By last week, and following my recent success of adding toffees to biscuits and cake, I had decided to use some sort of mint sweet, but couldn't decide which might work best. My plan was to take a trip to the sweet shop and peruse the shelves for inspiration, but I didn't actually get that far. As is often the case, inspiration arrived on the web just when I needed it most..........
It seems that a number of lucky bloggers out there have been receiving promotional boxes of After Eight Mints from Nestle, who have asked them to come up with recipes in which to use them. I sadly am not one of those bloggers!
I'm not jealous at all................. no really.................. Actually, I am grateful to all of them. As soon as I started reading about all the After Eight inventions, I realised immediately that After Eights were exactly the right sweet to use in my brownies! Soft, gooey, a deep cold minty kiss............ bound to melt and mingle into the brownie sponge. The perfect enhancement to chocolate squidge.
I did have a couple of attempts at getting this recipe right. The first batch ended up way too gooey. Delicious yes, but I was spooning it off the bottom of the tray. Shame is was so disastrous. But not wanting it to go to waste, I have had to eat it myself (well............. it wouldn't have been fair to inflict it on anyone else).
With the need for a bit of a tweak, I added a little more flour and a little less sugar and hey presto........the most delectable gluten free, minty chocolate brownies were born!
These moist chunks of heaven have a perfectly chewy, yet firm texture. They are not too sweet, are very chocolatey and have a cooling hint of mint which is most definitely present, but not too over-powering. Yum! I am thrilled with them. Chocolate + mint + brownie...... What's not to like?
The After Eights worked really well (although if you can't get them where you live, an alternative soft or liquidy mint fondant sweet is definitely worth a try).
I reckon they make a perfect, prepare-ahead-of-time plate of Christmassy treats to either take to a party or enjoy at home. So I am sharing them with two challenges this month..........
Treat Petite, with December's 'Happy Holidays' theme, being hosted by Stuart at Cakeyboi (who shares the challenge with Kat at The Baking Explorer)
And Four Seasons Food hosted this month by Anneli at Delicieux (who co-hosts with Louisa at Eat Your Veg). December's theme is a very Christmassy 'Party Food'.
I think Christmas and holidays are definitely an excuse to eat lots of treats and are absolutely the right time to scoff brownies.................
Minty Chocolate Brownies - gluten free
200g good quality dark chocolate
200g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
120g golden caster sugar
110g soft brown sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
160g plain gluten free flour blend (I used mix A from this post)
30g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
130g After Eight Mints - cut into very small pieces
- Base-line a square baking tin (23 x 23 cm/9 x 9 inches) with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- In a medium sized bowl, weigh and mix the flour, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside
- In a heat-proof glass bowl, melt the chocolate with the butter (either by steaming the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on 30 second bursts) stirring frequently. Make sure the chocolate mix is well blended and smooth.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugars and vanilla for 3 to 5 minutes until pale, thick and creamy.
- Add the melted chocolate mix and beat thoroughly.
- Add the dry ingredients and carefully fold in until just combined.
- Finally fold in the After Eight Mint pieces until evenly distributed.
- Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 160 C/140 F/Gas 3 and continue to bake for a further 30 minutes. The brownie should be well risen and even on top.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
- Once cool, remove from the tin and cut into individual squares.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated