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