Sometimes chocolate is the best last resort. You’ve apologized, prayed, fretted and worried, yelled, torn your cuticles and had one too many drinks. Maybe chocolate is the answer. Not as a long-term solution but this recipe will certainly smooth ruffled feathers and ease worried minds for the time being. These brownies were created by baking maven, Maida Heatter, and are classic world renown treats. If you served brownies at a wedding, these are the ones you want. If your precious angel is going through a rough time at college, these are the brownies to pack in an empty shoe box. I made a few changes in the way I bake them. I sprayed the tin foil lined baking pan with non-stick cooking spray as opposed to applying the melted butter process. Worked fine. I used pecans in place of walnuts because I adore pecans and I find walnuts to be bitter…I don’t know…I’m just not a fan. The final change I made was rather than purchase 2 bags of York Peppermint Patties I used 2 7.7-ounce bags of Ghiradelli Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Squares I found on clearance after the holidays. I had started actually dipping into one of the bags for an occasional treat and that’s never good. I had no business buying more chocolates. Boy howdy, do I love these brownies! It is imperative you chill these overnight for the best results. Somehow it all works together and makes this dessert well worth the wait.
Maida Heatter's Palm Beach Mint Brownies
- 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 3 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 2/3 cups sifted unbleached flour
- 2 cups shelled walnuts, broken into large pieces
- 2 15-ounce bags chocolate covered peppermint patties
- Pre-heat oven to 425°. Line a 9″ X 13″ x 2″ pan as follows: Invert the pan and center a 17″ length of aluminum foil, shiny side down, over the pan. With your hands, press down on the sides and corners of the foil to shape it to the pan. Remove the foil. Turn the pan right side up. Place the foil in the pan and very carefully press it into place in the pan. Now, to butter the pan, place a piece of butter (additional to that in ingredients) in the pan, and put the pan in the oven. When the butter is melted, use a pastry brush or a piece of crumbled plastic wrap to spread the butter all over the foil. Set the prepared pan aside.
- Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a large double boiler over moderate heat or in a 4- to 6-cup heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Stir to mix. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, salt, espresso powder and sugar at high-speed for ten minutes. On low-speed add the chocolate mixer (which may still be warm) and beat only until mixed. Then add the flour and again beat on low-speed only until mixed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the walnuts.
- Pour half the mixture (about 3 1/2 cups) into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place a layer of the mints, touching each other and the edges of the pan, all over the chocolate layer. Cut some mints to fill in large spaces on the edges. (You will not use all the mints. There will be some left over.) Pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the pan and smooth all over.
- Bake for 35 minutes, reversing the pan front to back once during baking to ensure even baking. At the end of 35 minutes the cake will have a firm crust on top but if you insert a toothpick in the middle it will come out wet and covered with chocolate. Nevertheless, it is done. Do not bake any longer.
- Remove the pan from the oven; let stand until cool. Cover the pan with a cookie sheet and invert the pan and the sheet. remove the pan and the foil lining. Cover the length of the cake with a length of wax paper and another cookie sheet and invert again, leaving the cake right side up. Now, the cake must be refrigerated for a few hours or overnight before it is cut into bars.
- When you are ready to cut the cake, use a long, heavy knife with a sharp blade, either serrated or straight-try both. Cut the cake into quarters. Cut each quarter in half, cutting through the long sides. Finally, cut each piece into 4 bars, cutting through the long sides. (I think these brownies are better in narrow bar shapes than in squares.) Pack brownies in an airtight box or wrap individually in clear cellophane, wax paper or foil. They freeze perfectly and can be served very cold or at room temperature.