Chocolate Mint Magic Bars

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsSo far this season, I’ve posted Cashew Butter Ginger Cookies, Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams, Pecan Florentines, an Eggnog Puff Pancake, Maple Spice Stars, gluten-free Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles, and my mom’s recipe for Wassail. If none of those strike your holiday fancy, there are at least twenty more Christmas-appropriate recipes in the archives.

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsWhat can I say? I love holiday baking ❤️💚❤️💚❤️💚❤️💚❤️💚

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsToday’s recipe–the last one before Christmas–is everything you could want this close to the 25th. Chocolate Mint Magic Bars come together quickly and easily, don’t require a mixer or any unfamiliar techniques, and are so. freaking. good. If you love chocolate and mint, this is your lucky day 😊

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsI mean, who can resist chewy, chocolaty Andes mint-studded filling and a buttery chocolate cookie crust?!

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsChocolate Mint Magic BarsTo make the bars, start by blitzing two sleeves of chocolate sandwich cookies into crumbs. Add some butter and then press the mixture into a foil-lined pan. Bake the crust for five minutes, just to set.

Chop up some Andes Creme de Menthe candies…

Chocolate Mint Magic Bars…and whisk together a can of sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, peppermint extract, and a tablespoon of melted butter.

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsChocolate Mint Magic BarsPour that mixture over the crust and top it with the chopped candy. I like to add some chocolate chips, too. Bake the bars for half an hour, until they’re still a little jiggly–they’ll set as they cool. Once they reach room temperature, slice ‘em up.

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsLook at those streaks of candy in the filling 😍😍😍

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsThese bars, y’all. They’re so delicious. The filling is chocolaty and minty without being too rich, and has a fudgy brownie-like quality that I absolutely love! And then there’s that crumbly, buttery chocolate cookie layer. Seriously, what’s not to love?!

Merry Christmas, y’all!Chocolate Mint Magic Bars

Chocolate Mint Magic Bars
makes 1 9-inch square pan, about 16 bars

24 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not fat free)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (not mint extract)
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
30 Andes Creme de Menthe candies (1 9.5 ounce package), chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Generously butter foil. Set aside.

Place chocolate sandwich cookies the bowl of a food processor and process until pulverized. Add 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Pulse until combined. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Press into an even layer. Bake for five minutes, until set. Set crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, vanilla and peppermint extracts. Whisk in cocoa powder.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk mixture over the crust. Scatter chopped Andes Creme de Menthe candies and chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 30-32 minutes, tenting pan with foil at the 10 minute mark. Bars are done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use foil overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice with a lightly-greased knife and serve.

Chocolate Mint Magic Bars

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}I try my best to make sure there’s plenty of chocolate on this site, but as a confirmed vanilla person, I know I could do more.

It’s not that I don’t like chocolate–quite the contrary, actually. I just happen to like vanilla, fruit, and spice a tiny bit more. I don’t think you can blame me for loving Eggnog Puff Pancakes, Maple Spice Stars, and Cashew Butter Ginger Cookies 😋

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}But never mind my personal preferences.

Today’s post is for the true chocolate lovers. Those who eat the stuff everyday. The ones who keep a chocolate bar on their person at all times. The people who live for the fudgiest flourless chocolate cake. If you fall into any of these categories, well, consider these Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles a Christmas gift from me to you.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}These cookies are a spin on one of the chocolatiest (it’s Friday and Christmas is in ten days–let’s pretend that’s a word) recipes on this little blog, my gluten-free Chocolate Crinkles. You see, beneath that crackly sugared exterior is so much chocolate, it’s sort of obscene. You’ll also find big hits of cinnamon and cayenne for a warm, spicy finish. If you love heat with your chocolate, it’s your lucky day.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles are made with three (three!) different kinds of chocolate. There’s a pound of melted dark chocolate in the dough, plus some cocoa powder and two cups of semisweet chocolate chips. In addition to all that, this dough is held together with four well-beaten eggs, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}For that classic Mexican Hot Chocolate flavor, you’ll need a tablespoon of cinnamon and a bit of cayenne. There’s some espresso too, just for some depth.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}After a short chill, the dough will be very thick. Scoop it in two tablespoon increments, roll them into balls, and coat them in confectioner’s sugar. Slide them into the oven and just over ten minutes later…

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}Just look at those crinkly, crackly tops!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}They’re the stuff of cookie tray dreams.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}And that’s to say nothing of the chocolaty, melty, spicy interiors 😍

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}With all the chocolate, it’s no surprise that Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles are very rich. I can only eat one at a time, but true chocolate lovers may go for two.

Regardless of where you fall on the chocolate loving spectrum though, I defy you to resist a Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkle and a hot cup of coffee. I’ll be the first to tell you: it can’t be done.Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}
makes about 30 cookies

7 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne 
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso granules
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 pound (16 ounces) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I like Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, cornstarch, cinnamon, cayenne, instant espresso, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a double boiler or the microwave, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter together, stirring frequently, until smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat for five minutes, until frothy and pale. Add the melted chocolate mixture in two installments, followed by the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Dough will be very thick. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls. Roll dough balls in confectioner’s sugar and set at least two inches apart on prepared pans. Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front. Do not overbake. Let cool on the pans for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with all remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten-Free}

Pecan Florentines

Pecan FlorentinesIf you’ve never seen or heard of Florentine cookies, you’re probably not alone. I rarely see these ultra-crispy, nutty, chocolaty cookies in bakeries, but on the occasion that I do, I just have to have one.

Pecan FlorentinesMy love of Florentines began when I tried an almond version at Blue Bonnet Bakery in my hometown (they must have been out of Gingerbread Men that day 😉). I was intrigued by the non-traditional appearance of the cookie (let’s be real–I was mostly in it for the chocolate). After one bite, I knew I’d found a favorite.

Pecan FlorentinesFlash forward fifteen years and I’ve finally tried my hand at making them. And you know what? I wish I had made them sooner. I’m always so intimidated by lace cookies, but they’re actually some of the simplest to make. Exhibit A: Apple Cider Snaps.

Pecan FlorentinesHere’s what you need to know about Florentines: if you start now, you can have dough ready for the oven in ten minutes. That dough will bake in all of five minutes. And the finished cookies get filled and topped with dark chocolate. So…what are you waiting for?!

Pecan FlorentinesPecan FlorentinesMeasure out a cup of pecans and then pulse them in the food processor until they become a rubble. You could use almonds or walnuts if you prefer, but given a choice, I will always go for pecans. It’s a Texan thing, I suppose. I would like more things to taste like pecan pie, Florentines included. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Anyway…mix the pecan rubble with 1/2 cup of flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Pecan FlorentinesPecan FlorentinesNext up, bring some butter, dark brown sugar, and Lyle’s Golden Syrup to a boil. Golden syrup is an invert sugar with a slight caramel flavor; I usually find it on the baking or international aisles (it’ll be with the British foods). If you can’t find golden syrup at your grocery store, light corn syrup works just fine.

Pecan FlorentinesPecan FlorentinesBack to the recipe…combine the wet and dry ingredients and voilà! Cookie dough. It will be thin and a little, uh, gloppy, but it will be cookie dough.

Pecan FlorentinesPecan FlorentinesDrop teaspoons of dough onto lined baking sheets and flatten them into circles. Bake them for 5 1/2-6 minutes, until lacy and turning golden at the edges. Keep an eye on ‘em and make sure to rotate the pans halfway through–since these cookies are mostly sugar, butter, and nuts, they can go from perfection to charcoal in seconds. I made six batches last week and you can see that I still had a few close calls. Rotate, rotate, rotate. It’s crucial to your Pecan Florentine success.

Pecan FlorentinesPecan FlorentinesPecan FlorentinesPecan FlorentinesOnce all the cookies are baked and cooled, sandwich them together with dark chocolate. The melted chocolate may seep through some of the holes in the cookies. To mitigate this, I like to spread the chocolate onto one cookie, top it with a second cookie, and flip it over. That seems to contain any overflow.

Pecan FlorentinesAs a finishing touch, I like to drizzle a little more chocolate onto each Pecan Florentine. It’s entirely optional, but I think it’s pretty. After that, just let the chocolate set at room temperature (or if you’re impatient, throw them into the freezer for a few minutes).

(I’m impatient.)Pecan Florentines

Pecan Florentines
makes about 20 sandwich cookies

1 cup raw pecan halves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or light corn syrup
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Place racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Place pecan halves in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until they become a rubble. Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

Combine butter, golden syrup (or corn syrup), and dark brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl with the pecan mixture. Fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

Drop teaspoons of dough at least 3 inches apart on the prepared pans. Flatten the dough into circles. Bake 3 minutes. Rotate the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake an additional 2-3 minutes (I do 2 1/2 minutes), until golden at the edges. Let cool on the pan five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Discard and replace parchment between batches.

Once all the cookies have been baked, chop the chocolate and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Let cool five minutes.

Line a surface (or two baking sheets) with parchment. Place half the cookies underside-up on the parchment. Top each with about 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate. Spread it into a thin layer and top with another cookie. Carefully turn sandwich cookies over. Use a fork to drizzle remaining chocolate over the tops. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or until set.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Pecan Florentines

Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsDo you listen to the Stuff You Should Know podcast? My sister turned me onto it a few months ago and it was love at first listen. As my job is very solitary, I spend my days listening to Josh and Chuck talk about all sorts of things I have never given a passing thought. Imagine my surprise to find that yesterday’s episode was about something that I know all about: cake!

Yes, I spend many waking hours thinking about cake. Really. At any given moment, I am thinking about baking, layering, decorating, or eating cake. If you listen to the podcast (which you should!), it sounds like Josh, Chuck, and I may have that in common…the eating part anyway 😉

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsOne thing we definitely agree on though is that we all occasionally eat cake solely as a vehicle for frosting. For some *unknown* reason, it’s socially unacceptable to eat a bowl of frosting, so we eat cake to get our fix 😉 Until now, anyway…

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsEnter buttercream candies: literally frosting coated in chocolate.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsFrosting. coated. in. chocolate.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsFrosting for frosting’s sake.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsIf you’re anything like me (or Josh and Chuck, apparently), this is basically the best news ever. These are the no-bake treat of my dreams.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsYou can make buttercreams using any flavor of frosting you can imagine–if it can be whipped into buttercream frosting, it can be rolled into candy. As we’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, I’ve decided to go with Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams today 😊

The frosting base of these candies is a classic American chocolate buttercream that I’ve souped up with 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract and some instant espresso. It comes together in just a few minutes and is super fluffy and luxurious.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsChill the peppermint mocha frosting before scooping it by the teaspoon and rolling it into balls. This is not a glamorous process, but it is helped greatly by coating your hands in confectioner’s sugar.

After another chill, it’s time for a dip in melted chocolate…

Peppermint Mocha Buttercreamsand a smattering of crushed peppermints, or perhaps some holiday sprinkles.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsPeppermint Mocha ButtercreamsOne more quick chill later, the Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams are ready to eat. And oh, are they good. I mean, how could the combination of a chocolate shell and a melty espresso-mint center be anything but delicious?!

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsThey’re basically holiday perfection in a mouthful.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsLooking for more Peppermint Mocha? Try my Peppermint Mocha Cookies ❤️💚❤️💚

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsPeppermint Mocha Buttercreams
inspired by and heavily adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes about 4 dozen candies

1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
2 teaspoons warm tap water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (NOT mint extract)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
16 ounces dark chocolate (not chocolate chips)
crushed peppermints, for decorating (optional)
sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together espresso granules and warm water. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and peppermint extracts, followed by espresso mixture. Add heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the frosting. Chill one hour in the refrigerator.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove chilled frosting from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Scoop frosting by the teaspoon, roll into balls, and place on prepared pan. Coating your palms in confectioner’s sugar may help the rolling process. Chill rolled frosting uncovered for one hour.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to chop chocolate. Place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between, until smooth. Alternatively, melt chocolate in a double boiler. Let cool five minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove buttercreams from the refrigerator.

To dip, drop one ball of buttercream into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to coat buttercream in chocolate. Drain briefly by scraping the tines of the fork on the edge of the bowl. Use the fork to gently lay the buttercream on the prepared pan. Immediately top with crushed peppermints or sprinkles. Continue until all buttercreams have been coated and topped.

Chill buttercreams for at least fifteen minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

Chocolate Buttermilk PieThe first time I made this Chocolate Buttermilk Pie, it cracked down the middle just minutes after it came out of the oven. I have a history of making ugly pies (my motor skills leave something to be desired), but a giant crescent-shaped crater was a little much, even for me.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieOnce that pie cooled though, I cut a sliver for myself and promptly fell in love. What’s not to love about soft, fudgy chocolate filling baked into a flaky pie crust?! Nevertheless, I couldn’t post a cracked pie on here and expect any of you to come back ever again. Lucky for you, I have plenty of pie dough in my fridge this time of year and entirely too much time on my hands 😉

Chocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieSo, how do I get my Chocolate Buttermilk Pies to stay in one piece? Well, it’s actually really easy. 

Chocolate Buttermilk PieIt all starts with room temperature ingredients. I recommend using room temperature ingredients in many of the recipes on this site, but it’s especially important in custard pies like this one. Cold ingredients just don’t incorporate and bake the way their room temperature counterparts do.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieEggs, in particular, should almost always be room temperature. They provide tons of structure in baking–in this recipe, they do nearly all the heavy lifting! I bring my eggs to room temperature by letting them sit in a bowl of hot tap water for five minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieThe buttermilk needs to be room temperature, too. You can measure it out and let it sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes, or you can speed up the process by microwaving it in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until it no longer feels cold to the touch.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieMix your room temperature eggs and buttermilk together with some vanilla and a tiny bit of flour. Whisk that into a chocolaty combination of cocoa, sugar, butter, and salt that’s been bloomed* together on the stove.

*Note: for more on blooming, click here.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieRoll out a (chilled! Not room temperature!) pie crust and fit it in a pie plate. Crimp the edges and dock it with a fork before pouring in the filling. Bake it on the bottom rack of a 375F oven for 50 minutes, until puffed at the edges.

Turn off the oven, crack the door open, and let the pie sit for 10-15 minutes. This allows the pie to finish baking and begin cooling without any major changes in temperature. Don’t skip this step! This is the last step in insuring that your pie stays in one piece. Once time is up, let the pie cool on a rack before slicing and serving. Preferably with ice cream.

Chocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieChocolate Buttermilk PieI know Pumpkin Pie is king this time of year, but this Chocolate Buttermilk Pie just might steal the spotlight at your Thanksgiving celebration! I’ve given slices of this pie to fifteen of my friends and every last one of them wanted more. All that’s to say, you might need to make two of these.Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

Looking for more pie? Check out my Salted Butterscotch Pie, Maple Pecan Pie, and Cranberry Crumb Pie! Oh, and this Maple Pear Tart 🍁🍐💙

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie
makes one 9-inch pie 

1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough or other good crust
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 large eggs, room temperature 
1 cup buttermilk 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Roll out the pie dough, and fit it in the pan. Cut it to 1/2-inch of overhang, then fold the excess under and crimp. Dock the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place the prepared crust in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 375F.

Combine butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, remove from heat–mixture will be thick and grainy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add buttermilk and vanilla, followed by flour. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture in two installments, whisking until combined. 

Place prepared crust on Pour filling into prepared crust.

To make egg wash, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Paint egg wash over any exposed crust.

Bake 45-50 minutes, or until filling is puffed at the edges. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly. Let pie sit in oven for 10-15 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. 

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Pie may be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five days.Chocolate Buttermilk Pie