A Summer Dessert They'll Go Wild For

Memorial Day signals the beginning of cookout season and that means bringing a dish to share wherever you go. I'm happy to bring whatever is required and find that having a short, delicious list of recipes at the ready is ideal. When dessert is asked of me I like to make this Mint Brownie Tart. It is a snap to make and tastes like a grown up Junior Mint. Who doesn't love that?

Every time I bring this treat the crowd goes wild because it has a bit of everything. The chocolate brownie bottom always makes the kids happy, and the grown ups like the fluffy mint frosting. Together it makes the perfect package, especially when topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

For the baker the best part about this dessert is that it can be made ahead. In fact, it tastes better when it is made before-hand because the brownie has a chance to cool and get fudgy. Also, the cooler it is the easier it is to slice.

Having a repertoire of go-to family-friendly recipes to turn to on a moment's notice is the theme of my latest cookbook, The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year. It is filled with delicious recipes and practical advice that will help you fill your home and your loved ones with food everyone will enjoy.

Recipe: Mint Brownie Tart

Makes 1 10-inch tart

For the Brownie:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (do not use chocolate chips), divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons crí¨me de menthe (or substitute 1/2 tsp. mint extract and green food coloring)
  1. To make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour the inside of a 10-inch tart pan and set aside.
  2. Combine 14 ounces of the chocolate and the butter in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second bursts until the butter and chocolate have melted completely together. Stir them until they form a smooth chocolate sauce. Set aside and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Stir this into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the baking powder, flour, and salt. Fold this into the chocolate mixture until no white streaks are visible. Pour the batter into the prepared tart pan and use a spatula to spread the top evenly.
  5. Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is set and the cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving or frosting.
  6. To make the frosting: Whisk together the butter, confectioners' sugar, and crí¨me de menthe. It should get fairly thick and turn a light shade of green. If it still seems a little runny, pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up. Spread it evenly on top of the brownie tart.
  7. Finely chop the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate and scatter it over the mint frosting. Slice and serve.

Kelsey Banfield is the author of The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year. In it you'll find all sorts of edible crafts, menus for festive occasions, and tips for your family garden. Follow Kelsey on Twitter.

Watch editor Joy Howard demonstrate how to make this festive, summery cupcake that masquerades as a snow cone.

Images courtesy of Kelsey Banfield

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