Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Slices

I promised you there’d be a Treat Sunday, didn’t I? This time when I say I’m back, I mean it and here’s a recipe to prove it!

When I start to think about writing a recipe, I tend to get an idea or some form of inspiration and then I look for as many recipes for this idea that I possibly can. I look through my mountain of recipe books, I Google, I go through all of my favourite food websites and I compare and contrast what they tell me, take my favourite components and turn them into my own interpretation of the recipe. I’m incredibly disorganised in that a lot of this takes place in my head, and any notes that may be written down tend to be on scrap bits of paper which then get lost in the bowels of my handbag when I take them shopping to buy ingredients. I am a bit more organised when it comes to actually baking in that usually by this point, I’ll have the bare bones of a recipe which then gets scribbled on as I bake.

So there I am, every week, trying to write up my blog using a, by this point, mangled and (often tea/chocolate/butter) stained piece of paper with the recipe on it. Now, on the particular week that I wrote this recipe...I went mental. I tore the recipe out of my notebook in order to write it up on the train without lugging my notebook around, didn’t get round to it...and the paper disappeared!! Nightmare.

Luckily for you, I can remember it...well I’m about 99% sure that I can! These Chocolate Peppermint Slices are so nice though that I’m sharing it anyway and if anyone encounters a problem you’ll just have to let me know and I’ll re-experiment and make corrections where necessary.

These Chocolate Peppermint slices, as I’ve already said, are delicious and this is coming from someone who really isn’t a huge mint fan. The best way I can describe them is that it’s like eating a giant After Eight (or other brand of after dinner mint) and it just makes sense.

In my family, After Eights only tend to appear around Christmas, usually to be found in my father’s stocking and are universally enjoyed by all, even as we found out one year, by the dog. That one particular year, it was the evening of Christmas day and while all family members were in the sitting room in various states of a food-induced coma, someone noticed that the dog had gone very quiet and had in fact, not been seen trotting around for quite some time. So we all got up to look for her and eventually she was found in the conservatory, under the dining table, surrounded by empty After Eight mint packets. She’d eaten them all, the little piglet. To this day we don’t know how she got the box, opened the box or got the mints out of their packets (there were no chewed up packets). I personally think she’s harbouring a secret set of opposable thumbs but this has yet to be proven. 

Anyway, that’s what after dinner mints remind me of. It’s a story that always makes me smile and it was one I thought about when I was making this recipe. So if you’re a fan of the chocolate mint flavour combination, and even if you’re not, you should definitely gives this one a try. Just don’t feed them to your dog, that would be a waste and if they’re anything like my dog was when she scoffed all those chocolates, you’ll spend the rest of your day cleaning up dog sick. Not nice.

Some Final Tips Before You Get Started:
  • In this recipe I used an ingredient I’ve never, ever used before; vegetable shortening. It worked out great in this recipe in that it stopped the white peppermint filling from going yellow, as it would have had I used butter. It’s pretty weird stuff to work with but as I said, it works here so you should have a go with it. I think if you didn’t want to use it you could probably substitute the vegetable shortening with butter and a couple of drops of green food colouring (for that minty look), but this isn’t something I’ve yet tried and it’s therefore untested.
  • The base of these slices are exactly the same as the Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies I made a while ago...obviously minus the cheesecake. I’ve written quite a few tips regarding the making of these on this page so if you need a few pointers or want to see what I do, have a browse at the tips for this recipe.
  • With the chocolate topping, I’ve given the incredibly specific ingredient of ‘several drops’ of peppermint extract. Basically tailor this to your own taste. If you just want a mild peppermint flavour, leave it out of the chocolate topping and let the peppermint filling do the work. If you like a strong peppermint flavour, however, add a few drops to your chocolate topping as well.
Chocolate Peppermint Slices
For the Brownie Base:
200g Dark Chocolate (broken into small pieces)
175g Unsalted Butter
300g Caster Sugar
130g Plain Flour
3 Eggs

For the Peppermint Filling:
185g Icing Sugar (sifted)
30g Vegetable Shortening (melted)
2 tbsps. Whole Milk
½ tsp. Peppermint Extract

For the Chocolate Topping
150g Dark Chocolate
100ml Double Cream
1 tbsp. Butter
Several Drops of Peppermint Extract (optional)

30cm x 20cm Rectangular Baking Tin

1)      Preheat the oven to 180◦C, grease and line the baking tin with greaseproof paper.
2)      To make the brownie base, place a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled with an inch of water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Bring the water to boil over a medium heat. Break the chocolate into chunks and place, alongside the butter into the heatproof bowl and melt together, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool slightly once melted.
3)      Mix the sugar and flour into the melted chocolate and butter and stir until combined. Add the eggs and little at a time, mixing until a wet mixture has formed. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the brownie comes out mostly clean. Leave to cool.
4)      While the brownie base is cooling, make your peppermint filling by sifting the icing into a bowl. Stir in the melted shortening, milk and peppermint extract until a smooth paste has formed. Spread the filling over the cooled brownie base and leave to set in the refrigerator
5)      To make the chocolate topping, heat the double cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. As soon as the double cream begins to simmer, remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the broken up chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate has melted. Add the butter and (optional) peppermint extract and stir until melted and combined.
6)      Pour the chocolate topping over the cooled peppermint filling and refrigerate again for 20 minutes or until the chocolate has set.
7)      Once set, carefully remove from the baking tin and cut into slices or squares. Enjoy!

Oh and here's the After Eight stealing dog with secret opposable thumbs....just because she's cute!!


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