Luscious mint brownies with creme de menthe cream cheese filling and dark chocolate mint ganache topping. A most elegant and crowd pleasing holiday favorite!Jump to Recipe
There are a lot of desserts which have their origins in cocktails, but The Grasshopper is an infamous sticky sweet concoction that stands out. The original recipe for the Grasshopper cocktail has equal parts crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and heavy cream. The Grasshopper was created in New Orleans during the early 20th century but became very popular in the 1950’s and led to the creation of a pie by the same name. Today, many different dessert versions of the Grasshopper can be found, like these luscious Grasshopper Bars. I have been making these every holiday season for decades and they are the most requested treat in my “12 Days of Holiday Baking” repertoire!
Grasshopper Bars require a bit of planning and time, but the efforts are worth every minute! First, the crème de menthe laden brownie layer is baked, cooled and removed from the pan for ease of cutting the finished product.
A creamy layer of confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese and more of that verdant crème de menthe is spread atop the brownie layer.
Refrigeration after this step helps firm up the filling and prevent the dark chocolate mint ganache from melting into it during the next step of layering.
Dark chocolate, heavy cream and….yes…more minty liqueur are melted together, cooled slightly (but still pourable) and spread over the filling in an even layer.
Next step is optional, but to me provides the crowning glory for these sophisticated treats.
Using a “cake comb”, which is a baker’s tool for adding texture to icings or glazes, the ganache can be swirled into decorative waves while still semi-pliable. You will not want to attempt this step when the ganache is still runny, as the swirls will not hold. Waiting too long will make the ganache difficult to maneuver. Test a small area with your cake comb or other tool before attempting the whole surface.
Assembling the bars on a large cutting board provides the easiest and “neatest” set up for cutting (which can be a bit messy). I highly recommend chilling the bars uncovered (or even freezing slightly) until very firm and then using a sharp, thin-bladed long knife to cut rows and then smaller squares or rectangles. Placing the bars in mini cupcake or truffle papers adds an extra fancy touch. This also makes placing them on platters or plates for serving quite tidy!
Festive Wine Pairings:
In the interest of spreading some holiday cheer, I also have two wine recommendations that work wonderfully well with these rich and minty Grasshopper Bars.
First is the Cannonball 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon. The dark forest berry and smoky mocha aromas and flavors in this wine create a delightful pairing with the dark, minty chocolate and tangy creamy filling of the Grasshopper Bars.
An equally delicious option is the Mad Hatter 2019. This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc has plenty of black cherry and plum encased in dark chocolate and baking spice making it a truly sophisticated match for the minty, dark chocolate Grasshopper Bars.
- Cake comb (optional)
- 4 oz. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 8 oz. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 tablespoons Crème de Menthe
- 1 cup flour, all purpose or GF blend
- 1 teaspoon salt
CREAM CHEESE LAYER:
- 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons Crème de Menthe
- 8 oz. good quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 6 oz. heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons Crème de Menthe
For the Brownies:
- Combine cocoa, melted butter and brown sugar until smooth in a large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in vanilla and Crème de Menthe. Add flour and salt and mix until well-blended.
- Bake at 325° for 20 minutes in a greased and parchment-lined 13×9 inch pan—DO NOT OVERBAKE!
- Cool completely and refrigerate or put in freezer until well-chilled.
- At this point I carefully remove the entire brownie layer from the pan, peel off the parchment and place on a cutting board so it is ready for the next two layers and easier to slice at the end. You can also just leave everything in the pan and cut them out of there.
For the Cream Cheese Layer:
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until very fluffy. Carefully mix in powdered sugar and crème de menthe and beat for several minutes until well combined.
- Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate until well-chilled and firm.
For the Ganache:
- Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl with room to add the cream.
- Bring cream just to a boil in a saucepan and immediately pour over chocolate.
- Whisk until smooth and add the crème de menthe. Cool until slightly thickened, but still pourable and pour evenly over the chilled cream cheese layer.
- Refrigerate until ganache is set and cut into bars. Enjoy!!