Layered Mint Chocolate Brownies

Remember when Brooke and Karin were dating in high school and Karin made these brownies for Brooke and dropped them of at our house before Brooke got home... and we ate them... ALL (and Brooke was furious)? Me too.

Brownie Layer
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla

Mint Frosting Layer
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1/8 - 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (you can always add more if you would like)
1 drop green food coloring (optional)

Chocolate layer
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 Tbsp unsalted butter

Brownies: Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 (glass) pan or line with parchment. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder together in a small bowl, set aside. Beat butter in a medium bowl at medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat at hight speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the cocoa powder; beat until thoroughly combined. Add eggs and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and blend until a thick, smooth batter forms. Spread into greased pan pan and bake 28 - 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and after 5 minutes loosen edges with a butter knife; this helps prevent brownies from sinking in the center as they cool. Let brownies cool completely.

Frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add half of powdered sugar and  half the milk; beat for 2 minutes on low speed, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 additional minute. Repeat with remaining powdered sugar and milk. Add the peppermint extract and food coloring (if using) and beat on high for 1 full minute. Taste and add a drop or two more peppermint extract if desired. Frost cooled brownies and refrigerate for an hour. This allows the frosting to firm up, which makes spreading the chocolate layer easy.

Chocolate: Melt the butter and chocolate chips in a medium microwave safe bowl for approximately 2 minutes, stirring after each 20 second increment. Once melted and smooth, pour over mint layer and gently spread with the back of a large spoon. Place the brownies back in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.

Cut quickly with a sharp knife while cold. These are decadent little brownies so small squares are just right.


Yellow Curried Lentils (slow cooker style)

This is an adapted recipe from The Indian Slow Cooker, a cook book that I would highly recommend. These recipes couldn't be easier or more satisfying since you get so much more than you put in. Having the right spices is a must, as in all Indian food.

2 cups lentils (I prefer red for their color)
1 onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 medium potatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp yellow curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp salt
6 cups water
1 can coconut milk or 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt

1. Sort and rinse the lentils. Put lentils, vegetables, oil, spices, salt, and water in a slow cooker.
2. Cook on low for 4 hours then on high for one last hour (lentils should be completely broken down). Turn slow cooker off.
3. Stir in the coconut milk or yogurt. Let the curry sit for at least 20 minutes to an hour allowing the flavors meld.
4. Serve over basmati rice or brown rice.

Feel free to add fresh or frozen peas before you stir in the coconut milk or yogurt for an extra veggie.