Altoid brownies, trust me on this one
I procured this recipe from David Lebovitz who borrowed it from from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Sadly, I can claim no stake its bizarre and wonderful brilliance. I will say that based on the rather odd surprise guest ingredient in this recipe and, well, the name of the book itself, I’ve surmised that its authors just might have been in an altered state of mind when they developed it. Perhaps caused by another type of brownie or edible substance?
The recipe starts, as all brownie recipes worth their weight do: melted chocolate. To this, both white and brown sugars are added.
Then, a whopping five. Yes FIVE eggs are added.
Next, well, really first if you don’t want to take time out in the middle of your batter preparation. An entire tin…maybe even a tin-and-a-half of Altoids get sacrificed to the brownie gods. The instructions suggest using a mallet, rolling pin or pestle and mortar. I tried the latter first but my pestle and mortar is made for spices and a little undersized for the job at hand. So, I busted out the meat hammer and went to town. I do have a picture of what the results look like. However, the, um, white powder looked startling like a bag of cocaine (or at least what it looks like on TV). And, despite by Scooby Doesque references in this post, the image wasn’t particularly wholesome. So, I’ve substituted a shot of the tin as a proxy.
The crushed Altoids and flour are folded-into the batter.
Into the oven.
David Lebovitz notes in his posting of this recipe to err on the side of undercooked. I couldn’t agree more. The photo below is of a batch I baked for the suggested 30 minutes. When I cut them, I thought I’d undercooked them. What I really did was make the rookie mistake of cutting them the same day I’d baked them (sometimes we don’t follow our own rules) and the results were disappointingly goopy. By the next day however, they’d set-up beautifully. DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO. Just to make sure they weren’t undercooked, the next batch I made I upped the bake-time to somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes. While they were fine, the texture was dryer and the peppermint had lost some of its intensity. Some of its, shall we say, curious strength. And, you definitely don’t want that to happen.
Dave Mathews Band of course.
“Baked” Altoid Brownies
Adapted from David Lebevitz adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan
- 11 ounces (315g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
- 8 ounces (215g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona–that was originally David’s note, but I use Valrhona as well)
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120g) packed dark brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pure mint extract
- 1 to 1½ packages of Altoid peppermints, (80-120g), crushed (See Note)
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line the inside of a 9 by 13-inch pan with parchment and butter or oil paper and pan.
- Crush the Altoids in a sturdy freezer bag with a mallet,rolling pin, mortar and pestle–or, if you happen to be feeling particularly violent, a meat tenderizer. They should be relatively fine, but I do like having little bits remaining. . If you want your brownies even more minty, add the larger amount of mints. You can add some pure mint extract to the batter, too.
- In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, over the heat, whisk in both sugars. Remove from heat and whisk in three of the eggs completely, then whisk in the other two, along with the vanilla and mint extract, if using.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture and the Altoids over the top and using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined; there might be just a trace of the flour in places. Do not overmix.
- Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Like most brownie recipes, it’s best to err on the side of underbaked than over.
- Serving & storage: Once cool, wrap the brownies well and wait over-night to cut.