Cooking Lesson the first: Junior Mint Brownies!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Alright friends, the day has come. I love to bake. It fills my heart and stomach with several different levels of happiness. I love to take a recipe and tinker with it until it's mine and I can claim ownership over whatever changes I've made (I like to call them improvements, but I realize that people might take offense to that). I never leave a recipe alone and I almost never make it the same way twice until I'm completely satisfied with it. This one, I am satisfied with.

Today's recipe is for Junior Mint Brownies. They are technically based from a low fat recipe, and though I've made modifications, I think they're pretty much still not too bad, especially for brownies.

Your ingredients:

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Junior Mints
Baking soda
Unsweetened cocoa
Large egg
Large egg white

I would expect that aside from the Junior Mints, few of these aren't already living in your pantry. But just as a word of advice, don't store your baking soda under your broken container of honey, or it might end up looking like this. Note that even if it looks like this, it's totally still usable.

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Alright, onto the good stuff. Put the butter and one box of Jr. Mints into a microwaveable bowl and microwave for about a minute to melt. Stir them together. Butter and Jr. Mints will not want to mix initially, but don't give up (use a fork, it's better), it'll be worth it. And when it's completely combined, it'll look like this:

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Set it aside to cool, you don't need it just yet. Try to refrain from eating it, but only because right now it'll burn the crap out of your mouth. Not that I know that or anything, I'm just guessing.

Now, combine your flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. It need not be this big of a bowl, I just couldn't find a smaller one. No real mixing will occur in this bowl.

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In a new mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, egg and egg white (and vanilla if you're so inclined). A trick I'm sure most of you know- for separating an egg yolk from an egg white, break the egg in half and alternate sliding the yolk back and forth between the halves. I'm trying to demonstrate it here, but with one hand to take pictures it's somewhat more complicated.

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If you have a mixer, let this do the work for you. If you have two kitchen aids, then you can just let one of them look pretty while you use the other.

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Ahem, anyway, mix by mixer or hand until it's combined and looks a little like this. Well, you'll want to scrape that cocoa on the sides in, but you get the idea.

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Now add that wonderful mint/butter concoction you've set aside into the cocoa mixture. Definitely don't leave a little behind in the bowl to lick later. I mean, that would be a little uncouth.

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Now mix until just combined.

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Add the flour mixture, but only mix (or let it mix) for like 5-10 seconds. You don't even want to fully combine everything, just introduce the wet and dry ingredients together.

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This step you can do before, but I never remember to, so I just pause and go do this. You're probably wondering what the extra box of Jr. Mints was for, huh? Here's what I do. I take the box and spread them out on a chopping board. I then take a steak knife, and while trying not to slice my fingers off, I chop up the Jr. Mints roughly. You don't have to do this, but I don't want a gigantic Jr. Mint lump in my brownies, but I do like smaller gooey chunks. It's up to you. Frankly, you don't have to put extra ones in period, but you'll regret it if you don't.

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Now add the chopped jr. mints to the partially combined mixture. Or if you're me, add them to the partially combined mixture and all over the counter. It's a good thing we don't have a bug problem in my house.

And now mix again, but just until combined. You never ever want to overmix anything with flour in it. The flour has a component in it, where, if you over beat it, it gets tough. And no one wants a tough brownie.

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So now, pour this mixture into an 8x8 pan you've sprayed with cooking spray. My pan sucked enormously, so seriously, don't use this kind of pan, but any metal or glass one one will do. Spread the batter out so that it covers evenly, and make sure and scrape out the bowl, but you know, leaving just enough to snack on later.

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Pop this into a preheated 350 degree oven. Now, here's where it becomes tricky for me to impart wisdom. I set timers and then ignore them. I would set the timer for 20 minutes with the knowledge that it's going to be more like 25. You want a toothpick to come out clean, but you don't want to overbake them either. I prefer mine to be a little fudgey, but my stupid pan definitely changed my cooking time. Darker pans typically take less time to cook in, but that's why you set the 20 minute timer, you can gauge the doneness that way. So somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes and they'll look something like this

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Only yours might not be missing a chunk of the edge. I don't for the life of me know how that happened. It definitely wasn't because I don't have any self-control. Definitely not. Let them cool a little (as long as you can stand) and then serve. I've been storing mine uncovered (risky in the cockroach house, I realize) and they're still moist, so you're not likely to mess these up too much with your storage method. That is assuming that you don't just eat all of them in one sitting, which I promise you, you will be compelled to do.


Junior Mint Brownies (recipe originally stolen from Cooking Light Magazine)

1/4 cup butter
2 boxes Junior Mints (I think they're 4.5oz boxes)
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 egg white

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray bottom of 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
2. Put butter and one box of junior mints in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 45-60 seconds to melt. Mix until well combined and then set aside.
3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Combine sugar, cocoa, vanilla, egg and egg white. Mix until it's an even color and consistency.
5. Add melted chocolate to the cocoa/egg mixture. Mix until everything is combined.
6. Add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture, mix only for 5-10 seconds, just to barely start combining them together.
7. Roughly chop up the remaining box of Junior Mints (or don't, it's optional) and throw them into the barely combined mixture and mix for another 5-10 seconds, it's okay if there are lumps, just mix until the flour is just mixed in.
8. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan. Spread so it's even and pop in the oven. Bake for between 20 and 30 minutes, depending up on the pan. Dark pans will bake faster, flimsy plastic bakeware will take a lifetime. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.


lace1070 said...

YUM! Those look awesome ~ will have to try baking them ~ Lacec

Anonymous said...

Junior Mints--they're very refreshing!

Robin D said...

ooh, thanks! I bookmarked this page for my next brownie-baking urge

Daisy, Just Daisy said...


Kate said...

Umm WOW!!! Those look amazing. We don;t have Junior Mints so I'll just have to dream!

kim-d said...

Oooh, num! But what I really like is the box your butter comes in. That's really cool.

Yes, I know...complete dork is what I am. I just like stuff like that!

Anonymous said...

Love Junior Mints! And an excuse to use my KitchenAid!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gahhhh. Those look so delicious. MUST EAT NOW.

(found you via one of the many incarnations of the DGM links o' love project)

Anonymous said...

We got home late last night & I was thinking about my mom when I got on the computer. Junior Mints were her absolute favorite. I think I'm gonna be making these. Thanks, Katie. I will consider your recipe as a Mother's Day gift. You couldn't have timed this better.