Do you ever make a dessert, virtuously share it (i.e., get it the h*ll out of your house before you devour it all), only to obsess on it for the following days, desperately craving what you gave away?
I have had that problem with Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup Bars. I just cannot get them out of my head.
But it goes against my grain to bake the same cookie so soon, which got me to wondering what else I could do with that same basic layout (shortbread base plus sweetened condensed milk and flavors). Originally I was thinking citrus, but then I remembered those Better Homes and Gardens Mint Chocolate Bars I made waaay back in January. The ones that kind of failed (the layers completely messed up) but tasted really good? What if, I wondered, Joe’s formula would work better and the layers would not run so badly then?
I was right—and this new recipe is every bit as good as Joe’s peanut butter version. It is richer from the bittersweet chocolate, and the mint and chocolate flavors are (not surprisingly) stronger, but otherwise it is a similar cookie. If you liked the one, you will like this one too, as long as you like mint and dark chocolate. Thanks, Joe!
Mint Dark Chocolate Bars
Adapted from Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Bars
16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (220 grams)
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ t salt
6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
¼ t double strength (or ½ t regular) vanilla
1 cup any kind of mint chocolate chips (I was using those Andes pieces sold around the Holidays) (if you cannot find these, use regular chocolate chips and add peppermint oil or extract to taste to the chocolate/condensed milk mix)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Mix in flour, sugar and salt just until the mixture is crumbly. Scoop out about 2 cups of the mixture (reserving the rest of the mixture) and scatter it in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan lightly coated with nonstick spray. Evenly pat the mixture down to form a crust – if it is sticky at all, use a piece of plastic wrap to help press down. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake until the edges have started to turn a golden brown color, about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add the chopped bittersweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Heat over low and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Quickly pour the mixture over the hot crust and use an off-set spatula to evenly spread the mixture.
Combine the reserved crumbles and mint chocolate chips – evenly scatter over the top of the chocolate filling. Place back in the oven and bake until the center is set, about 25 – 30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Makes about 28 bars.