My husband likes to make requests of me, he thinks it makes me feel useful. Some make me furrow my brow not inconsiderably, like the “please sort out the Outlook 2010/IMAP problems”, which has defeated greater minds than mine. Some I greet with whoops of joy, like “please can I have morning tea for ten people for a meeting on Sunday morning”. Catering, but without the paperwork.
I decide to give him tea scented shortbread, ANZAC biscuits, hazelnut biscotti and something chocolate. He put on his sad face and said “but, there aren’t any ginger nuts!”. He keeps asking not to make those because he’ll just be compelled to eat them all, and then where will the schoolgirl figure be? Men. I can just about make them in my sleep, so he got a batch of those. The chocolate brownies I usually make just weren’t quite right, so the kids get them (there’s only three pieces left). I’m wondering if Pepe Saya butter isn’t so great with chocolate or what’s going on. It was the perfect opportunity to make some chocolate mint slice, something I’ve been contemplating for quite some time.
I knew what I wanted was a more robust version of the after dinner mints that I’ve stopped refining because I kept eating them. The Internet wasn’t the place for recipes because a mint slice appears to be one of those weird recipes that people want to make with crushed up mint chocolate bars. Why wouldn’t you just eat the chocolate bar? Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices had the closest to what I was looking for, but it will need to undergo further refinement, so let me know if you want to volunteer for testing.
Even so, this looked like one of those recipes where they’d let their attention wander a bit. The base was unusual, but I took them at their word and it produced a fairly dense cake layer, which worked well when the slice was at room temperature, but not when it had been refrigerated. Here’s how to make the base:
Mix together 2/3 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1/3 of a cup of caster sugar and their grams of softened butter. Stir in a third of a cup of water. Stir in an egg. Pour this lot into a baking paper lined 25 by 30 cm slice tin or, in my case, roasting pan. Bake at 180 degrees for about twenty minutes.
I was happy with the peppermint filling. You mix a tablespoon of vegetable oil with two and quarter cups of icing sugar and one and a half teaspoons of peppermint essence in a heat proof bowl. Actually, it doesn’t mix at all, so you add in three tablespoons of milk. When you’ve incorporated most of the icing sugar and you have a stiff paste, starting mixing it over a saucepan of boiling water until it becomes spreadable. I’d suggest wrapping you hands in a teatowel, steam burns are unpleasant. If you can’t get it to form a paste, add a touch more milk. The recipe oddly didn’t specify the amount of peppermint essence, but I thought one and a half teaspoons was about right. Spread the paste over the slightly cooled base. You want to wait a bit, otherwise you’ll tear the base up. Stick this into the fridge until it’s firm.
They then suggest melting 125 grams of dark chocolate with 90 grams of unsalted butter (in a bowl over boiling water) to spread over the top. Now I know from experience that if you just melt straight chocolate and spread it on the slice you’ll get a chocolate layer that is very delicious but impossible to cut without shattering unless you want to muck around with a hot knife. The butter is to make it softer, but as it turns out I think this combination is too soft, you have to lick your fingers after eating. I might try 40 grams of butter with 170 grams of chocolate next time.
I’m also going to try for more of a biscuit base next time, then I can have the soft chocolate on top and serve it refrigerated. Or if I stick with the cake base, a much firmer chocolate layer. I wouldn’t mind trying this version of peppermint fondant in an after dinner mint either, maybe in disc form dipped in chocolate. But perhaps I should be thinking of my schoolgirl figure.