Mint and Chocolate Fudge Oreo Bars
Happy Saint Paddy’s Day! 13 days early. It falls on Sunday, March 17 this year.
You have almost 2 weeks to make these and I highly recommend them.
I almost didn’t make the bars and they only came about because of multiple caketastrophes last week. I was trialing a chocolate-mint loafcake-bread and it kept failing. It tasted great, but it wasn’t pretty. I almost made cupcakes, but was already inundated with cake, nor did I want to pipe frosting. So, I made layered bars. Pans of bars are nearly foolproof, and aside from a ten-minute baking session to set the crust, they’re nearly no-bake and come together in under a half hour.
For St. Paddy’s Day last year, I made Triple Layer Fudgy Mint Oreo Brownies and in the last year, they’ve been pinned over 200,000 times. Suffice to say, they’ve been popular. Other extremely popular recipes include Homemade Thin Mints (no-bake, vegan) and Old-Fashioned Butter Mints (no-bake, gluten-free). They were both in the Top 10 Most Viewed Recipes of 2012. You all love your mint and I wanted to make something you’d like.
For the crust, I used Chocolate-Filled Oreos and ground them in my food processor with melted Kerrygold Unsalted Butter. It’s basically the same crust used in Marshmallow Oreo Cookie S’mores Bars and I loved that crust. I used chocolate-filled Oreos because I wanted extra chocolaty-ness, but original white-filled Oreos are fine. I’d be careful about using the mint-filled because they could make the bars overly minty.
Press the buttery crumbs into a foil lined 8-by-8-inch baking pan, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust sets up a bit. Because the crust is so dark, it’s hard to tell set from not set, but it will start drying out and getting lighter in color around the perimeter of the pan after about 10 minutes. That’s all you’re looking for. Don’t bake longer than 12 minutes or crust will be prone to cracking and crumbling when slicing the bars.
For the next layers, I took my love of Creme de Menthe Bars (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free) and made cheater’s fudge in the microwave in one minute for both the mint and chocolate fudge layer. The layers are firmer, denser, and more fudge-like than creme de menthe bars, but similar in flavor.
Don’t start these layers until your crust is out of the oven. They go fast, literally in 1 minute, and you don’t want them to set up until the pan is right there and you can pour the hot mixture over the crust. Work quickly through these layers. Focus and don’t stop to text your friends or put Barbie’s dress on.
In one small bowl, add one heaping cup of white chocolate chips. In another small bowl, add one heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. When I say ‘heaping cup’, that’s somewhere in between 1 and 1.25 cups, but I dislike saying 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chips. If you have a few extra chips in the end of a bag and it’ll use up the whole bag, then use 1.25 cups.
Take one can (14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk and pour half over the white chips, and half over the semi-sweet. You don’t have to measure, just eyeball it. Microwave the white chip bowl for 30 seconds, and stop to stir to combine. Heat in 10-second bursts until it can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is notorious for scorching, seizing up, and being finicky. Heat until just melted, no more. Mine took 45 seconds. If it’s easier for you to melt over a double-boiler, do so.
After mixture is smooth, add the peppermint extract, food coloring, and stir to combine. Work quickly because it’ll start setting up very quickly. Pour mixture over crust layer; smooth it with an offset knife; set pan aside.
As I always do every time I post a mint recipe, my caveats about peppermint extract. Do not be tempted to add more than 1/2 teaspoon. It’s very powerful and potent; far more than vanilla extract or other extracts. A little goes a very, very long way. If you add too much, your bars will taste like mouthwash or be inedible. If you like desserts that are along the barely-there-hint-of-mint side, you may wish to start with 1/4 teaspoon mint extract, and add more to taste. I find 1/2 teaspoon to be perfect and the mint intensity resembles a standard creme de menthe or grasshopper bar.
I use a grocery store brand of peppermint extract, sold in the baking aisle for $2.99 There are a variety of extracts with similar names: peppermint, mint, and spearmint extract; and there’s peppermint oil. Do not confuse peppermint extract and oil; oil is far stronger and not recommended.
What I use can be seen in the photo below from the Thin Mints post.
Heat the semi-sweet chips and sweetened condensed milk the same way as the white chips, stir until smooth, and pour over the mint layer. The semi-sweet chocolate may take slightly longer to melt than the white. It may seem like chocolate is a little skimpy and doesn’t fully cover the mint layer, but when it sets up, it’s fine.
If desired, make a swirled or marbled pattern over the top surface of the chocolate with the tip of the knife, zig-zagging back and forth very lightly, not going very deep to avoid blurring the mint and chocolate layers. You’re just making a design on the superficial surface layer for cosmetic appeal. This is your safety valve in case your chocolate work was less than perfect and your fudge was setting up before you planned and got a little funny-looking. It’s a nice camouflage. You planned it that way, right? Sprinkle sanding sugar or sprinkles over the top if desired before the chocolate sets up completely.
Place pan in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before slicing and serving. Don’t slice these too early; have some patience or you’ll end up with a mess.
The photos show the pieces as 2-inch squares (a yield of 16 bars). However, they are very rich and half that size is likely more appropriate, sliced into one-inch squares (a yield of 32 small bars). It’s a royal pain photographing things that are one-inch big, which is why I sliced them as I did, but unless you want to do extra cardio, slicing them on the smaller side is recommended. To prevent the crust from crumbling as much, allow the bars to come to room temp for 10 minutes prior to slicing.
I am the queen of ‘nothing is ever too rich’, and these are rich, courtesy of the three layers. The cookie crust adds tons of crunchy texture and makes two layers of decadent fudge do-able. On it’s own, traditional fudge isn’t really my thing. It’s too uniform, homogenous, and usually it’s too sweet. The cookie crust breaks up that monotony.
Unlike traditional fudge where tons of granulated sugar is added, the sweetness for the entire recipe comes from one can of sweetened condensed milk, which lends a creamy sweetness rather than a toothache, cloyingly-sweet sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, they’re sweet, but they’re more rich than sweet.
The semi-sweet chocolate used and the chocolate-filled Oreos also help the chocolate intensity stay strong, but it’s mint that dominates. They’re definitely mint-chocolate bars, rather than chocolate-mint bars, but the mint isn’t overpowering in the least. I find York Peppermint Patties to have more of a throat-cutting mint quality. These are smoother, like a perfect creme de menthe bar.
The fudge is solid and firm rather than being oozing or squishy. You can really take a nice chomp-down before hitting the cookie crust. When you get all the flavors and textures in one big bite, it’s a chocolate-mint, crunchy-smooth, firm-soft-dense party going on.
I’ll be breaking this recipe out pre-Christmas too, when the easy, fast, almost no-bake recipes are so welcome in a sea of fussy and time-consuming rollout cookies.
For now, I need to wash this down with a glass of green milk. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
Mint and Chocolate Fudge Oreo Bars
These three-layered bars are easy to make and are almost no-bake. Aside from baking the crust for 10 minutes, the remaining layers are stirred together by melting chocolate in the microwave. The bars are full of mint flavor, a perfect complement for the chocolate fudge and the chocolate-filled Oreo cookie crust. The bars are similar in flavor to creme de menthe bars, but they’re fudgier, denser, and have more texture from the crunchy cookie crust. For those who like mint, chocolate, and easy-but-decadent desserts, this is for you. Especially perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas cookie exchanges, and holiday entertaining.
For the Crust
For the Mint and Chocolate Fudge Layers
1 heaping cup white chocolate chips (or about 7 ounces white chocolate, chopped)
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or about 7 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped)
one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, or to taste* (make sure to read caveat below)
about 5 drops green food coloring, or as desired
sanding sugar or sprinkles for dusting top, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F, line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aide.
- For the Crust – Place Oreos in a food processor with melted butter, and process until very fine. (This can be done by hand by placing Oreos in a large ziplock and rolling over it with a rolling pin or similar heavy object like a coffee can. Transfer crumbs into large mixing bowl, add the butter, and stir until combined) Transfer buttery crumbs to prepared pan, and pack them down using your hands or a spatula. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just set. The crust is dark and it’s hard to determine set from not set, but it will start drying out and getting lighter in color around the perimeter of the pan after about 10 minutes. That’s all you’re looking for; don’t bake longer than 12 minutes or crust will be prone to cracking and crumbling when slicing the bars. Set pan aside.
For the Mint and Chocolate Fudge Layers
- Do not start this until crust is out of the oven because it goes fast and you don’t want fudge to set up until pan is out of the oven. Work quickly when preparing these layers.
- Place white chocolate chips in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Place semi-sweet chocolate chips in another small, microwave-safe bowl. Pour half the sweetened condensed milk over the white chips, and the remaining half over the semi-sweet chips; set chocolate bowl aside. Just eyeball dividing the milk, you don’t have to measure.
- Mint Layer – Heat white chocolate mixture on high power for 30 seconds to melt, stop to stir. Heat in 10-second bursts until mixture can be stirred smooth. Note – white chocolate is notorious for scorching, seizing up, and being finicky. Heat until just melted, no more. Mine took 45 seconds. If it’s easier for you to melt over a double-boiler, do so. After mixture is smooth, add the peppermint extract, food coloring, and stir to combine. Work quickly because fudge will start setting up very quickly. Pour mixture over crust layer; smooth it with an offset knife; set pan aside.
- *Caveat about peppermint extract – Do not be tempted to add more than 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. It’s very powerful; far more powerful than vanilla extract or other extracts, and a little goes a very, very long way. If you add too much, your bars will taste like mouthwash or be overpowering and edible. Do not confuse peppermint extract with peppermint oil. If you like desserts that are more of a hint-of-mint, you may wish to start with 1/4 teaspoon mint extract, and add more to taste, remembering that when tasting, it’s going to have lots of strong chocolate to compete with. I find 1/2 teaspoon to be perfect, resembling standard creme de menthe bar intensity.
- Chocolate Fudge Layer – Heat chocolate and sweet milk mixture on high power for 30 seconds to melt, stop to stir. Heat in 10-second bursts until mixture can be stirred smooth. Semi-sweet chocolate may take slightly longer to melt than the white, about 1 minute total. Pour chocolate over mint layer, smooth with an offset knife. It may seem like chocolate is a little skimpy and doesn’t fully cover the mint layer, but when it sets up, it will be fine. If desired, make a swirled or marbled pattern by zigzagging very lightly over the top surface of the chocolate with the tip of the knife, taking care not to go very deep and not to blur the mint and chocolate layers together; just make a design in the superficial surface layer for cosmetic appeal (In case your chocolate work was less than perfect, this is a nice camouflage). Sprinkle sanding sugar or sprinkles over the top, as desired, before chocolate fully sets up.
- Cover pan with aluminum foil to prevent it from taking on fridge smells, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before slicing and serving; do not slice too early or bars will be a mess. The photos show the pieces as 2-inch squares (a yield of 16 bars). However, they are very rich and half that size is likely more appropriate, cut into one-inch squares (a yield of 32 small bars). Bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, but likely, up to one month; of course, use your judgment.
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Triple Layer Fudgy Mint Oreo Brownies – This post has been repinned 200,ooo+ times in the last year. I posted it almost a year ago to the date (Feb 27, 2012). When I posted it, I had no idea it would catch on like it did and although it didn’t make my Top 10 Most Viewed Recipes of 2012 list, it was close. This photo sums up what’s going on in all the layers. Definitely minty brownies whereas today’s recipe is minty chocolate bars
Homemade Thin Mints (no-bake, vegan) – Made the Top 10 Most Viewed Recipes list and they’re so easy, authentic, and almost too good to be true
Old-Fashioned Butter Mints (no-bake, gluten-free) – Also made the Top 10 Most Viewed Recipes list and if you enjoy creamy, smooth, old-fashioned mints, they’re so easy to make at home
Creme de Menthe Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF) – An oldie but a goodie. A vegan and gluten-free recipe for the classic minty bars
Nutella Brownie Truffle Bites (no-bake with vegan and GF options) – A cross between fudge and slice-able truffles. Because they’re made in a pan, there’s no rolling into balls like with most truffles, making these no-bake, ultra-fudgy and rich little squares even faster to make
Peppermint White Hot Chocolate -Creamy white hot chocolate that’s spiked with a bit of mint. Soothing, warm and comforting, easy and can be made in about 5 minutes in the microwave
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge – Foolproof fudge that’s made in the microwave in under 3 minutes, uses 3 ingredients, with no white sugar added. Curious?
Marshmallow Oreo Cookie S’mores Bars – The crust from these bars is what inspired the crust for today’s recipe. Between the Oreo crust, the gooey marshmallows, and creamy caramels, they’re an easy but very satisfying treat
Are you a fan of mint? Mint + chocolate? Oreos?
St. Paddy’s Day plans?
Thanks for the Mountain or Cruiser Bike and Dasani Water Giveaway and Gourmet Hot Chocolate and Handmade Marshmallows Giveaway entries!