My dear friends the Koppenhofers throw KooperBowl every year as a cooking contest centered on a particular ingredient while we watch the silly commercials. There’s also rumors of some football game going on, but no one pays attention to it except my son.
I won second place this year despite the bizarre theme of “bugs.” Now, nobody actually wants to eat bugs. Except that one guy, we don’t talk to him. But honey counts – it’s made by bees. So did the cake made to look like a ladybug and “dirt” trifle with gummy earthworms.
My entry was “grasshopper brownies,” for which I reviewed dozens of recipes. Many of them required a frozen layer or were for the actual grasshopper drink, and while I’m not opposed to buying a bottle of creme de menthe just for this experiment, I did not have time as last weekend was also our first quarterly book sale at St. Andrews.
Some folks requested it, so here is the grasshopper brownie recipe using Andes Mints that came in second place for the KooperBowl contest. I used a half-teaspoon of peppermint extract in the ganache; I would have preferred to use a sweeter spearmint, but did not have any on hand. Note that when mixed, the batter barely seems like enough cover the bottom of the pan, but made a decent if narrow layer. Next time I might use Andes chopped bits to save Jim the trial of unwrapping all those little candies and snapping them in half, especially since he engaged in a little quality control.
Also note that I chilled the brownies to make the ganache set faster, but they do not have to be refrigerated and the chilling made the mints temporarily turn a chalky color (but did not influence taste). The brownie layer turned out sufficiently moist, aided by the Andes mints throughout, and the ganache was thick and rich. Andes chopped bits rather than snapped candies might also have improved the presentation of the final brownie.
Note: my brownie spatula was sufficient for cutting these brownies. This is always a concern ever since some horrid Philistine completely ruined one of my good aluminum cake pans by using a metal spatula with enough force to destroy Wolverine’s claws. Do not mess with a baker and her pans.
The recipe I had intended to make would have taken many more hours or overnight, and that wasn’t happening on a book sale weekend. It intrigued me as a brownie recipe with both cocoa powder and solid chocolate, as well as the use of brown sugar, which I have not seen in a brownie recipe before. Note that it uses a butter-and-chocolate layer in place of the ganache for the top, and does not use Andes Mints but relies on extracts for the mint flavor.
Finally, the other rejected dessert waiting in the wings is a grasshopper cake with layers of chocolate cake, a chocolate ganache filling and layers of mint frosting flavored with creme de menthe and peppermint extract. It also incorporates dark brown sugar and uses black cocoa powder, which I acquired some time ago and have been searching for a proper use. This is much too complex for a quick dessert, but I very well may make it for myself on my birthday!