Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Bars


Hello friends!

I think lately I’ve been baking as a form of procrastination. I have a lot of school work to do, and I don’t always want to do it. (But I always get it done, don’t worry!) Every once in a while, lately on weekends, I’ve been deciding to bake up a storm. These sugar cookie bars came about on a bit of a whim, and I’m so glad they did!


Chocolate and mint is not for everyone, but Paul and I are huge fans! The nice thing about these bars is they don’t take very long to mix up. Call me a simple woman, but I’m all about things that don’t have me spending all day in the kitchen. (I love those recipes too, but I need to be in the mood to make them!)

I found the original recipe here, and while I didn’t have Andes mint bars, I decided to top them off with chocolate chips, because why not. If you are a fan of chocolate and mint together, I guarantee these will hit the spot!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 24 bars

For the cookie base:

½ c. butter, softened
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
2 c. flour
½ c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the mint frosting:

½ c. butter, softened
½ tsp. mint extract
6 tbsp. heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
4 c. icing sugar
green food colouring (optional)
mint chips/chocolate chips (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until combined. Add in egg, vanilla and milk. Beat again.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine evenly. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until a cohesive dough is formed.

Press dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 14-15 minutes. Do not overbake.

Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, mint extract, and heavy cream together until smooth and fluffy. Add in the salt, icing sugar, and food colouring and beat until smooth and creamy.

Spread over cooled bars and garnish as desired. Slice into squares and serve!

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Fresh Mint Ice Cream

So, on the subject of lots of leftovers from the wedding, we also had TONS of mint leftover from our Blackberry Mojitos. I made pie with the blackberries, but Paul and I had so much mint left over that we were struggling to figure out what to do with it.
We chopped some of it up fresh, and Paul made us some lamb burgers with mint. We dried some of it out, so we have a store of dried mint if we ever need it. Paul also pureed some with oil, so we have a stash of mint oil in our cupboard now. Finally, I made him save me some fresh mint, and I went on the hunt for another recipe. When the idea of ice cream came to me with fresh mint, I immediately turned to Annie’s Eats, then to Pinterest.

I didn’t have to look far on the Annie’s Eats website, and ended up not using Pinterest at all. Annie’s recipe is absolutely fantastic! It is simple, uses mostly ingredients you should have on hand (I had to run out for some cream cheese and cream, but I usually have those things with me), but it does take some time.

Once you create the ice cream base, you add the mint in, and let it steep. The longer you steep it, the more intense the mint flavour. Annie recommends steeping for 4-12 hours. We steeped the mint in the ice cream base for about 12-16 hours, and as a result, the base smelled so wonderfully minty.

One final note – Paul and I have been experimenting with ice cream for a while now. Most recipes call for heavy cream. The recipes we first tried we used heavy cream, and we found the ice cream left a bit of a film in our mouths. Not the worst thing, but it just made it slightly weird to eat it. We have found, however, that using half-and-half cream solves that problem. This change is reflected in my ingredients below, but the link for Annie’s original recipe is above. Enjoy this ice cream!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 1 quart

2 c. milk, divided
4 tsp. cornstarch
1¼ c. half-and-half cream
Pinch of fine sea salt
2/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1½ oz. (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
Large handful of mint leaves, roughly torn

In a medium, heatproof mixing bowl, tear the mint roughly and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. milk and the cornstarch into a slurry. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remainder of the milk, the cream, salt, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cornstarch slurry until smooth. Return the pan to the heat, then continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and whisk in the softened cream cheese until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into the mixing bowl with the mint, stir to cover the mint with the mixture.

Place in the refrigerator and let the mint steep between 4-16 hours. The longer you let the mint steep, the stronger the mint flavour.

After the mixture has steeped, strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the mint leaves. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once frozen, transfer to a container and transfer to the freezer.