Monday, October 10, 2005
Mondays with Maida - Chocolate Mint Sticks
Page 80 in the old book / page 126 in the new book
I thought these were fantastic, but not everyone agreed with me. If there's one thing I've learned in my cookie project thus far, it's that people may be open to trying all kinds of new cookies, but don't mess with their brownies! More than any other cookie, people seem to have strong opinions on what is and is not acceptable in a brownie. This week's cookie is a basic brownie recipe topped with a thin peppermint icing and a bitter chocolate glaze, a combination that proved to be surprisingly controversial.
The base for this cookie was nearly identical to the All-American Brownie from a few weeks ago. The differences in the recipe were in technique rather than ingredients, and I assume the objective was to obtain a firmer and/or cakier brownie. The eggs are beaten, the dough is spread more thinly in a slightly larger pan, and the brownies are baked a few minutes longer. The brownies still come out moist and fudgy, just not to the same degree as the others.
This cookie has a great base, but what really makes it special are the toppings - a very thin layer of mint icing and then a thin layer of bitter chocolate glaze. The bitter chocolate glaze is simply melted unsweetened chocolate and butter mixed together. I was surprised that an unsweetened icing was used, but it works. Actually, it's brilliant. The two toppings create a perfect balance of sweetness. The use of very thin layers of both toppings is perfect and shows admirable restraint. This is a recipe I will certainly make again and again.
I thought chocolate and mint was a universally liked flavor pairing, but turns out I was wrong...
Suzanne: "I'm really not fond of chocolate and mint together. I also prefer a brownie without icing. I tasted the icing and mint flavor over the brownie. Since it was chocolate I'm rating this as a 3.5. Rating - 3.5"
Terri: "These are rich brownies with the perfect icing combination - bitter chocolate glaze with peppermint. The walnuts add just the right amount of "crunchiness". One doesn't need more than 2 at a time! Although it's hard to stop eating this great brownie. My favorite in this book. Rating - 5.0"
Laura: "I like mint, I like chocolate, I like walnuts. However, I don't really care for mint and frosting in my brownies. Tasty Mint Chocolate Sticks, but not my thing. Rating - 3.0"
Phil: "Poorly named, but otherwise a delightful and attractive surprise. While this palate is not usually stirred by mint, pleasantly surprised to discover what a nudge of mint can do to enliven the taste buds to another delectable brownie. Rating - 4.7"
Overall rating by the panel - 4.1
Next week - Dutch Chocolate Bars