Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies

Every summer, I grow lots of herbs on my balcony. I can’t wait for the day I have a yard so I can have a garden! But until then, I’m content with my low-maintenance substitute. My choice of herbs varies from year to year, but this year I have Thai basil, Greek oregano, catnip, and peppermint growing happily on my balcony. I always grow mint but never really do much with it aside from making copious batches of mint water, mint iced tea, etc. Sometimes I make fruit salad with mint dressing or a vinaigrette with mint, but more often than not, my mint kind of goes to waste. Except for the smell. I just LOVE the smell of fresh mint. Don’t you?

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is make a chocolate dessert with fresh mint, and last weekend, I finally got around to it! These brownies are not overwhelmingly minty–nothing like those over the top, ooey gooey Andes Mint Brownies that are super popular. I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about! Those are good, but these are something extra special. There’s nothing artificial tasting here! Just fudgy, frosted cocoa brownies with a hint of mint. They’re refreshing and super tasty!

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

But enough about the mint… the brownies deserve some love too, right? I’ve tried quite a few homemade brownie recipes. They’ve either been too cakey, too dry, too complicated, too expensive [as in: half a pound of butter, half a pound of chocolate, etc. etc. etc.]. I don’t mind spending money on a recipe if it’s going to be good, but if it’s gonna flop…? Ugh, I might as well buy a box! But these… these brownies are perfect every time! I’ve made these fudgy cocoa brownies with frosting several times and always have been impressed with their chewy texture and consistency. Most people are shocked to hear that they’re just made with cocoa and not chocolate chips or bars… or a box! For the brownie AND the frosting. They’re just the best–and I know I’m not eating a bunch of chemicals! Win win! No one will be able to resist them!

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

For this batch of Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies, I changed Jen’s base recipe just a tad to use coffee instead of milk in the frosting. I also added some coffee to the brownie batter to add some extra moisture since I threw in a bunch of fresh mint leaves. Speaking of the mint leaves… I chopped them up veryyy finely and baked ‘em right in. You can hardly tell, unless you cut into one on the edges. If the thought of that bothers you, you could a) blend the batter with a blender or b) let the mint steep in the melted butter for awhile to infuse it, then drain it out through a fine sieve. I actually tried to do that second option, but made the mistake of also adding the sugar and found it was too thick to efficiently strain out. No matter your method, the end result is fabulous. I think these would make some pretty terrific brownie sundaes! Oh, and btw… these brownies are so fudgy and moist that they aren’t dried out, even a week later, if they’re kept tightly covered. I mean, they probably won’t last that long, but for the record it’s good to know! Enjoy! :)

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies [adapted from Yummy Healthy Easy]
click to print

Ingredients:

for the brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon strongly brewed coffee, optional
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

for the frosting

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon strongly brewed coffee [or milk]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a saucepan set over low heat. Add sugar and mint and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and coffee, then add in cocoa powder, flour, and baking powder. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool. Do not overbake!

Make frosting by stirring together butter, honey, coffee, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Spread on brownies while they are still warm–I like to wait about 10 minutes so they aren’t super hot. Cool completely to set frosting, then cut into bars to serve.

Time: 45 minutes + time to cool.
Yield: 9 servings.

About these ads

Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons

Last bridal shower post! I received these cookies [and the recipe] back at Christmas from Mary Beth at A Carrot and A Cupcake for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Since the bride loves coconut, these were a natural addition to our menu. Can’t go wrong with chocolate and coconut, right?! :)  I must say, I was a bit nervous making these macaroons for a bridal shower because you want bridal showers to be pretty, not trashy. And let’s face it: sometimes working with melted chocolate causes things to look trashy. Or is that just me? ANYWAYS…

Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons | thepajamachef.com

I breathed a sigh of relief when these macaroons came out of the oven golden brown, with crunchy exteriors and soft interiors. And I breathed a second sigh of relief when my dipped chocolate looked… well… normal. Not drop-dead-candy-shop gorgeous, but passable. Normal, even for a home kitchen. And then I wanted to run away to the beach with the entire tin of Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons. They were so good [c'mon, I had to allow myself one to taste test. That's just a thing ya do!] and I wanted more. But guys… I decided to share. :) It was just the right thing to do.

Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons | thepajamachef.com

More chocolate, more coconut, more more more. That’s the problem with little rich desserts. You can convince yourself ahead of time that “one is enough” and “I couldn’t possibly eat another. I am too full/stubborn/ridiculous girl embarrassed/pick your poison.” But no. One isn’t enough. These macaroons are rich and addictive. I heard that non-coconut lovers inhaled these macaroons. I must have done something right. :)

Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons | thepajamachef.com

If the length of the recipe and all the steps scare you… don’t let it. These macaroons are foolproof, tested, and relatively simple. If you’ve ever had a dry macaroon and have sworn off making them because of that, well–this recipe is for you. These macaroons aren’t dry and they don’t have weird ingredients either. Just lots of delicious coconut and chocolate sweetness! I know these will be my go-to Christmas cookie and bridal/baby shower treat for years to come. Food bloggers always say that sort of thing, but I really mean it. I’ve never had a macaroon as good as these and I bet you haven’t either! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! :)

one year ago: Pretzel Rolls
two years ago: Orange-Glazed Chicken Stir Fry
three years ago: Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Pancakes

 

Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons [from A Carrot and A Cupcake]

Ingredients:

  • 28 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned cream of coconut [i.e. Coco Lopez] – or if you can’t find that, substitute an equal amount of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 16 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine 14 ounces coconut and the powdered sugar in a food processor. Pulse until chopped into small pieces. Add cream of coconut, cream cheese, flour, egg whites, vanilla and salt. Pulse until mixed well. This batter will be soft, wet, and gooey so refrigerate for 15-30 minutes to make it easier to work with.

Place some of the remaining coconut flakes in a shallow bowl or baking dish [you can put it all in but you may not use it all, so I used a bowl and added more as necessary]. Drop rounded tablespoons of chilled batter into the coconut flakes, toss some coconut on top, and then gently roll with your hands to form balls. I found that some of the softer balls required more coconut to hold them together. Repeat until all batter is used.

Place 1 inch apart on prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating pans from bottom to top and front to back halfway through. Be sure to check early and often so they don’t burn! Let cool on baking pans for about 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. I cooled mine overnight and just covered up the cooling racks with a kitchen towel.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper [just reuse what you already have, and discard excess coconut flakes]. Combine chocolate and coconut oil in a small bowl and melt in microwave until smooth. I always melt chocolate at 50% power with 30 second bursts, stirring in between.

Dip bottoms of macaroons in melted chocolate, then place chocolate-side down on prepared pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set.

Store macaroons covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Time: 60 minutes active, plus time to chill.
Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

SRC: Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

Hi friends! It’s another SRC day. Every month I am always SHOCKED at how quickly it’s SRC time again. It means time is passing quickly… both for blog stuff and real life stuff. My first full semester working as a librarian has already come to an end, and we’ve been living in Nashville over 7 months now! Crazy stuff. But you know what isn’t crazy? How wonderful my Secret Recipe Club assignment for May was. [Betcha didn't see that transition coming, now did ya? :)]

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal | thepajamachef.com

This month I was assigned to Food Ramblings, written by the lovely Elizabeth. She has tons of recipes on her blog, ranging from the indulgent to the uber healthy. My kinda girl! That’s exactly  how I cook, so I had SUCH a hard time deciding what to make. As I was browsing through her archives basically everything sounded good to me. Maybe I was just hungry. :) First, I really wanted to make this polenta with roasted tomatoes and spinach, I decided to wait until the summer for that–I’m sure it’ll be unbelievably delicious with fresh farmer’s market tomatoes. Then, I thought about making cheese and broccoli quinoa casserole, and finally landed on Chocolate Baked Oatmeal. It was only when I was writing this post that I realized it fell on Cinco de Mayo and I should have made something Mexican. Oh well, it was delicious. Though the baked oatmeal tasted rich and fudgy, it’s actually a pretty healthy breakfast. Well, as far as having chocolate for breakfast can be considered healthy. :)

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal | thepajamachef.com

Elizabeth’s original recipe called for making this baked oatmeal in muffin cups, which is SUCH a good idea. So why didn’t I do that? Ben. I asked his opinion and he thought it would be easier to just make a big pan of it. So that’s what I did. I also was nearly out of regular size muffin liners, and I never have luck greasing my muffin tin. She also used strawberries and peanut butter chips in her baked oatmeal, neither of which I had. So I used bananas and cinnamon chips and OH MY GOODNESS was that an awesome combination. I usually am not a banana oatmeal kinda girl but you can’t even taste it in this, especially if you mash up the banana really well. The cinnamon chips just add SO much flavor and little bursts of sweet cinnamon goodness. Later in the summer you can bet I’ll try that chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter combination though… it sounds incredible, like a jacked up peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal | thepajamachef.com

Before this, I was a newbie to chocolate baked oatmeal–usually I just make this plain version from my summer camp counselor days, and add my own toppings, but from now on I will be tempted to make this delightful chocolate version. Hope you enjoy as much as we did, and be sure to check out Elizabeth’s blog for more yummy recipes!

one year ago: Club Soda Waffles
two years ago: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
three years ago: Salsas for Cinco de Mayo

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal [adapted from Food Ramblings]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk [I used skim]
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon chips, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray, or line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, bananas, and maple syrup. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then stir in half of the cinnamon chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan and top with remaining cinnamon chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. [If baking in a muffin tin, bake for 20-25 minutes]. Serve warm, adding milk or yogurt if desired.

Time: 45 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

 

Please check out all the other fabulous recipes from my SRC pals here:

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I know people have been on the sweet and salty dessert kick for awhile, but it’s taken me some time to get on board. If you’ve read my blog for awhile you may have noticed that I don’t put salt in many of my recipes. My mom doesn’t either, and hasn’t really ever, so I’m super sensitive to salt. But in these Oatmeal Fudge Bars, the salt is what makes them GREAT! Picture a gooey, fudgy, peanut buttery layer surrounded by a hearty, soft oatmeal-based crust with just a hint of salt to balance the sweetness, and you have these bars. If you don’t have these bars, you’re missing out, so you should make them, stat. They are a perfect way to celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day today too!

Oatmeal Fudge Bars | thepajamachef.com

These bars are a bit finicky to make, but their sweet-salty goodness makes them well worth the effort! Mind you, when I say these bars are “finicky” I mean you have to make and bake the crust, wait for it to cool, then add the filling and the topping. So really, not too complicated… but an extra step or two and a bit of time.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars | thepajamachef.com

They are so fudgy and rich that just a small, warm slice is perfectly satisfying. Because I ran out of chocolate chips [I knowwww] while making them, I used some peanut butter chips too. You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, can you? Enjoy!

one year ago: Neely’s Lemon Pasta Salad
two years ago: Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken
three years ago: Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops with Pineapple and Coconut Toasted Rice

Oatmeal Fudge Bars [from Carpe Season]
click to print

Ingredients:

for crust/topping

  • 1 cup oats [original recipe suggested quick oats, I used old-fashioned]
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose]
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

for filling

  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose]
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips [or can use all chocolate chips], divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 square baking dish with foil and grease thoroughly.

In a medium bowl,  prepare the crust/topping. Whisk together oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour in melted butter, then stir to combine.

Save 3/4 cup of this mixture for the topping, then press the rest evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake crust for 8-9 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cool completely [can refrigerate pan for 20-25 minutes to speed process up, if desired].

As crust cools, prepare the filling.

Stir together flour, brown sugar, instant coffee, and salt in a bowl. You can use the crust bowl, wiped out with a paper towel, if desired. When crust is cool, melt 1/2 cup chocolate and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips together with the butter in a bowl in the microwave in 20 second increments, for a total of about a minute. Stir in between each microwave session.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. When chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, pour chocolate into the egg and whisk constantly so as to not cook the egg. Pour egg/chocolate into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork to combine. Mixture will be thick–like icing.

Spoon the filling over the cooled crust. Don’t worry if crust isn’t completely covered. Sprinkle reserved topping over chocolate mixture, then top with reserved chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Bars are done when filling starts to pull away from the sides of pan.

Cool bars for 30 minutes before removing from pan with foil, then cut into bars and serve.

Store in the fridge for best results.

Time: 2 hours [30 minutes active].

Yield: 16 servings.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

My sister made these AWESOME cookie bars for our family this Valentine’s Day, along with some red velvet brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Aren’t they cute? They taste just as good as they look, so after my first bite I asked Kathleen for the recipe and made them on Friday. I think it just might become a new Friday tradition.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | thepajamachef.com

Strawberries and chocolate are a classic combo–one of my faves [the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blizzard is my go-to at DQ], so it was no surprise that I loved these cookie bars. I’m usually a homemade-only kinda baker/chef, as you know, but the use of strawberry cake mix is absolutely essential in these cookie bars. I’m sure you can make a good strawberry cake somehow, but all my tries at the homemade variety have been flops. And let’s face it–the store bought box is so easy and so delicious. I served these uber pink bars for a church small group game night, and everyone loved them. Fortunately there were a few leftover so I could snap a quick photo for you! :)

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | thepajamachef.com

I know that I’ll definitely be looking for any excuse to make these pretty pink cookie bars in the future. A little girl’s birthday party [or a big girl's...:)], Valentine’s Day, or just an average Friday are just three of the instances that come to mind. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! So happy my sister decided to share them with us. You should definitely check out her blog cause it’s pretty fab. :)

one year ago: Asian Peanut Veggie Dip
two years ago: Spicy Sausage, Chicken, & Bean Stew
three years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars [adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction and my Funfetti Cookies]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix [Pillsbury 15.25 ounces OR Duncan Hines 18.25 ounces]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup canola oil [for Pillsbury] or 1/3 cup canola oil [for Duncan Hines]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix and baking powder. In a measuring cup, whisk together oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips. Dough will be oily and very thick.

Press dough into prepared pan, then bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool before cutting into bars.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 16 servings.