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!
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. And sometimes I luck out and even find them 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. I even saw it recently at Trader Joe’s for a great price!
The base is essentially a graham cracker crust with cocoa powder. 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
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, going up evenly on all four sides. (You can also use two pieces of parchment and criss cross them in order the extend the parchment over all four sides. This will create a sling, as pictured).
Place graham crackers, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times until the crackers are fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse again; the mixture should look like dark, wet sand. Remove the blade, and give the mix a couple stirs with a rubber scraper to make sure the butter is all incorporated.
Transfer the crust mixture into the prepared pan, and press into an even layer. Use a flat-bottomed measuring cup to compact the crumbs and smooth it out. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.
Place the powdered sugar, butter, peppermint extract, and vanilla bean paste in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the boiling water, and using a whisk, mix everything together until smooth. It should be a thick paste that smoothes back together after you stop mixing. If it doesn't flatten out after about 20 seconds, add more boiling water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it's the right consistency.
Remove the crust from the freezer. Pour the peppermint filling on top, and gently bang the pan on the counter to level it out. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.
Place the chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well after each, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator, and pour the melted chocolate on top. Tilt the pan even it out. Again, gently bang the pan on the counter to smooth out the chocolate topping and pop any bubbles.
Return the pan to the refrigerator, and chill for at least an hour or until completely set. Pull up on the parchment paper, removing the bars from the pan, and place on a cutting board. While still cold, cut into slices using a sharp knife. Eat right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Source: slightly adapted from Cloudy Kitchen