Creme de Menthe Bars


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These bars are what the Christmas season means to me and conjure up wonderful childhood memories.

I grew up eating them and if there’s one thing that represents holiday baking, Christmas, and Santa is coming, this is it.

Creme de Menthe Bars - A classic holiday treat that everyone loves! Easy recipe at

It’s my mom’s recipe from the 1970s, and she got it from a woman in rural Minnesota. I didn’t grow up in sunny San Diego. I grew up where it was freezing cold and making Christmas candy with two and a half sticks of butter and liqueur in it just to stay warm is a requirement.

The recipe makes a 9-by-13-inch pan, and I really wanted to halve the recipe and make an 8-by-8-inch pan, but that’s not how my mom did it, and I didn’t want to mess with perfection. Yes, they’re perfect, and if you make one mint dessert this season, this is my vote.

Creme de Menthe Bars - A classic holiday treat that everyone loves! Easy recipe at

Because they’re so rich, you only need a small square. Or four. However, if you don’t relish tons of cardio, donate half the pan to the next holiday party you’re attending. You’ll be very popular.

They keep for ages in the fridge and til probably the 4th of July in the freezer, so feel free to make far in advance and just pull them out for last minute holiday parties. Or it’s midnight and you just have to have chocolate.

They’re almost no-bake and although they’re a three-layer bar, they’re easy. First, make the base by combining chocolate wafer crumbs with 1 stick of butter, cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, an egg, and baking briefly. This is the only baked portion of the recipe.

Creme de Menthe Bars - A classic holiday treat that everyone loves! Easy recipe at

I used and recommend Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. If you took an Oreo, just the chocolate cookie part, minus the white filling, and flattened it into a thin disc, that’s what the wafers are. Same flavor, and when crushed, they’re the chocolate cookie equivalent of graham cracker crumbs. They’ve been around since the 1920s and they’re a bit of a PITA to find in grocery stores, so you may need to check a few.

I struck out at Ralph’s (Kroger), but had success at Albertson’s (Safeway). They weren’t kept near the Oreos or other cookies, and instead were randomly kept with the ice cream toppings. I’m sure that back in the day, the wafers were common, but if you can’t find them, use regular Oreos.

Creme de Menthe Bars - A classic holiday treat that everyone loves! Easy recipe at

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. You’ll need (another) stick butter, more confectioners’ sugar, and most notably creme de menthe liqueur. I found a huge bottle that’ll last me at least a decade for $5 bucks. The liqueur is clear, not green, so if you want a minty-looking color, use green food coloring.

After pouring the filling over the crust, pop the pan into the freezer for an hour to make sure it sets up well. You want it nice and cold before pouring the melted chocolate top layer on it.

When you’re ready to make the chocolate layer, melt together more butter (half stick this time) with chocolate chips and shortening. This is the only deviation from my mom’s recipe. She uses 1/2 cup chocolate chips but I can’t stretch 1/2 cup chips to cover a 9×13 pan. There are worse things than being a thick chocolate spreader.

I used 3/4 cup and also added 2 tablespoons shortening. If you’re opposed to shortening, omit it. However, I;m prone to chocolate-butter top layers cracking and shortening helps combat it. You may still get a some cracking, but not as badly.

Creme de Menthe Bars - A classic holiday treat that everyone loves! Easy recipe at

Pop the pan back in the freezer for another hour or so before slicing. When chilled and cool, the bars aren’t messy or runny. If your kitchen gets on the warm side like mine did the day I photographed these, they may get a little oozy. In Minnesota, Christmas did not mean 80F temps in the kitchen like it does in San Diego in November or December.

They’re minty, but not overpowering in the least. They’re not super sweet, nor are they intensely chocolaty. They’re a perfect balance of all those elements.

The base is where the crunch and texture resides, and it’s a wonderful contrast against the smooth, creamy, minty filling. The top chocolate layer has a gentle snap, and perfectly encases the filling. I could eat the filling with a spoon, but who doesn’t love butter and sugar, spiked with booze.

Creme de Menthe Bars - A classic holiday treat that everyone loves! Easy recipe at

Yes, I ate these as a child. There’s only 1/3-cup liqueur in an entire pan, which makes 48 pieces. I consumed more alcohol from the Robitussin that I practically mainlined with all the winter colds I had growing up.

These are what Christmas tastes like.

Creme de Menthe Bars - A classic holiday treat that everyone loves! Easy recipe at

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Yield: one 9x13 pan, 24 to 48 servings depending on size of pieces

Creme de Menthe Bars

Creme de Menthe Bars

These bars are what the Christmas season means to me and conjure up wonderful childhood memories. They’re almost no-bake, and although they’re a three-layer bar, they’re easy. They’re minty, but not overpowering. They’re not super sweet, nor are they intensely chocolaty. They’re a perfect balance of all those elements. The base is where the crunch resides, and it lends a contrasting texture against the smooth, creamy, minty filling. The top chocolate layer has a gentle snap, and perfectly encases the filling. I use and recommend Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, but if you can’t find them, substitute with regular Oreos. Make sure to chill the bars properly before slicing. They keep for ages in the fridge or freezer, making them a great make-ahead party dessert.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used and recommend Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup cream de menthe liqueur
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • green food coloring, optional and as necessary (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of 1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco), optional (helps chocolate melt smoother and be less prone to cracking upon slicing)
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Base – In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add egg, chocolate cookie crumbs (grind cookies in food processor until you have 2 cups of crumbs), confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and stir until combined.
  5. Turn mixture out into prepared pan to create an even flat layer, pressing it and packing it lightly with a spatula to smooth it.
  6. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, or just until crust has set. Set pan aside to cool while making the middle layer.
  7. Middle – In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  8. Allow butter to cool momentarily and to it add creme de menthe, confectioners’ sugar, optional food coloring, and whisk until blended or beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  9. Turn mixture out over the cooled base to create an even flat layer, smoothing it lightly with a spatula.
  10. Place pan in refrigerator or freezer for at least 1 hour to chill.
  11. Topping –  In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  12. Add the optional shortening, chocolate chips, and stir until smooth. If chips are resistant to melting, return bowl to microwave and heat in 10-second bursts until mixture can be stirred smooth.
  13. Allow mixture to cool slightly (about 3 minutes) and pour over the mint layer to create an even flat layer, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. If your mint layer was well-chilled, the chocolate will start setting up very quickly, so you may need to work quickly to smooth it.
  14. Place pan in refrigerator or freezer for at least 1 hour to chill before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight in the refrigerator for at least 1 month and in the freezer for at least 6 months.

Recipe from my mother, Marsha T., who got this recipe in the 1970s from a woman in rural Minnesota

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 1g

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Thanks for the entries in the West Elm $50 Gift Card Giveaway

Have you tried Creme de Menthe or Grasshopper Bars?


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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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  1. Found this recipe tonight and it’s exactly what I was hoping for to make as gifts for Christmas! I’m sure they’ll be delicious! What also caught my eye was the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers referenced in your recipe. There was a very simple, but absolutely delicious dessert my mom used to make with the wafers – for company only! It was a log consisting of the Nabisco chocolate wafers sandwiched between layers of a whipped cream/confectioners sugar blend which was also spread over the entire “log”. She would refrigerate the log overnight and serve for her guests. I was always thrilled to have a piece after the grownups left – IF there was any left! It was a simple, yet delicious dessert. I also chuckled when I read your comment about growing up, not in sunny San Diego, but in a cold Minnesota where butter and liqueur kept you warm! Yep- that sounds about right – here in Wisconsin we did the same thing. Some of the best desserts had lots of butter and often a touch of liqueur. And during those blustery winter storms… hot buttered rum really hit the spot! :) I’m looking forward to trying this and several other recipes I spotted here on your site. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
    1. I am glad you found the recipe too and can relate to cold weather and your mom’s dessert sounds so classic and so good!

  2. Hi,
    These look SOOOOOOOOOOO good!!! I would like to know if I could use any other ingredient in place of the liqueur???


    1. Impossible to make authentic creme de menthe bars without using creme de menthe, hence the recipe title. You could use mint extract but you would need to play around with the amount. And the flavor quality of mint extract is not like using creme de menthe; it lacks oomph and just authenticity. I really recommend using the real thing if possible!

  3. These would have been soooo delicious had I not put that darn Crisco in that was suggested! Bleh! Totally ruined the bars- I had to throw them away! Will be remaking them without the Crisco. Everyone looking to try- skip the Crisco and you will be happy you did!

  4. These are killing me!! (In a good way!) ;) I am loving that bright festive green!! They sound amazing girl!

  5. Chocolate and mint has been my favorite flavor combo since childhood and I love that the holidays gives you an excuse – no obligation! – to eat as much of it, in rich, decadent bar form, as possible. Your mom’s recipe looks wonderful.

  6. Nabisco has been around since the 1920’s! My favorite era, no wonder I adore their hard-to-find wafers. These bars look delish, Averie. Thanks for sharing a family recipe!

  7. Chocolate and creme de menthe are perfect together! I love creme de menthe bars, I can’t wait to make a batch of my own!

  8. Great minds think alike, mint brownies have been on my menu this week and yours are making me so excited to make them! Brownies are the best!

    1. I actually have a couple more posts for mint/choc that are sponsored that I have to hold off on til Dec but gosh girl, I have been going nuts already with mint + choc! Can’t wait to see yours!

  9. Gosh that lacquered chocolate topping is calling my name. You just can’t beat that neon green menthe! I love it!

  10. Family recipes are always the best. We don’t have that “one” recipe we make every Christmas, but I know what it should be now! I love that super green color. And all the layers – crunchy, creamy, and chocolaty! All the best qualities in one bite. :)

  11. That color green is stunning!
    What great photos Av!
    I love mint and chocolate, but I want to make these just for that color pop!

    1. They’re so fun. Unapologetically bright and that’s how they did it in the 70s! Not shy with the green food coloring!

  12. Mint chocolate is my all time favorite. I know I’ll be making these this Christmas. Pinning!

  13. Chocolate and peppermint has to be one of my favourite combinations. It really reminds me of my childhood and having peppermint hot chocolate while setting up the Christmas tree.

    It brings back warm memories! I can’t wait to try this.

  14. This comment has nothing to do with todays recipe but I thought you would get a kick out of it. We are going to our son’s home for thanksgiving this year. He does not usually have a traditional dinner with turkey, dressing etc. So I made a small one for my husband and myself. I made your honey butter rolls for the first time. After my husband had eaten all that he could hold, even refusing a slice of pie (for now) he said” I am so miserable right now, but I have to have another roll. Please don’t forget how you made them.” lol lol
    Another win for Averie!! CJ

    1. Oh what a great story! I’m glad that the rolls are a big hit and that you plan to remember where you got the recipe from and how you made them…..ahhh, classic :) Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  15. You can just send those right on over to my house! I would eat that whole 9 x 13 pan myself! These look dangerous! Yum!

  16. This dessert is the combination of all sweets that I adore. Combination of mint and chocolate is really wonderful. I used to buy such candies but now I`m happy that I can make them by myself.

  17. Now, I remember grasshopper cookies and LOVED those. I remember having them by the pool one day and they got nice and soft. Fantastic in ice cream ;-) These look fantastic.

  18. These look awesome, Averie. It’s so nice to have such great holiday memories tied to baked goods and food, because then whenever you bake them again the memories just keep flooding back. :) I’ve never had creme de menthe bars, it’s usually Nanaimo bars for Christmas but since I love mint and chocolate, I bet I would love these!

  19. My best friend’s mom makes these EVERY year, and every year I get sick off them and it is SO WORTH IT. These are what Christmas is to me! EXACTLY!!

    I think she makes hers with a brownie layer on the bottom, but the gist is the same and they are so rich and so sweet and OH MY GOD I WANT ONE NOW!!

    We call them Minty Num Nums. :D

    I’m sure you’ve heard this, but the FDA may be banning trans fats in the coming futures, which means that Crisco is going to be re-formulating it’s shortening. Might want to stock up now.

    1. Oh is it transfat that makes my chocolate so smooth and less prone to cracking? If so, yes, I need to hoard some trans fat :) Good Lord, always something. I wonder what’s in things like ‘white chocolate’ Candiquik or chocolate that’s made to be melted for the purpose of dipping things like truffles – where you don’t want it to set up too fast and you don’t want it to be too thick. There is nothing like a tbsp or two of shortening that gives those results! But I digress.

      Thought of you the whole time I was making these b/c I know my 2009 Creme de Menthe Bars were one of the first blog recipes of mine you made! I remember your holiday photos from those old posts of yours!!

      These are actually not ‘that’ sweet. Yes they are sweet but no where near like a piece of bday cake with frosting. Nothing like that. I think it’s b/c these don’t use Oreos and instead use the wafer crumbs so all that Oreo white filling and sweetness isn’t there and then the booze and the chocolate also cut the sweetness too. I know there are bars like this that have that shocking fudge-like sweetness where your teeth hurt but thankfully these aren’t like that. They are soooo rich though! :)

  20. Sadly, only 50% of my family likes mint (guess which side of the coin I fall on!). I love that you access your midwestern roots from time to time. No matter how sophisticated we try to make our recipes, there’s just something heartwarming about a blast from the past.

    I tried your one hour breadsticks last night and they were a hit–but next time I need to score them more deeply as they got so puffy I had to re-slice them after baking!

    1. That’s great that the breadsticks puffed up so well for you! You could also roll the dough thinner, that will help; as will scoring more deeply. But pull-apart bread is trendy now so it’s all good!

      And yes to midwestern roots and keeping things unsophisticated and old school :)

  21. These look fabulous, I have got to make these, perfect for Christmas! Delicious and we love anything minty too (my daughter is called Minty)!

  22. Alright, so I grew up thinking mint and chocolate and really any mint at all was just not good. I still sort of think this only because it is ingrained into me, but all your mint treats are making me think I need to give the combo of mint and chocolate another go! Whether I like mint or not and I can tell these bars are incredible and I love that they are your moms recipe! I wish I had more family recipes, but all I have is one oatmeal cookie bar recipe, a pie and K-bars, but apparently the K-Bars are not such a secret recipe! Not many bakers in my family!
    Anyway, the bars look perfect and I really think I need to rethink this whole mint and chocolate thing!

    1. Girl yes rethink! These would be a hit for you. I know it. I know you cook/bake with booze and this would be right up your alley! Seriously if you make 1 mint recipe all year, this is my vote. I mean I am partial b/c it’s my childhood on a platter but they’re my fave mint dessert recipe, ever! And the thing is that in 75 years YOU will be the one in your family that people will be wishing they had the recipes from…remember old Aunt Tieghan’s brioche muffins or remember her xyz. Yes, you will be the talk of the family. Thank God you are blogging all of it!!!

  23. Gorgeous! Love the bright green color. We have a family creme de menthe bars recipe too that’s slightly different from this but I’d love to try yours! They look So. Good. You can never go wrong with chocolate and mint for the holidays! :)

  24. What a great recipe–and even better when it’s from family (btw, our mothers have the same first name)! I never get tired of mint and chocolate–and these look so bright and perfect for the holidays. I love that super dark cookie crust! I remember my parents having creme de menthe–dad always made grasshoppers when they had Christmas parties and I always thought that was the coolest looking drink when I was a kid…a milkshake in a fancy glass for adults!

    1. Grasshoppers. I think I need to make some of those to use the industrial-sized bottle of creme de menthe I now have :) Nice factoid on the names. And my grandma was Martha. My mom was supposed to be Martha too but they went with Marsha at the last second. These bars Paula are without a doubt, my fave mint + choc recipe ever. Nothing ever has (or will) top these!

  25. I love taking a peek at what other people ate during the holidays growing up. As a child of the 70’s we shared many similar bars around the Christmas table. Unapologetically sugar laden and made with love – as all baking should be! (I adore the old-school green of these bars! Brilliant.)

    1. I was a child of the 70s and 80s and yes, unapologetically sugar laden and made with love was the only way my mom and grandma baked. Real ingredients, butter, sugar, flour, and love – they could make anything out of that lineup!

  26. I actually made the grass hopper pie earlier this year. I am in love with the fact it uses marshmallows for the mousse. I like how you made it creamy and bright green. Nothing like a retro dessert to get you in the mood for xmas cheesy-ness.
    I really do not mind feeding boozy desserts to kids, the percentage is way too small to do any harm when you have the first three ingredients on this list as sugar, flours and more sugar.

    1. Totally retro and unapologetically sugar laden is the name of the game with these. And I wish more Americans thought like you did but people are so fanatical with their thinking many times and it over-rides common sense. I love your Aussie spirit!

  27. I love this!! Lolling at the explanation “just to stay warm” I’m in Ireland so I hear you! This is so old-school, but the kind of thing that would be a huge hit over here!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    And congrats on Ellen pinning your vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls, a great achievement- especially given the plagiarism issue with them earlier this year, this is karma! :)

    Have a great day! :)

    1. Wow great memory on that whole plagiarism issue – I had even forgotten about that :) And I bet these bars would work with Baileys or some sort of Irish whisky. Different flavor but same concept. In fact, I may just try that :) And booze + butter just to stay warm, yes, where I grew up is way colder than Ireland. It gets down to -40F degrees. Which is why I live in San Diego now!

  28. These sound amazing. I’ve been wanting to make a pie with creme de menthe, but haven’t gotten around to it. I might have to make these bars instead! Quick question: What kind of lighting do you use for your photos? These are so bright and beautiful!

    1. I use natural lighting, both blocked off with some wood planks, and re-directed with white boards in other directions. It’s a complex answer…and I edit in LR 5.

  29. These look delicious. At home, for Christmas, we usually stick to traditional cookies. Most recipes were handed down to my mom from her grandmother so it’s something I look forward to every year. However, I am quite the rebel and I like throwing in new creations to mix things up. And these are definitely going on my to-try list :)

  30. Yum! This Christmas I intend to put these against MY mom’s mint bars. It is very close to this recipe…except she calls her mint sticks. These sound fanfriggintastic!

  31. Averie, these bars are amazing! You’ve suddenly gotten me so ready for christmas now! I also love that this is your mom’s recipe. I don’t think I have any recipes passed down from my mom – she eyeballed everything and it was all korean food!

    1. Thanks girl. I would love to document more family recipes as a way to help them live on! But like your situation, the really old recipes aren’t/weren’t even written down. They cooked using the eyeball method – same as your situation!