I am always on the lookout for a new bar recipe that is a little bit more upscale than your typical brownie. Think dinner party but your kids will also love them. These grasshopper bars fit that bill – elegant and delicious, and special enough for company. They have three layers and there is some chilling time required, so give yourself some time here. They store well in the fridge so you can make them up to 4 days in advance.
Grasshopper Bars (adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito) (click here for printable recipe)
For the brownie base:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
5 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate (60-72%), chopped (or use chips)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the buttercream layer:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, softened but still cool, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Green food coloring (optional)
For the chocolate glaze:
6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate (60-72%), chopped (or use chips)
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
Make the brownie base:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray with non-stick cooking spray the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9 x 13 inch pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in a medium sized bowl stirring frequently to avoid scorching. When melted and smooth, immediately add both sugars and whisk until completely combined. Let cool to rom temperature and and eggs until just combined. Do not overmix or the brownies will be too cakey. Add vanilla and stir until just combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the batter and fold in the ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes rotating the pan halfway through baking time. A toothpick inserted in the middle should have a few moist crumbs attached. Let brownies cool completely.
Make the buttercream layer:
In a medium sized heavy bottomed sauce pan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add milk and 3 tablespoons of the cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened – 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and beat mixture with an electric mixer on high until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the filling is light and fluffy. Add the peppermint extract and green food coloring if using (add until you get the desired green tint you’re looking for) and beat until combined. The consistency should be smooth and creamy. If too stiff, add additional tablespoon of cream. Spread buttercream over the cooled brownie layer and chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
Make the chocolate glaze:
In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup and butter and melt in the microwave, stirring with a rubber spatula and checking often to avoid scorching. When melted, stir vigorously for 1 minute to cool. Pour over the buttercream layer, tipping pan in each direction so the buttercrream is completely and evenly covered with the glaze. Chill bars in fridge for at least 1 hour.
When ready to serve, remove the pan from the fridge 15 minutes prior and cut bars with a warm knife. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.