Here's my final recipe for Valentine's Day: After Eight brownies! These minty brownies are for those of you who love gooey, fudgy, sinfully decadent brownies that make you question whether they're fully cooked through. Present your date with these After Eight brownies on Valentine's Day and I guarantee you're going to get l...
lots of compliments. Ha!
Start by preheating the oven to 302°F (150°C) and grease and line an 8 x 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Then chop up some dark chocolate. You don't have to be too picky about the brand or the percentage of cocoa. Just pick up some dark chocolate, chop it up into fine pieces and put it into a heat-proof bowl with the butter. Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a double boiler until almost completely melted. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and stir until completely melted, and set aside to cool.
While the chocolate is cooling, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until it turns pale. Add the vanilla extract and continue to mix. Pour the slightly cooled chocolate into the egg mixture and stir until smooth. Add the sifted flour and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
Here's the star of the show: After Eight chocolates. These have been one of my favorite chocolate candies since I was a kid. If you've never had them, they're thin squares of dark chocolate with a layer of minty fondant inside. Kind of like a very thin York Peppermint Pattie or Junior Mints.
I poured half the brownie batter into the prepared pan, laid out 20 After Eight chocolates, and poured the remaining batter on top. I highly, highly suggest you don't do this. Because these brownies bake slowly at a lower temperature, the chocolates sank to the bottom, caramelized and turned rock solid! I had to press down hard on the knife when cutting the brownies until I heard a crunch. I could barely eat the caramelized bottom and had to slice it off. I suggest baking the brownies without putting the chocolates inside, and 5 to 10 minutes after they come out of the oven, lay the After Eight chocolates on top so they melt slightly but don't caramelize. Or omit the chocolates altogether and make the minty chocolate ganache I made to spread on top. They wouldn't be After Eight brownies, but they would still be delicious mint brownies.
Whatever you choose to do, put the batter in the preheated oven and bake the brownies for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with minimal crumbs. We're aiming for gooey fudgy brownies and we don't want to overbake. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting.
If you want, you could make a simple ganache with peppermint extract and spread it on top.
I used these adorable mini heart sprinkles to garnish the brownies!
After Eight brownies are the perfect way to end your night on Valentine's Day. Whether you're at home alone, inviting your date back to your place for dessert after a nice dinner, or spending the night in pajamas with your fiancé watching Netflix (guess which one I'm doing), these romantic brownies will be one of the highlights of the night.
Oh yeah. Look at the fudginess. How could anyone say no to that?
What are your plans for Valentine's Day? I'll be at work during the day, followed by a meeting, then pilates for an hour, gym date with Tristan after that, and then we'll have a slightly late dinner out so I get a day off from cooking dinner.
I'm co-hosting this week's Fiesta Friday with Petra @ Food Eat Love! I'll be bringing these After Eight brownies and these cupcakes. The fiesta runs until 8:00 pm on Tuesday (EST) so you still have time to submit your romantic meals and desserts! We're a friendly bunch, so even if you don't have a dish to submit, come mingle and meet new friends!
After Eight Brownies
- 4.5 oz (127.5g) dark chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup (170g) salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
- 20 squares After Eight chocolates (almost an entire box)
Mint Ganache (optional)
- 2.5 oz (71g) dark chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon peppermint etract
- Preheat the oven to 302°F (150°C) and grease and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
- Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a double boiler until almost completely melted. Remove from the heat, add the instant espresso powder and stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until it turns light yellow. Add the vanilla extract and continue to mix.
- Pour the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with some crumbs.
- If adding After Eight chocolates to your brownies, lay them on top of the baked brownies 5 to 10 minutes after the brownies have come out of the oven.
- Let the brownie cool completely before cutting.
- Put the dark chocolate into a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the heavy cream in the microwave or a pan until almost boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.
- Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add the butter and peppermint extract and stir until combined.
- Let it cool before spreading onto the brownies.