May 12, 2009

'twas mint to be

Brownies are a fickle, fickle beast. Overbake them just a minute and they become dry and crumbly and completely unappetizing. Take them out too soon and they're doughy and sticky and gross.


However, it's totally worth the trouble if you can get 'em just right.

I'm happy to report that the beauties were just right. I've done brownies before--one batch with a layer of mint, one batch with a regular ol' cream cheese swirl, another batch with a peanut butter portion, and a sourdough batch that ended up more cakelike than anything else.


This batch sort of combines two of those--it's a mint chocolate brownie with a hint-o'-mint cream cheese swirl, and it is DECADENT. I'll go ahead and state it--it's the best brownie I've put into my mouth to date. They're moist and fudgy, with that fabulous and somewhat unexpected tang from the cream cheese and a delicate and subtle minty flavor.


On top of all that, I happen to think that swirled brownies are among the most beautiful of all desserts, and that's saying a lot. There's something about the contrast of black and white in a random yet decorative pattern of twists and turns that I really enjoy.


I'm most excited when an inadvertent heart forms, but I'm sappy like that.

Mint Swirl Brownies
(adapted from this recipe)

6 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 ounces mint chocolate, chopped (I used Hershey's Extra Dark Pure Mint)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
5 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square pan with non-stick spray or grease lightly.
Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave or over low heat, stirring until smooth. Beat in the sugar and eggs. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, then add in the vanilla. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and mint extract until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set. Let cool, then cut the brownies into squares, rectangles, hearts, what-have-you.


By the way, have you seen these? Not only are they colorful, they're extremely handy. I love the fact that you can squish them into a pour-friendly shape. (Bonus: You can get in a forearm workout while your goodies are baking.)


I'd been eying them for awhile when Jenna from KaTom Restaurant Supply offered to send them to me in return for a review. Here's my review: They're an awesome kitchen tool. Get some for yourself immediately. Incidentally, KaTom also offers a plethora of other items, from hand-held burger presses and ice sculpture molds to pancake apparatuses (apparati?) and pizza peels. It's a site worth perusing (and using), to be sure!

67 comments:

Julia said...

Those brownies do look good! And mint is perfect!

And I can totally see how you would be eying those bowls. They look so handy!

Penny said...

Now - I HAVE to make these brownies. They sound perfect. And I'll look for hearts in the swirls.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

I like the addition of mint.

Albany Jane said...

*swoon*

Oh no! I seem to have fainted.

I think a brownie might rouse me.

:D

kat said...

Ok those are brownies on steriods!

lisaiscooking said...

Now, this woke me up this morning! Plain brownies are just ok, mint too is ok, but cream cheese mint is another story all together. These look great!

OhioMom said...

Mint chocolate .. YUM!

Baking Monster said...

trust me my belly was bursting too. :) these look so good!as if brownies are heavenly enough these look awesome.

Culinary Wannabe said...

The brownies look so over the top! Cream cheese and mint - no way you can go wrong!

Dawn said...

little bit of everything in these gems eh?
Mint brownies with mint ice cream will get me in the fetal position. LOL!

Jeff said...

Mint, cream cheese, and chocolate??? Fainting because I have died and gone to heaven.

Nicely done and they look amazing!

I prefer my brownies to be more chewy because I think it goes better with milk.

Aleta said...

Greg asked me to ask you for a special request please. He absolutely, positive, most favorite thing in the world (when it comes to food) is brownies.

But... he's diabetic.

Do you have any diabetic recipes for deserts? Oh please help!

LilSis said...

Now those are some beautiful brownies! I'm sappy, too, so I love the surprise heart shapes!

oneordinaryday said...

I'm a fan of cream cheese brownies from when I was growing up. I think they're my favorite dessert that my mom made us. But with added mint?! You're a genius.
Michelle

Pam said...

Oooh. My mint loving husband would really dig these. Love the accidental heart.

The Blonde Duck said...

What about peanut butter cream cheese? Oh, wuffle of all wuffles!

giz said...

The swirls make them look so whimsical and I got a little flutter from the heart. Very cool.

doggybloggy said...

you are killing me! these look and sound great and there is mint!

Donna-FFW said...

Oh all of my favorite flavors wrapped into one delicious brownie. Nicely done.

Sophie said...

Indeed, cream cheese combined with mint souds so lovely!! & those yummieness of brownies added too equals pure lovelyness!! Great dessert!!

Melanie said...

Cream cheese and mint? That's a combo I've never had but the brownies look delicious. And I'm loving the squishy-bowl-slash-forearm-workout-thingy. Cool.

Bridgett said...

Ooh, mint! You just made them perfect, in my opinion!

pigpigscorner said...

I can't wait to make some brownies now!

Marjie said...

Apparatus, singular. Apparatuses, plural. Strange but true.

Brownies appear every Tuesday here. These may be in the cards soon!

Stacey said...

Ohh, my! Those look beyond amazing! Especially with the mint! I must try this recipe! :)

Love your blog!

Heather said...

ohhhh. that bowl looks AMAZING! I can think of so many uses for it. And those brownies. there are no words to describe how delicious they look!

Risa said...

Wow! These look incredible! I can not wait to try them.

Sharon said...

Look at that swirl go! You're a genius!

Shelly said...

Chocolate AND mint? One of my fave combos. I can see myself eating way too many of these. They look and sound delicious!

unconfidential cook said...

These look impossibly good!

Laura said...

Oh wowzers I bet these are GOOD. My 2 favorite brownie variations in ONE.

dessertobsessed said...

the best brownies you've put in your mouth to date?! wow!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I wouldn't have picked you for a sappy heart lover! ;) That's totally me though. And I like a challenge in a brownie!

Lori said...

Love the mint. Love that brownie, it looks amazing. I love the swirls too.

So funny the other day I sprayed some cleaner on a paper towel and a heart formed. I thought about taking a picture but then thought ok I think I might be the only one who would appreciate this. I was wrong.

Jacque said...

Ah, now why'd you have to go and post these?!?? I was doing so well on my diet....

YUM!!

Peter M said...

Here I am...looking for tasty treats and some sappy sentiment from YOU! lol

I leave satiated. ;)

Lindsey said...

Mint and cream cheese? Sign me up! These look fabulous!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Mint brownies oh my goodness these look so gorgeous!

Maryann said...

They do look awesome :)

noble pig said...

Now isn't that a clever, clever title. I love mint and brownie, this sounds fabulous Miss Grace!

And I never knew I wanted an ice sculpture mold until you mentioned it. I need one, I wonder if they have a pig...hmmm.

Lynda said...

These sound delicious and look perfect! Brownies are among my favorite food groups!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

If these taste anything like Black Bottom Cupcakes (with cream cheese), they will be a real winner! Looks absolutely delicious! Nice job.

Lisa said...

I made brownies yesterday, with cream cheese frosting, and seriously considered adding mint to the mix. These sound great! I hope to try your version soon.

Julia from Dozen Flours said...

I'm singing the "Yum Yum Song" here at my desk... c'mon, sing along.. you know the words... "Yum, yum, yum! Yum, Yum, Yum! YUM!"

;b

Pam said...

Brownies are my weakness. There is no feeling full with brownies. I eat them until they're gone.

eatme_delicious said...

Ooo I'd like one please!

Lexie said...

These brownies look amazing!!!! Maybe I will try making some this weekend!

Hornsfan said...

These look delicious - a hint 'o mint is just perfection!

Half Baked said...

I've had tons of swirl brownies but never with mint...Awesome! Cool bowl too I've got to get one of those.

Juliana said...

WOW, this brownies sound very interesting...with mint, never could imagine. The pictures look so yummie, feel like having a bite :-) By the way, thank you so much for visiting my site.

Selba said...

Love brownies... and with the mints, that's sounds so good.

Helene said...

I take my brownies out early to make sure they are still soft in the center. I don't like overcook brownies. Sometimes in potluck some girls will bring the overcook one and I can't eat it. Those are gorgeous.

KJ said...

I agree, to be good brownies have to meet certain criteria. My pet hate is chocolate cake that is passing itself off as a brownie. It should be illegal..or something.

Emily said...

Chocolate and mint is a match made in heaven. They look decadent.

Look at that hidden heart! What a good eye you have.

Cool bowls.

alexandra said...

Oh wow. Mint, chocolate AND cream cheese?! These sound heavenly. And they really do look like the perfect texture.

mikky said...

and they look so moist too... yum... :)

Gloria said...

They look wonderful Grace, so nice!!! xGloria

Amanda @ Mrs.W's Kitchen said...

I'm embarassed to admit that I've never, ever made brownies from scratch. I should be flogged.

I, too, love them cream-cheesy and swirled. The. Best.

MaryBeth said...

A mint brownie.... You are killing me little lady. I could eat the whole pan myself.

Jaime said...

i am jealous of your beautiful swirl! i've only marbled a few times and it has never been that pretty!

Veronica said...

Looks like you really got the texture right on..minty..mmm.

Deborah said...

that swirl is beautiful! And they sound as delicious as they look.

Baking Monster said...

thanks grace and I din't even realize till now that I copied you. your brownies look a lot more professional though,I dont think my can even compete.

Jenna said...

Awww!! Thanks so much for the awesome review. So glad you liked the bowls and our site. The brownies look fab too. I want. Now.

I'll keep in touch for sure.

Tiffany said...

Wow, those bowls look amazingly handy! Are those the iSi flexible bowls? I have been researching them, and desperately need some.

foodhoe said...

beautiful swirlies on that last brownie... now where am I going to be able to find a nice mint chocolate cheesecake brownie around here for lunch?

kimberleyblue said...

These are the perfect brownies. Could they get any better? They have everything I love...I have to make these, and soon.