These exquisite chocolate mint sticks are little slices of perfection! Imagine a chewy chocolate mint brownie, topped with a layer of mint icing and a thin chocolate glaze. Perfect for a holiday dessert tray or for snacking anytime.
There’s a reason why these bars are called exquisite mint sticks, because they certainly are exquisite little bites of peppermint-y perfection.
I’m surprised that I don’t find these little brownie bars featured by current food bloggers. I didn’t invent them… growing up, this recipe was a standard in my mom’s dessert collection, one that we looked forward to whenever we could motivate her to bake them. The recipe was cut from a magazine or newspaper (I can’t remember which) and was yellowed with tape and age from continued use. The recipe is from the late 1950’s or early 1960’s, I believe, and proudly stated that the enterprising home cook could probably sell the entire pan of exquisite chocolate mint sticks for fifty cents! Just think. That gives us a commentary on inflation, wouldn’t you say?
And when was the last time you heard anyone describe a dessert brownie bar as “exquisite?” I love that descriptive, because they truly are… they’re not over the top gooey, decadent or too rich. They’re elegant and did I mention, exquisitely perfect?
Once a pan of these was ready in our household, there was no way on earth we would have agreed to sell them off! A favorite in our family, we counted on them to be present for many happy occasions… in fact, when Jay and I got married, my sister even graced us with a batch of exquisite mint sticks for a family dinner that followed our afternoon wedding. Naturally, we all devoured them with pleasure 🙂
(BTW, my other sister made some amaaaazing mini-pecan pies for the occasion… another family favorite recipe… I don’t have access to pecans these days, so that recipe will have to wait for another time, more’s the pity…)
But, I’ve always been partial to the combination of mint and chocolate desserts, in whatever forms chocolate and mint can take. If something contains mint and chocolate, it will probably be a winner for me.
This recipe is not difficult at all… there are just a few tips you need to follow and then you will be facing your own pan of exquisite mint yumminess!
Let’s Make Some Exquisite Chocolate Mint Sticks
The brownie base is not a deep dark brownie… rather, it is an in-between-cake-and-brownie bar. The batter mixes up easily and is then baked at 350 degrees.
The key is that you don’t bake the brownies until they appear totally cooked. If you wait until a testing stick comes out clean, you have gone too far and the brownies will be dry. So, you have to keep a mindful eye and check them before you think they are done, with a few crumbs or stickiness remaining on your tester. The result will be a somewhat chewy chocolate brownie-cake.
While the brownies are baking, you mix up the mint filling layer, which is also easy – just confectioners sugar and butter, with peppermint extract and a splash of cream. The filling needs to be spreadable, but not too soft.
I always cool the brownies on the kitchen counter and do not refrigerate them to cool. (I’ll explain why later.)
Once the brownies are cooled, you’ll spread the white mint filling over the brownie layer. I usually press it in with my fingers and then use the back of a spoon to smooth out all of the finger impressions. The layer is thin and needs to be as smooth as possible so the chocolate topping will flow over the filling and not get stuck and puddle up.
The brownies rest in the refrigerator long enough for the filling layer to chill. The filling layer has to be cold because if not, the warm chocolate that you drizzle and smooth over it for the final layer will melt the frosting and then you will have a muddy smudged layer, which is not pretty! It would still taste wonderful, but would not be exquisite. 😉
When the white filling layer on the brownies is cold enough, you melt butter and unsweetened chocolate on low heat on the stove and then immediately drizzle/spread the chocolate over the filling. You have to work quickly or the chocolate will chill up and become unspreadable. Over the years, I have struggled with the amount of chocolate listed in the original recipe and never seemed to have quite enough to cover the filling, so I have increased the chocolate a bit.
Don’t be tempted to make a thick layer of chocolate, though, as it is unsweetened and needs to be just a very thin layer to complement the sweet minty filling layer. With my instructions, you may have a tiny bit of left over melted chocolate, but better too much than too little!
Now the bars are returned to the refrigerator to harden up just enough to cut them easily without the chocolate smearing. After 5-10 minutes you can check them. I have found that it is best to cut these bars as soon as the chocolate layer is firm, while the brownie layer is still somewhat soft. I’ve left them in the fridge uncut in the pan overnight before and they were a bit difficult to cut the next day, so avoid doing that if you can.
You’ll be delighted with how many cute little exquisite mint sticks you get from one 9” X 9” pan! You should get about 48 2 1/4″ x ¾” sticks, although I usually end up cutting them a bit bigger, so I get between 30-40… you decide! I’ve often used a bench scraper to cut them and that helps me to get the rows even.
Note: the original recipe calls for a greased baking pan… but if you usually flour your pans, you can use cocoa powder instead of flour to avoid white floury bottoms on the bars. Although the first bar might be tricky to get out of the pan, the rest of the bars come out quite easily.
If you have never had exquisite chocolate mint sticks, and you love chocolate and mint, you are in for a happy surprise. I hope you try this recipe and I hope you love them as much as I do… and if you market your baked goods, and want to sell these beauties, I’m sure you will get quite a bit more than fifty cents for your efforts! 🙂
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Exquisite Chocolate Mint Sticks
For the Bars:
- 2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate
- ½ cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ cup sifted flour
- dash salt
For the filling:
- 2 TBSP soft butter
- 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
- 1 TBSP cream or milk
- ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
For the Glaze:
- 1+ square (1+ oz) unsweetened chocolate
- 1 TBSP butter more if needed to make spreadable
For the Bars:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" cake pan
- Melt chocolate and butter together on very low heat, then remove pot from stove
- Add sugar and peppermint extract to the chocolate mixture
- Beat eggs until frothy and stir into chocolate mixture
- Add flour and salt and mix thoroughly.
- Pour into greased baking pan and bake approximately 20 minutes. I always check at 15 minutes because you don't want to overcook these brownies! A toothpick tester should come out with a bit of crumb on it – don't wait for a dry tester stick!
- Remove from oven and cool.
- While brownies are cooling, mix together the butter and confectioners sugar for the filling, along with cream (or milk) and peppermint extract
- When brownies are cool, spread top with a thin coating of the filling. Be sure to make the layer flat and smooth with the back of a spoon if needed so the chocolate glaze will spread easily for finishing.
- Refrigerate brownies until filling is set; approx. 15 minutes
- Melt the butter and chocolate for the top glaze over very low heat, stirring constantly. When butter and chocolate are thoroughly melted together, drizzle the glaze over the filling layer of the brownies. You may have to tilt the pan back and forth and spread chocolate with the back of a spoon. Work quickly to spread evenly over the white filling layer.
- Refrigerate at least 10 minutes until set. Cut into strips 2 ¼ inches long and ¾ inches wide. At these proportions, you will get 48 sticks.