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La Belle Cuisine - More Cookie Recipes

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Palm Beach Brownies with
Chocolate-Covered Mints




"Cookies are made of butter and love."
~ Norwegian Proverb

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Palm Beach Brownies with
Chocolate-Covered Mints

Maida Heatter's Brand-New
Book of Great Cookies
by Maida Heatter, 1995, Random House


“At a party that Mr. and Mrs. David Brinkley gave in Miami Beach I was
introduced to Mrs. Tip O’Neill. She heard my name and without hesitation
she said, ‘Palm Beach Brownies’. This has happened to me many times. The
recipe for Palm Beach Brownies is one of the two or three most popular
recipes in all of my books.
The original recipe is in my chocolate book, with this introduction: ‘The
biggest, thickest, gooiest, chewiest, darkest, sweetest, mostest-of-the-most…
with an almost wet middle and a crisp-crunchy top.’ This recipe is the same
as the original, but I have added a layer of chocolate-covered mints in the
middle. The mints stay whole (they don’t melt), and they look and taste
gorgeous. The baked cake should be refrigerated for at least a few hours,
or overnight, or frozen for an hour or two before it is cut into bars.”

32 jumbo brownies – actually 6 1/2 pounds of brownies

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces (2 generous cups) walnuts
5 eggs graded “large”
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered
instant espresso (I use Medaglia D’Oro
from an Italian grocery store.)
3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups sifted unbleached flour
Two 14- or 15.4-ounce bags York
chocolate-covered peppermint
patties, unwrapped

Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom and preheat oven to
425 degrees F. Line a 9 by 11 by 2-inch pan as follows: Invert the pan
and center a 17-inch length of aluminum foil, shiny side down, over the
pan. (If you are using a Magic Line® pan that has straight sides and
square corners, use heavy-duty foil or the sharp corners will tear it. This
is a wonderful pan and makes beautiful brownies.) With your hands,
press down on the sides and corners of the foil to shape it to the pan.
Remove the foil. Turn the pan right side up. Place the foil in the pan and
very carefully press it into place in the pan. Now, to butter the foil, place
a piece of butter (additional to that in ingredients) in the pan, and put the
pan in the oven. When the butter is melted use a pastry brush or a piece
of crumpled plastic wrap to spread the butter all over the foil. Set the
prepared pan aside.
Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a large double boiler over
hot water on moderate heat, or in a 4- to 6-cup heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Stir to
mix. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Break the walnuts into large pieces; set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs with the vanilla and almond extracts, salt, espresso, and sugar at high speed for 10 minutes.
On low speed add the chocolate mixture (which may still be warm) and
beat only until mixed. Then add the flour and again beat on low speed
only until mixed. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Stir in the nuts.
Pour half the mixture (about 3 1/2 cups) into the prepared pan and
smooth the top.
Place a layer of the mints, touching each other and the edges of the pan,
all over the chocolate layer. Cut some mints to fill in large spaces on the edges. (You will not use all the mints. There will be some left over.)
Pour the remaining chocolate mixture all over the pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 35 minutes reversing the pan front to back once during baking
to ensure even baking. At the end of 35 minutes the cake will have a firm crust on top, but if you insert a toothpick in the middle it will come out
wet and covered with chocolate. Nevertheless, it is done. Do not bake
any longer.
Remove the pan from the oven; let stand until cool. Cover the pan with a cookie sheet and invert the pan and the sheet. Remove the pan and the
foil lining. Cover the cake with a length of wax paper and another cookie sheet and invert again, leaving the cake right side up.
Now the cake must be refrigerated for a few hours or overnight before it
is cut into bars.
When you are ready to cut the cake, use a long, heavy knife with a sharp blade, either serrated or straight – try both. Cut the cake into quarters. Cut each quarter in half. Cutting through the long sides. Finally, cut each piece into 4 bars, cutting through the long sides. (I think these are better in
narrow bar shapes than in squares.)
Pack in an airtight box, or wrap individually in clear cellophane, wax
paper, or foil.
These freeze perfectly and can be served very cold or at room temperature.

Notes: When you remove the cake from the pan you might see burned edges.
(You might not – it depends on the pan.) If you do, you can leave them on or
cut them off. I cut them off, but I have friends who say this is the best part.
These are huge! For some occasions you might want to cut them smaller.
They are equally delicious, and sometimes they seem more appropriate.

P.S. Once upon a time… I was in the cookie business. I made the original
Palm Beach Brownies (without the mints) and sold them to the Jordan
Marsh department store here in Miami. I wrapped them individually in
clear cellophane and then packaged them in white boxes with clear plastic
tops. I wrote the recipe by hand and had it xeroxed. Each box contained a
dozen brownies and the recipe. Business was great, but it took up almost
all my time. When I started writing cookbooks, I had to quit the brownie
business. But it was wonderful while it lasted.


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