Living as a new immigrant in Israel, it's hard to know where to find specialty baking ingredients. When I mean specialty, I mean ingredients that appear in every American supermarket but are hard to come by here. But as an American living in Israel, knowing the supermarkets that carry an array of American baking products is crucial. One of these markets is in the center of Jerusalem, where a lot of affluent Americans live. At this market I got my hands on, canned pumpkin (gasp), corn syrup, and..... Peppermint extract! This one was a real find. Of course I was going to by it to add to my ever growing collection of extracts. To justfiy its price tag, I decided that I had to use it right away and there was no better opportunity than Shabbat dinner. I was hosting so as usual I opted for a dessert. This recipe for Chocolate Mint Squares is taken from the King Arthur Flour Baking Companion but can be found here. This was an easy to put together but really yummy bar cookie. It tasted just like York Peppermint Patties! (Sorry, never had a Girl Scout Thin Mint... not kosher.) They were really light and refreshing, thanks to that peppermint flavor. The chocolate layer was dense and moist and the frosting was just perfect. The chocolate glaze really adds to the overall look of the bar as well. Now that I have the extract, I would definitely make it again.... if there weren't a million other recipes I'm waiting to try. I made the the bottom part ahead of time and frosted and glazed the next day. Take care to grease the pan well; lightly just won't cut it. It didn't stick that badly, but I had to scrape underneath thereby ruining the pan. Also, next time I would make more frosting as the amount yielded looked a bit anemic on top. For a thicker bottom, you could always use an 8x8 inch pan, and the frosting might not be as problematic.
Eggs, sugar and extract.
All mixed together. Melting chocolate and margarine..and incorporating it into the egg-sugar mixture.
Here's what it looks like..
Adding the flour and salt..
The batter in the pan ready for baking......baked with a lovely top crust.
Powdered sugar, melted margarine and extract, and some water...and we have frosting!
Spread frosting as evenly as possible over the top. An offset spatula is very helpful. More chocolate and margarine...