Chocolate- Mint Bars

Cover recipe- Cooking Light, Chocolate- Mint Bars: March 2008

Today I’m featuring the cover recipe from an old issue of Cooking Light- March 2008.  Cooking Light doesn’t tend to put a lot of desserts on their covers, and when they do… they typically aren’t a cookie or bar type of dessert.  I’m quite often asked if I have light ideas for cookies and bars, so I can imagine that readers of Cooking Lightwould appreciate more of that sort of thing from this magazine.  Even more interesting is that this recipe was part of the Recipe Makeover series- where readers send in a favorite recipes that they’re requesting them to be lightened up.

The original recipe contained 4 eggs, loads of butter and chocolate.  The test kitchen was able to shave 6 grams of fat and 55 calories per serving off of the original recipe with their makeover.  The details on these Chocolate-Mint Bars:  A base-brownie layer is iced twice: first with a thin, sweet, and minty topping, and then with a rich chocolate glaze.

From Cooking Light: The dense base layer is like a rich, fudgy brownie, so don’t overcook it or the dessert bars will be dry. Refrigerating the mint bars allows the chocolaty top layer to set properly. You can make the dessert up to one day ahead. For a more grown-up taste, you can also use dark chocolate chips for some or all of the semisweet chocolate chips in the glaze.

Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.


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Chocolate- Mint Bars

Yield: 20 servings (20 pieces)

Prep Time: 35 min

Cook Time: 23 min

Ingredients:

Bottom layer:
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup
Cooking spray

Mint layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring

Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare bottom layer: Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt; stir with a whisk. Combine granulated sugar, egg substitute, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 tablespoons water, vanilla, eggs, and chocolate syrup in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring until blended. Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
3. To prepare mint layer:  Combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and next 3 ingredients (through food coloring) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread mint mixture over cooled cake.
4. To prepare the glaze: Combine the chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring after 30 seconds. Let stand 2 minutes. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into 20 pieces.

Tips:

*The Hershey's syrup is by weight, not fluid ounces. So, if you're pouring from a bottle, weigh it, don't measure.
*Don't expect a fudgy brownie layer. Cooking Light claims that it's fudgy... it's very moist, but I found it to have more of a velvety/cakey texture than fudgy.
*Leave out the food coloring if you wish. I personally like to include it as it gives eaters a 'hint' that there is mint-flavor tucked within.
*Watch the baking time. Mine had to bake up slightly longer than 23 minutes. At 23 minutes they appeared a little too gooey.
*The frosting layer is pretty liquidy at first- best to get it onto the cooled brownie layer, then refrigerate it before adding the chocolate layer.
*I had a some good-quality dark chocolate lying around so I chopped that up and used it for the top layer.
*They're good cold.
*If you're pulling them out of the refrigerator, it's best to let them sit on the counter for about a half hour to warm up the layers. When I tried to slice into the bars when the layers were very cold, the chocolate layer on top wanted to crack. When left at room temperature a while, it softened up a bit. I used a thin, sharp knife to cut and didn't have any trouble with cracks.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 piece
Calories per serving: 264
Fat per serving: 8.7g
Saturated Fat per serving: 5.2g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">139g
Fiber per serving: .5g
Protein per serving: 2.8g
Cholesterol per serving: 38mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 45g

Source:  Cooking Light, March 2008

The results:

I thought these bars were fabulous.  They’re light in texture and I loved the chocolate-mint combination- kind of like the Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies in the form of a brownie.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes! I loved that they featured a dessert bar on their cover. I thought it was a fun recipe to feature in March for St. Patrick’s Day (alternative to the usual St. Paddy’s Day fare). And these were delicious!

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

17 Responses to “Chocolate- Mint Bars”

  1. 1

    Tracey — March 10, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    I love the chocolate/mint combo so these look fantastic to me! Even better that it’s a CL recipe :)

  2. 2

    Cookin' Canuck — March 11, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    These sounds like a wonderful, lightened-up treat to indulge in. Perfect for St. Paddy’s Day.

  3. 3

    A Bowl Of Mush — March 11, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Ooh I want one now! Yum!!

  4. 4

    Jenny Flake — March 11, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    That last photo is so gorgeous! making me want a mint bar asap!!

  5. 5

    Sandra Simmons — March 11, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    THANK YOU for posting the WW points! I would love to make this but 7 is steep and would just multiply since I would probably eat the whole pan!

  6. 6

    Tracy — March 11, 2011 @ 9:53 am

    Perfect for St. Patty’s Day! Yum!

  7. 7

    Laurel — March 11, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    These look so delicious, and pretty! We’re featuring all things GREEN this week on the M&T Spotlight and I’d love for you to submit this. http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight

  8. 8

    Evan Thomas — March 12, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

    Yum! I would hope for a fudgier brownie but even so these sound terrific. I made a recipe similar to this back in January. Dare I say they were my favorite brownies ever?

  9. 9

    Brian @ A Thought For Food — March 12, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    One of my favorite things that my mom makes is a chocolate mint bar… that’s exactly like this.

    I just read your note that said that they’re good cold… YES! We always kept them in the freezer. It’s so much better that way.

  10. 10

    bridget {bake at 350} — March 12, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    Oh, I’m so craving chocolate and mint right now. Have something planned for next week, but it’s not light….and it SHOULD be; I’m *trying* to be good! ;) Darn those WW points!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Lori!

  11. 11

    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — March 12, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    I’ve been making a non light version of these for holiday gift baskets for yeasr. I’m anxious to try these and see the difference.

    One thing; that top layer used to be a problem until I started using a warm knife. Dip your knife into very hot water before slicing the squares, it should help to keep it from cracking without having to let the dessert warm up.

  12. 12

    grace — March 13, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    bliss. yes, these are perfect for good ol’ st patty’s day, but they’re more than welcome in my belly any day. :)

  13. 13

    anjali — March 14, 2011 @ 12:02 am

    These look so delicious! I have a feeling I’ll be making these someday soon.

  14. 14

    Jeannie — March 17, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    looks so good! I am so drooling !

  15. 15

    Heather — April 17, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    Made this yesterday and I must say it’s delish!!!!!! Cannot stop eating this and I still need to bring it to my moms for Sunday dinner!!

  16. 16

    WEndy Moor — December 17, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    THESE ARE SO GOOD. My sister made them last year. Couldn’t believe they were “light.” So glad I found this recipe :)

  17. 17

    Pat Kachold — December 20, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    I call them Frango Mint Bars. They are one of my must bake Christmas bars.
    I’ve been making these for at least 20 years. Don’t remember where the recipe came from but they are a seasonal favorite of mine. I do make them on special occasions When asked. Everyone should have this recipe in their recipe box.
    Yummy

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