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.


Print Print Recipe

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.


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8 Responses to “Shrimp Cobb Salad”

  1. 1

    MangoMel — May 18, 2011 @ 11:46 am

    I have made this twice for dinner – but as you said, I changed quite a few things including using fresh corn, my own regular dressing, different spices on the shrimp and crumbling the bacon. The original recipe was a good springing board for making a great dinner.

  2. 2

    Aggie — May 19, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    I’m so with you on the bagged vs fresh lettuce. I get tempted to buy the bagged when it’s BOGO but then end up throwing it away b/c it looks terrible and not at all crunchy. This salad looks amazing. I actually have fresh white corn right now too. I need to find some good shrimp and avocado. I would love this for dinner (SOON!).

  3. 3

    Maria — May 25, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    Love the avocado! Sorry it wasn’t a favorite!

  4. 4

    Jenny Flake — May 25, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    I am a huge cobb salad fan, guess it’s best we make our own :) Nice review!!

  5. 5

    Amanda — May 25, 2011 @ 10:04 am

    Your photo is beautiful and a salad is just what I need after our indulgent weekend in Atlanta! Too bad this one wasn’t a rave, but it definitely gives me a few ideas, great review! :)

  6. 6

    Cookin' Canuck — May 25, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    I was drawn to this salad as soon as I saw it on the cover. Sorry to hear that it didn’t live up to the picture. I guess that means I’ll have to make my own version!

  7. 7

    Tracy — May 26, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    Sorry to hear this wasn’t so great! Your photo is lovely though. :-)

  8. 8

    Mrs. L — May 26, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    I saw this and thought I’d make it. I like the idea of the salad so I might have to make it with the changes you suggested and maybe a few of the other suggestions.

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