill the extra suitcase with all the Aussie biscuits. For those stateside, you can find them somewhat regularly now at World Market!
A couple years ago, I attempted to make my own Mint Slices. They hit the spot, and they were so pretty. I actually planned to share the recipe here this holiday season, but they’re quite a bit of work. Then I saw a post from a Kiwi a few days ago with these Mint Slice bars. I tried them immediately, have made them twice now, and realized this is the version to share. So much easier. And there is no baking involved!! If you’ve been enjoying the outdoor fires and s’mores, there’s a chance you may already have all the ingredients on hand. The only ingredient you might have a little trouble with is the vanilla bean paste. If you have a Wegmans or Sur La Table, they should have it. Or there’s always Amazon, though it’s generally more spendy there.
The base is essentially a graham cracker crust with cocoa powder. The original recipe also has 1 cup of desiccated coconut, but I didn’t want anything competing with the mint/chocolate combo so I omitted it. Feel free to add. Don’t skip the parchment paper in the pan. You can just use one piece and make sure it goes up all four sides about an inch. Or you can use two pieces to create more of a sling. I tried both ways. Didn’t notice a difference, so I’ll just use one sheet in the future.
Cocoa Graham Cracker Base
- 1 14.4 ounce box graham crackers
- 3 tbsp (50g) granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp (45g) Dutch process cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 18 tbsp (260g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 4 3/4 cups (570g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 Tbsp boiling water, plus 1-3 teaspoons more if needed
- 1 ¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups (250g) 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 tablespoons (45g) neutral oil such as vegetable or canola
Cocoa Graham Base
Grease and line a 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray and parchment paper to go up at least 1.5-inches on all sides. You can make a "sling" using two pieces of parchment paper which extend over the sides. In the bowl of a food processor, place the graham crackers, sugar, cocoa, and salt, and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, and mix with a rubber spatula until the butter is incorporated – it should resemble wet sand.
Transfer the crust mixture into the baking pan, and press down evenly with a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup until compacted and smooth. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.
Place the confectioner’s sugar, butter, peppermint extract, and vanilla bean paste in a medium-sized bowl. Add the boiling water, and mix to incorporate. It should resemble a thick paste that smooths out within about 20 seconds when the bowl is left to sit.
Add extra boiling water if needed to help get to the right consistency, one teaspoon at a time. Remove the pan from the freezer. Top with the Peppermint Filling, and bang the pan on the counter to level it out. Chill for 30 minutes to set.
In a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together the chocolate and the oil, stirring frequently, until smooth. Alternatively (and what I did), melt together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well after each.
Pour over the set peppermint filling, and tilt the pan to evenly coat. Bang the pan on the counter several times to smooth out the topping and eliminate any bubbles.
Chill in the fridge until completely set, at least an hour. Remove from the pan by using the parchment paper slings. Cut into slices while chilled, using a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Source: slightly adapted from Cloudy Kitchen