Mint Cream Cheese Brownies

Still deciding what to make for a St. Patrick's Day dessert?  May I suggest....Mint Cream Cheese Brownies?

Not only are they fudgey, minty, rich and delicious....the recipe makes TWO!  Perfect for spreading some St. Patrick's Day cheer!

Mint Cream Cheese Brownies
{adapted from both the King Arthur Flour Catalog & The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion}

For the brownies:

1 c. dutch-process cocoa
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 c. sugar
1 TBSP. vanilla
3 eggs
1 c. flour
1 c. roughly chopped Andes mints, divided

For the mint cream cheese:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 TBSP. sugar
1 TBSP. flour
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. cream or milk
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
green food coloring (AmeriColor Leaf Green)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two 8" round pans.

Combine the cocoa, salt and baking powder, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Turn off the heat; add the sugar and stir to combine.  Return to the heat until it's hot again, but not bubbling.

Remove from heat.  Stir in the cocoa mixture. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in the flour and set aside.

Make the cream cheese mixture: beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth and combined.  Add the yolk, cream/milk, extract and one or two drops of green food coloring.  Beat until smooth.
{Make sure to get PEPPERMINT extract; mint extract is typically spearmint flavored.}

Assemble: Spoon out about half of the brownie batter, dividing between the prepared pans.

Scatter 1/2 c. of the chopped Andes mints on each.  Cover with the remaining batter.  (Use an offset spatula to spread.)

Fill a piping bag with the cream cheese mixture and top each brownie in a decorative design.

{Next time, I will just dollop it on and swirl it a bit with a toothpick. I did one polka dot and one shamrock.  The shamrock looked like this before baking:}

{...and separated like this after it cooled.  Oops.}

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges had started to pull away from the sides.  Cool completely on a cooling rack before removing from the pans.

Now, I was trying to get a "beauty shot" of one slice on a plate.  It looks like a pterodactyl head to me!

Happy, happy St. Patrick's Day to you...and you...and YOU!  Cheers!
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