Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ecce! Chocolate Mint Bars

When I talk about high school school activities I participated in, I often mention soccer. In France, playing soccer isn't an obvious choice for a girl--it's even rather strange. People imagine girls with a manly build, a buzz cut, and a strange fondness for kicking other girls in the knees.

Then, they look at me. As of now--and eight years ago--I am none of that. So, to take their mind off soccer, I add that I was part of Latin club. If I'm really feeling up to it, I'll even go as far as saying that I participated in Illinois Latin Tournaments every year, and really enjoyed "chariot races"... with pieces of carpet serving as the actual "chariots". Somehow, everyone tends to think I'm actually a little weirder after that. Playing soccer is one thing...but staging plays about a frog and an ox in Latin? 

Think what you will, but our Latin teacher had a mysterious aura. Mrs. Newman, of Canadian origin, was the kind of wonderful teacher you don't run into very often--incredibly smart but also funny. Oh, and something else.

She made mean nanaimo and peppermint bars.

The nanaimo bars will be for another day--today is all about the peppermint. 

Mrs. Newman's peppermint bars were out of this world, and I'm pretty sure my whole school could back me up on that assertion. They were creamy and smooth, with just the right amount of peppermint. But here's the catch: Mrs. Newman's recipes were a secret...that is, until graduation. Unfortunately for deserters like myself (not desserters, although I would call myself that too), I was across the Atlantic by the time graduation rolled around. Enter Emily, a friend I met with this Summer, who was kind enough to send the two recipes over.
This was like Christmas in recipeland, and I set out to make the peppermint bars at once. Obviously, like all food memories, the exact taste of Mrs. Newman's bars wasn't there. But I think I came pretty close. So close you might even see me don a helmet and climb up on my carpet chariot. 

Mmm: esculentus.

PS: Mrs. Newman, sorry for giving away your recipe.

Mrs. Newman's Chocolate Mint Bars
makes one 9x9 inch pan of bars

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.
First Layer
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 scant c. white sugar
1/2 TS peppermint extract
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 c. flour
Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from heat, add beaten eggs and beat well. 
Add sugar, peppermint,  and flour.  Beat well.  Bake at 350°F / 180°C for 20 minutes in a greased 9x9 pan.

Second Layer
1 c. powdered sugar
2 heaping TB butter
1 TB milk (more)
1 TS peppermint extract
few drops green food coloring (optional)
Mix together until smooth.  Spread on first layer and cool until set.

Third Layer
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate 
2 TB butter
Melt together, cool and drizzle over second layer.  Chill; cut into 24 pieces.

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Mary said...

I love chocolate-mint brownies and your version sounds really wonderful. I'll have to give them a try. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Paris Pastry said...

How cool you managed to find your teacher's recipe! I would love to make somthing with chocolate and mint, but I can't seem to find any mint extract :-( Did you grow up in the states or France?

Barbara said...

I worked with peppermint extract for the first time last Christmas. I used it in some chocolate cookies. I loved them!
So here you are with another chocolate/peppermint gem. And in bar form. I've always loved bars, Lucie.
Thank you to Emily, for forwarding the recipes!

grace said...

you used 'ecce' and that's just awesome. i'm just proud of myself for knowing what it means. :)
thanks be to mrs newman, for i can tell just by looking at the recipe that these'd be outstanding. :)

Cinnamon Girl said...

I for one and am really happy you gave away her recipe! These are absolutely scrumptious! Love mint with chocolate.

Juliana said...

Oh! I love chocolate with mint...and these bars sure look so tasty...would love to try them :-)

bake in paris said...

Marvelous chocolate mint bars! I should also thank Mrs.Newman for this wonderful recipe.

Thanks for sharing, Lucie :-)

Sawadee from Bangkok,

claudia said...

I am looking forward to the other recipe given by your latin teacher too! Love reading your posts!

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Wow! These look amazing! My oldest daughter adores the chocolate/mint combination!! I will have to make these very soon

Shauna from Piece of Cake said...

Oh, I made a Maida Heatter recipe that was like this one, and it was just to die for. Love your stories!

Lucie said...

Paris Pastry: I grew up in the US--I still have my parents bring me peppermint extract from back home because I can't find it in France either!

Shauna: Oooh I love Maida Heatter recipes. Just reading them makes me want to go into a baking frenzy!

gourmetdoc said...

I also went to the Mrs Newman high school (and did chariot races and Latin tournaments), but she wasn't giving out the recipe when I graduated in 2001. Thanks for posting it online!