Mint Grasshopper Brownies

For my first two years of college I lived on campus, which meant living off dining hall food. For the most part this was just fine because we had unlimited eating and entries, and a pretty wide variety of things to eat. I’ll admit some things were less edible than others and the menu got very repetitive after a while, but overall it was great. There are definitely days where I wish someone else was in charge of what I eat for dinner. (Excepting dessert I am a pretty lazy cook, if you’re new here.)

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}In any case, one thing they did great was dessert. In particular, mint brownies. These were hands down the favorite of M and he used to watch the menu for Mint Brownie Day (as he called it) so he could be sure to have as many as possible. I will admit they were quite delicious even though I’m not normally a fan of frosted brownies.

I have since tried several recipes in an attempt to recreate them, and while I’ve not been 100% successful, this recipe is pretty dang good. Chocolatey brownie, creamy mint, shiny ganache, and best of all: no melting anything on the stove. I’m very lazy when it comes to brownies because there’s really nothing that beats the Ghirardelli box mixes in taste, texture, or convenience. But I decided to do the from-scratch thing on a whim because it’s good to remind myself I can actually make brownies for real.

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}The first recipe I tried was kind of a pain in the butt. All three pieces required melting chocolate and/or butter on the stove and, well, ain’t nobody got time for that. The mint filling was also a bit less dense than I was looking for so I decided to try a new recipe. (The brownie portion was, however, extremely delicious when frozen so if you’re in a mood for melting chocolate, head on over to Love and Olive Oil.)

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}Two weeks later, after searching Pinterest high and low, I Frankensteined together my own recipe from three separate ones. Dense chocolatey brownie, creamy mint frosting, and that same shiny ganache come together in a delightful combination with no stove required. The lazy baker in me is thrilled about that last bit.

Below find the recipes for each layer with my adaptations. These freeze great so make a batch, pop in the freezer, and enjoy at your leisure. They are pretty rich so likely they’ll last you awhile, but I certainly won’t judge you if they don’t.

Grasshopper Brownies {{Baking Bytes}}Grasshopper Brownies

Adapted from Your Cup of Cake (brownie), How Sweet Eats (mint filling), and Love and Olive Oil (ganache)
Makes 16 brownies (8×8 pan)

Ingredients

Brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mint Filling
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp Crème de menthe

Chocolate Ganache
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Directions

  1. For the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together on low until well combined.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each one. Mixture should be pretty smooth.
  4. Add flour and salt and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, checking a few minutes early to make sure they don’t over bake. A toothpick should come out a teensy bit wet.
  6. Let brownies cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the mint filling: In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mix until completely combined and fluffy.
  8. Add desired amount of Creme de menthe, mixing well on high speed each time. Filling should be fluffy and somewhat lightened in color when it’s ready (this will take a minute or two).
  9. Spread on top of cooled brownies and place in the freezer while you make the chocolate ganache.
  10. For the ganache: Put chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, heat for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat 3x or until mixture is completely smooth.
  11. Pour chocolate topping over the mint frosting and gently tilt the dish to coat entirely. Let sit on the counter (or in the freezer) until chocolate has set. Cut and serve immediately or cover and return to the freezer for storage.
  12. For pretty slices: Gently cut forward and back until you are through the ganache, then press firmly down, wiping off the knife if anything sticks to it. This will prevent the chocolate from cracking. Photography tip: Pick up from the sides to avoid fingerprints.

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Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae

Oh yeah, you read that title right. Irish Car Bomb Sundae. Mixing alcohol and ice cream like a pro. If you’ve been reading awhile, you know that alcoholic ice cream isn’t a new thing here (Baileys and chocolate ‎Kahlúa have both made appearances) but this, this takes it to a whole new level. Note: if you don’t want the whole back story, skip the next four paragraphs.

Whilst planning my baking adventures Sunday morning, I realized we were getting quite close to St. Patrick’s Day. And due to this planning fail, I also realized yesterday was my last usual posting day before the holiday. The mint brownies I had planned would work, true, but I wanted something a bit more festive, a bit less overdone. In my head, Guinness is the most quintessential St. Patty’s Day beverage, making the Irish Car Bomb the most quintessential (although not very politically correct) cocktail of the day. Personally I’m not a fan of Guinness, and anything that curdles while you’re drinking just sounds like a terrible idea, but I’d seen ICB-inspired desserts before that sounded awesome, like cake and donuts. That’s when it hit me: ice cream!

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Two years ago a delightful coworker and friend made the team Guinness chocolate milkshakes. (At work. Before 11am. It was awesome.) Even as someone who doesn’t care for Guinness, I found them delicious. And so, the chocolate ICB sundae began to take shape. Guinness chocolate ice cream, of course, Baileys whipped cream, of course, but how to work in the whiskey? It was a terrible dilemma to be sure. Coincidentally, an entirely different friend posted recently about making whiskey dulce de leche. Whiskey caramel it is!

Whiskey Caramel Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Unfortunately, it was after 11am on Sunday when I had this revelation and so there was not enough time to create this concoction before my usual Monday post schedule. Be that as it may, I made the brownies, walked to the store for Guinness (twice, due to forgetting my ID the first time), and began the journey towards bliss.

Modifying my chocolate ice cream recipe was easy enough, so I got that into the freezer between brownie layers and cleaning and searching for whiskey caramel recipes. Having never actually made caramel before I was a bit nervous, but figured now was as good a time as any to give it a try. After finding a recipe and checking my cupboards for the ingredients (we only had Scottish whisky but…shhh. I’m sorry Colby.), I filed it away to make the next day. Normally I rarely do blog things after work, because I’m tired and hungry and just generally more of a mid-afternoon baker. However, my sheer excitement about this recipe resulted not only in making the remaining layers, but photographing everything and writing this post all in the same evening. Phew. But it’s worth it, oh so worth it.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Smooth and creamy chocolate ice cream accented by the unmistakable flavor of Guinness beer, topped with a relatively light Baileys whipped cream, and drizzled with a caramel brilliantly highlighted with whiskey. None of the flavors are individually overwhelming and they all combine together in sundae perfection. Not a dessert for the fainthearted, a small portion goes a long way. I wouldn’t personally eat the amount shown in my photos, for what it’s worth.

All three recipes are easy-peasy and come together quickly, minus chilling time. Very beginner friendly but fun for an experienced cook as well, and also extremely delicious. Which, let’s face it, that’s really the important aspect here. They are also easy to adjust to taste. Feel free to adjust the cocoa powder or Guinness a bit, and use more or less Baileys in the whipped cream. I can’t vouch for how adjusting the whiskey in the caramel would work, but I expect it would be just fine to add a little more or less. It is not super pronounced, which I felt was perfect. I made only a half batch of the original caramel recipe, so double mine if you want lots of leftovers or you’re feeding a crowd.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Need I say more? Really, the photos speak for themselves. I’m not even sure why you’re still reading instead of out shopping for ingredients.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re looking to impress yourself (or I guess some other people) for a St. Patrick’s Day party this year, look no further. Below, find the recipes for Guinness chocolate ice cream, Baileys whipped cream, whiskey caramel sauce, and instructions for the Irish Car Bomb sundae. Make one, make them all. Anything here is a great addition to any evening, but the trifecta is sure to wow.

And if you’re curious, the mint brownies will be up here next Monday, March 16th.

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Guinness beer
1/2 cup half & half
1 cup sugar
1/4 – 1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined and smooth.
  2. Place mixture in the fridge until completely chilled (temp should be less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  3. Chill a glass or other freezer-safe, lidded bowl in the freezer while you churn the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  4. Transfer ice cream to bowl and return to the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving. (Freezer time is not optional with this recipe.)

Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Baileys Whipped Cream

Adapted from The Cupcake Project
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Baileys Irish cream liqueur

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer (whisk attachment for a stand mixer) beat the cream and sugar until very soft peaks form.
  2. Gently stir in the Baileys until just incorporated.
  3. Continue beating the cream until soft-medium peaks form (or whatever consistency you like).
  4. Serve immediately, storing leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Whiskey Caramel Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Borrowed from Epicurious
Makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp Irish whiskey
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a small or medium heavy saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Boil without stirring until syrup begins to look golden, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until color deepens to a rich caramel color. (It make crystallize somewhat during steps 2-3, that’s normal.)
  4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Mixture will splatter so be careful! If the caramel has hardened, return to heat briefly.
  5. Stir caramel until it is smooth and of even color, allowing to cool for a few minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave in very small time increments – it is quick to boil over.

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Sundae

Ingredients

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream
Baileys Whipped Cream
Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. Swirl caramel sauce on the inside of a glass or bowl. (optional)
  2. Scoop in desired amount of ice cream, top with whipped cream, and swirl additional caramel sauce over the whole shebang.
  3. Enjoy immediately and try not to enter a sugar coma.

Baileys Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

[Welcome! In case you missed it, this month is National Ice Cream month. Each Tuesday I’ll be sharing a new ice cream recipe for the entire month of July. If you want to see last week’s recipe, it can be found here.]

Happy Tuesday! This week we’re going a bit less traditional and adding booze to our ice cream. Personally, I have found very few dairy-based items that Baileys doesn’t improve (like hot chocolate and pudding and whipped cream), but this happens to be one of my favorites. Even better, it’s no more time-consuming than my normal vanilla ice cream. Simply throw in a couple ounces of Baileys and prepare your taste buds for a glorious experience.

Baileys Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Smooth and creamy, with that wonderful Baileys taste we all know and love (caveat: if you don’t like Irish cream liqueurs, this post is probably not for you, but be sure to check back next week!), this ice cream is great on its own or as part of something more complicated. It would pair beautifully with a Guinness chocolate cake for a St. Patrick’s Day treat, although I haven’t tried this yet. Note to self: do this next year. It also makes a great milkshake (add a little Kahlúa, vodka, and chocolate sauce  for a mudslide) or an adult root beer float.

Simple as it may seem, what started as a whim has quickly become one of my favorite recipes and is now one of my go-to flavors when I want something besides regular vanilla. Plus it helps me get through my ever-growing collection of Baileys flavors.

Baileys Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

With regards to the strength of the flavor, I’ve given you a range in the amount of Baileys so you can tailor it to your preferences. I generally add two ounces, and this is also the amount I’d use if I were planning to serve it alongside a cake or other dessert. For a root beer float, a stronger version might be better. Four ounces definitely packs more of a punch, but since Baileys is a relatively mild alcohol it’s still not crazy overwhelming. You can certainly start with one ounce if you’re just looking for a hint of flavor, but I would caution against going much higher than four ounces as I can’t guarantee the ice cream will freeze properly with a higher alcohol content. Mix up the other ingredients and add the Baileys one tablespoon (2 Tbsp == 1 oz) at a time until it tastes right to you, keeping in mind it will be slightly more subtle after its frozen.

Next time you want to up the ante on the ice cream front, give this a try; I guarantee you’ll want a repeat experience.

Baileys Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Baileys Ice Cream

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half (or milk)
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 oz Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients until completely combined.
  2. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  3. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an extra three hours, or overnight.2

Notes

1 I have used multiple flavors of Baileys with delicious success; my favorite so far is Vanilla Cinnamon. If you’re not a Baileys fan, substitute your preferred cream liqueur.

Because of the alcohol, this ice cream probably won’t be hard enough to eat straight out of the ice cream maker. Nice and soft straight out of the freezer, it does melt relatively quickly so don’t dilly dally if you’re serving it to several people.

Chocolate Pudding Pie and Baileys Whipped Cream

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have to admit it’s not my favorite “holiday”, but it has the redeeming quality of being near my birthday. I turned 25 on Saturday (yes, I’m an Ides of March baby) and celebrated by running my first half marathon of the year. One down, five to go. I got a new PR of 2:17:03, which makes me feel very confident I’ll meet my yearly goal of 2:10, and hopeful that maybe I’ll even meet my stretch goal of 2:00 (or close to it). My best friend also completed her first 10k which is super exciting! Judging by her smile, I’d say I didn’t completely scare her away from running. (Phew.) (Parentheses!)

Running!

I usually celebrate my birthday with a chocolate pie, but after the race and then attending a party with one of M’s Antarctica coworkers I didn’t feel up to making one. Instead, I made one yesterday and added a teensy bit of Irish flair for today’s post.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate pie is a long-standing favorite of mine and probably my most requested birthday dessert, although cherry pie would be a close second. Even from scratch, chocolate pie is an easy dessert to make, and a hard one to screw up, which makes it great for beginners. I can even personally attest that whipped cream is stiff enough for regular birthday candles, although I skipped those this year.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Flaky pie crust, creamy pudding, and fluffy whipped cream are a combination that can’t go wrong, unless you are one of those weird people that doesn’t like sweets. (Seriously, I do not understand this. No judgments, just confusion.) But if you are one of those people, you probably aren’t reading this post anyway.

This pie is fairly rich, but the whipped topping helps keep it from feeling overly dense. Even so, you may want to start with a smaller piece than I have in my pictures, and make a note to go back for seconds. It should keep for a few days in the fridge, but it would be best to have a few friends over to share it. I’m sure they won’t mind helping you out.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re new to homemade pies, pudding, or whipped cream, have no fear! This is a great starter pie and will be sure to give you some confidence in the kitchen. If you’re still apprehensive, feel free to substitute a pre-made pie crust (but please, use the roll out dough) or a cookie crust. Or skip the crust entirely and pour the pudding into individual serving glasses. (Although this rather deviates from the “pie” idea.) You could also use cool whip for the topping: just thaw it in the fridge and add some Baileys. I’ve included recipes for homemade versions of all three steps if you really want to wow your audience (and your taste buds.)

Pre-baked Single Pie Crust

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Makes one 9″ pie crust

Ingredients

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

4-5 Tbsp ice water

Directions

  1. Measure shortening into a small bowl and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Pour water and a few ice cubes into a cup and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt together until well combined.
  5. After shortening is cold, combine with the flour and salt and mix with a pastry blender (or a fork) until blended into pea-sized pieces.
  6. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, mixing gently after each addition. Repeat until all pastry is moistened and it all sticks together.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, gently flatten pastry into a disc, and then roll out large enough to fit your pie plate.
  8. Transfer dough to pie plate and crimp the edges.
  9. Prick liberally with a fork over the entire bottom and sides of the crust in order to prevent shrinkage.1
  10. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes, then set aside while you make the filling.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
Makes one 9″ pie

Ingredients

1 pre-baked pie crust

2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
5 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate

4 large egg yolks2
3/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder (optional)3 

Directions

  1. Place milk, half and half, and chopped chocolate into a medium sauce pan. Over medium heat, warm the mixture until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together egg yolks and sugar until well mixed.
  3. Add corn starch, vanilla, salt, and cocoa (if desired) and stir until completely combined.
  4. When the chocolate is melted, slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until smooth.
  5. Return entire mixture to the saucepan, and heat on medium until it thickens and bubbles slowly. (5-10 minutes)
  6. Remove from the heat and stir gently until pudding is smooth, then pour directly into prepared pie crust.
  7. Cover immediately with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the filling to prevent a skin from forming.
  8. Refrigerate at least two hours, or until ready to serve. Then top with whipped cream.

Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Baileys Whipped Cream

Borrowed from The Cupcake Project
Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Baileys Irish cream liqueur4 

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer (whisk attachment for a stand mixer) beat the cream until very soft peaks form.
  2. Gently stir in the sugar and Baileys until just incorporated.
  3. Continue beating the cream until soft-medium peaks form.
  4. Spoon onto chilled pie, then use a spatula or spoon to create swirls.5
  5. Top with chocolate jimmies, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate curls, if desired.
  6. Return to fridge, or serve immediately.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Baileys Whipped Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Notes

1 I really don’t think you can over-prick a pie crust.
2 Don’t throw out the egg white, make meringues!
3 I like richer chocolate flavor, but if you’re not into dark chocolate just leave this out. It’ll still be delicious.
4 If you just want regular whipped cream, use 3-4 tsp vanilla instead.
5 You will probably have about a cup or more left over. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and it’ll keep for several days. It’s great to use on hot chocolate or ice cream or to eat with a spoon.