I am dedicating this post to my mom, Imma (that’s just Hebrew for mom) and to all the childhood memories it brings back.
When I was a kid, my mom used to make these brownies. My older brother S. used to love them and always asked for them. In fact, when he was in elementary school and his class was putting together a cookbook for Mother’s Day, he submitted this recipe. I was not such a fan at the time as I didn’t start liking chocolate until I was post-high school I think. But even so, they were still good.
I forgot about these for a while. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I remembered about them and tried to make them. I made them with a chocolate cake recipe at the time, and I put waaay too much mint extract in the frosting, and yet, our dinner guests loved them – Rocker Dude didn’t. He doesn’t like strong mint flavors.
This weekend, our friends M. and A. were having a big party and they asked us to bring something. I volunteered to make dessert (yeah, that was obvious), and after thinking about it for a while, I decided to try this again. Instead of making the base out of chocolate cake, I decided to use brownies. I used the only brownie recipe that has ever come out well for me – actually my first post on this blog.
I have also had trouble in the past with buttercreams separating on me, especially in the heat. When I asked for suggestions, my friend A. said that she had the same problem until she started creaming the heck out of the margarine before adding the powdered sugar. So I tried that this time. I used a recipe from The Perfect Cake, and tinted the icing green. After worrying and hoping and lots of crossed fingers, the icing came out perfectly. Yay!
All that was left was the ganache topping. my mom always just melted chocolate chips and spread them over the icing, but then when it hardened, it was, well, hard, and difficult to cut through. So my modification here is to use ganache. That way it would firm up nicely with a nice shine, but not impede any cutting activity. I had some leftover ganache in the refrigerator from this recipe, so I heated it up and added a bit more chocolate so that there would be enough to cover the whole cake.
I ended up doubling the brownie recipe because there were going to be so many people at M. and A.’s and still baked in a 9×13 inch pan. In retrospect, a single recipe for that pan would have been enough and then the thin layer of icing wouldn’t have looked so pathetic on such a high cake. Also it took forever to cook the brownies, so next time, make it in two pans. I also only used half a recipe of icing because I only had two cups of powdered sugar. It actually turned out to be just enough. Whew!
I would advise making this cake over two days to let the cake cool before icing it, and let the icing firm up (you can even freeze it if you have room) before putting on the ganache.
The cake went over really well, I only ended up having a tiny piece, the one I photographed, and Rocker Dude didn’t have any, though I think that was more because he was afraid of the mint, though he told me that it was because he had eaten too much meat. Sure.
The brownie recipe can be found here.
Let the brownies cool completely before putting on the icing.
Icing (this is half a recipe, if you want a thicker layer, use a full recipe):
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/4 tsp. mint extract
2-3 tbsp. soymilk
a few drops of green food coloring
Beat the margarine really well, until it is really creamy. Add the powdered sugar slowly and beat until well incorporated. Add the mint extract and the food coloring. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing and add the soymilk 1 tbsp. at a time until you get a nice consistency that you can spread easily.
Spread the icing in a single layer on top of the brownies. Put the brownies in the freezer while you make the ganache.
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips
Heat the cream over a medium flame until it starts bubbling around the edges. Pour over the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute. Mix the chocolate until you have a thick chocolatey mixture. Spread over the icing and return the brownies to the freezer or refrigerator.
Bring to room temperature before serving. Or, eat frozen for a minty treat.