12/15/13

peppermint creme meltaway bars

Peppermint.
For some reason I crave peppermint more so in the winter than any other season.
Do you?
Is there a vitamin or mineral in the mint that my body is lacking?
I don't know, is that true? Whatever veggie, spice, herb or meat you craving consistently is what you are lacking nutritionally?
Anywho.....How did these bars come about?
My yearning for a peppermint meltaway cookie really.
But I couldn't just do a boring slice and bake cookie;  I added a few more steps
--ok a lot more steps, to fancy it up.
Aren't the colors so pretty and festive?
This recipe is fairly quick and easy.  You can make the dough the night before, let it chill out in the
fridge.
Then assemble and bake the next day.
ONE key step to this recipe: the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chunks.
Have you tried these?  It was the first time I'd seen them. I wish I had found them earlier.
What a great and tasty on its own little baking chip: it comes complete with peppermint and white chocolate in one!
When researching these baking chips I had no idea they were owned by tootsie roll.
I found the chips at Walmart in the candy aisle--NOT the baking aisle.
If you can't find these chips?
Take some crushed candy canes and mix with white chocolate chips; equal portion of each.
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These bars are decadent; taste like a shortbread bars but have the consistency and texture of a meltaway.
The middle filling is gentle on the mint.
I didn't want a heavy mint taste in these bars, so I didn't add any mint extract.
If you do a quick taste-test of the cookie dough and want a little bit of mint in there, then feel free to add some. Or add it to the cream cheese filling.
I made the top of the bars have a nice "crumble crunch" to it.
If you flatten the dough pieces as opposed to circle chunks, the flattened pieces will crisp up nicely.
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I made just a little bit of minty icing over the top in order for the sprinkling of chips to stick and stay
on the bars.
And since baking hindsight is 20/20, I could have added a bit of red or even green food coloring
to the icing for a nice festive touch.
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Only saved one for me; the prettiest one in fact. :-)
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peppermint cream meltaway bars
from vanillasugarblog.com

cookie dough:
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 ts cornstarch
¾ ts sea salt

cream filling:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
3 TB powdered sugar
giant pinch of sea salt
handful (or two) of the Andes Peppermint Crunch chips in the filling
(plus we will use more of the peppermint crunch chips for topping the cream cheese
filling)
you might need some mint extract, if you want a minter filling, optional

topping:
icing (1 cup of powdered sugar, mixed with splash or two of heavy cream, and dash of mint extract)
Andes Peppermint Crunch chips

Cook notes: 
The middle filling is gentle on the mint.
I didn't want a heavy mint taste in these bars, so I didn't add any mint extract.
If you do a quick taste-test of the cookie dough and want a little bit of mint in there, then feel free to add some. Or add it to the cream cheese filling.
I made the top of the bars have a nice "crumble crunch" to it.
If you flatten the dough pieces as opposed to circle chunks, the flattened pieces will crisp up nicely.  I only used about ¾ of the bag of the peppermint crunch chips.
I made just a little bit of minty icing over the top in order for the sprinkling of chips to stick and stay on the bars.
And since baking hindsight is 20/20, I could have added a bit of red or even green food coloring to the icing for a nice festive touch. Also, I love my icing to be very thick, so I only added a splash of heavy cream to the powdered sugar, but if you want to thin it out just add more cream. 

the dough:
Using a mixer or by hand (my method) mix butter and powdered sugar until creamy and no lumps.  Add in the flour, cornstarch and salt.  I used my hands to mix until just combined; no need to over work the dough, we want it to be light and airy, not tough.   This will be a dry dough, that’s ok, just place it on plastic wrap, mold into a large ball or disk and wrap very well and tight. Place in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, turn out the dough onto parchment paper; separate it into 2/3. And 1/3.  The 2/3 is the bottom layer and the 1/3 will be the crumble topping.
Turn the larger dough onto a greased 9 X 13 baking pan. Using your hands spread the dough out evenly into the pan.  If dough is too cold, let it rest a bit and come to try.  If your kitchen runs cold this might take a while.  While you’re waiting, make the filling.

for the filling:
Mix the cream cheese, egg yolk, powdered sugar and handful (or two) of chips in a bowl. Taste-test it and see if you want more mint, if so, add in a dash of mint extract.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Your dough should be nicely and evenly placed out into the baking pan, making sure to get all the corners.  Add on the cream cheese filling. Do not spread the filling to the edges! Next take the peppermint crunch chips and add a layer on top of the filling. How much? Maybe a ½ cup or more; just use your judgment.
Then taking the remaining 1/3 of the dough, place medium size, flattened dough crumbles on the top. No need to push these down into the dough. Just crumble them on like you would a crumb cake.  The flatter the crumb the better chance it has for crisping up. 
Bake about 43 – 55 minutes. My oven runs horrid and not so hot, so make sure to check these at the 43-minute mark. Look for golden brown edges and lightly golden brown crumbs on top. 
While the bars are baking make the icing by combining the powdered sugar with the dash of mint extract, and heavy cream.  If you want to add in food coloring please do so while mixing. 
When bars have cooled completely, drizzle the icing on top and then top with more of the peppermint crunch chips.
Depending on how you slice them you should get 20 large bars OR 25-30 smaller bars? Make sure to keep them covered in airtight containers.  They should have a shelf life of 3 days.

23 comments:

  1. Yes, please! I'll take two dozen.

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  2. Do you deliver? ;-) These look wonderful - I love peppermint. Terrific recipe - thanks.

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  3. where have I been but I've NEVER seen those Andes. The green ones of course, but not the red! Must.find! Pinned!

    Love the lighting of this shoot. The buttery blonde bars, the pinkish cast of the Andes, the white icing, love it!

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  4. Such beautiful bars! Perfect for Christmas, or any time.

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  5. You know I choose bar making over cookie making almost any day of the week. And I choose peppermint over all other winter flavors. These are perfect.

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  6. You must have the sweetest of dreams! You are always coming up with the best creations. NOM. I am not even a huge peppermint fan and I want one :)

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  7. Lovely! This dessert looks so tasty!

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  8. yummy, going to try this one out asap!

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  9. I saw other mouthwatering photos from another blog that looks very much like yours, but then I guess they aren't really the same:)
    http://shewearsmanyhats.com/2013/12/peppermint-fudge/

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  10. Oh, yes, I'll be needing a batch of these asap! Love those Andes mint chips and anything peppermint. My local grocery store only had cherry candy canes. How is that possible? I'll have to check somewhere else.

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  11. Oh Dawn. They look pretty, festive, and SO DELICIOUS!

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  12. This is exactly what I have been searching for! Thank you - this will be made this year!!!!!

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  13. Ooh la la!
    (That's Francais for OMG!)

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  14. i believe that if you think you can slip some peppermint into a recipe, you should do it. these sound incredible!

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  15. These look incredible!!! I've got to find those andes baking chips. I'm a mint fanatic in the winter too :)

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  16. This is a perfect recipe. I love it. They look so good.

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  17. I haven't seen these! And I am soo disappointed! But I love the basic recipe and may just have to try it with the other Andes mints and peppermint. I like peppermint also in the winter. Maybe because it makes me feel refreshed whereas sometimes winter brings me down! But today in Denver is like Spring! So weird! Thanks Dawn!

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  18. oh man, what a killer Christmas dessert!

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  19. I saw these Andes in the store and didn't get them and now I'm kicking myself! Gotta go back asap! Looks amazing!

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  20. That's a fabulous treat! Your bars are so pretty and tempting.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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I love your comments, they make my day!

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