Anyhoo, my brother and his family came to visit for the day this week, so I got to spend time cuddling my baby nephew and playing with my niece Sophie. And best of all, my brother and sister in law ran themselves ragged entertaining my kids (see photos). Literally, as my brother was convinced the only way to fly a kite is to run. To be fair, our kite is eons too sophisticated for me so it is not like I can do it any better.
My sister in law and I have something in common, and that is our affection for the flavors of chocolate and mint together. Wait, did I say affection? I think I meant obsession. And everyone knows that when family is visiting, you indulge the in-law, not the blood relation. After all, the blood relation practically has to love you, but you gotta work for the in-law. And besides, like I say, I’m obsessed with those flavors too so it is a win-win situation.
I have been waiting to make these bars, waiting until I could get out of the house and buy Andes mints. They are another oh-so-brilliant-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that creation from Lauren Chattman. If you have ever stared at other sandwich cookies, so perfectly round, and thought boy those look yummy but who wants to roll out the round cookies, then this is the recipe for you. It took minutes to put together.
Andes Mint Shortbread Sandwiches
Closely adapted from Lauren Chattman’s Mom’s Big Book of Cookies
1 1/2 cups (189 g) AP flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder–I used Valrhona
1/2 t salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I used superfine as it is what I have right now)
1/2 t vanilla
Andes mints–Chattman says you will need 28, I just know I used mints from 2 boxes; I used the mint sandwiched inbetween chocolate, but you could use the inverse as well
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and then whisk in the salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and beat it in. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions on the lowest speed and mix in just until the flour has mixed in.
Divide the dough in half–I think I got this part sightly off and I would weigh next time. Having said that, my bars came out fine despite having a slightly thicker layer on top. Place half of the dough into the prepared pan and press it in evenly. Place the unwrapped Andes mints over the dough–they should nearly cover the dough perfectly. Gently press them into the dough.
Break the remaining dough into smaller pieces and scatter it evenly over the Andes mints. Press it gently to flatten it and cover the candy evenly.
Bake until the shortbread is firm at the edges but still soft in the center, 35-45 minutes. If you see the edges start to rise, pull it out. I had to pick up my daughter from preschool so I did not see at what point that happened, but I am giving a wide range because the edges got a little too baked after they were puffy, and I had to cut them off (and to be fair to my sister in law, whom I left in charge of removing the pan, I thought it looked fine when I got home–but those edges hardened–she pulled it out at the 40 min mark but Chattman says up to 45 mins).
Wait until the shortbread has cooled completely before removing by the parchment overhang and placing on a cutting board. Slice into squares.