Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three-Layer Creme de Menthe Bars


I found this new-to-me recipe as I was nostalgically flipping through my late Grandma's recipe box. I remember her making this (or something like it) when I was a child, and wishing there wasn't coconut in the crust because I didn't like coconut at the time. Now, I like the texture and flavor of the coconut in the crust, but my husband isn't crazy about it. If you're not a fan of coconut, I'm sure you could leave it out with no trouble.

Give yourself a few hours to make these because there's cooling time between each layer, but the hands-on time is pretty low.

Three-Layer Creme de Menthe Bars
From a clipped newspaper article in my Grandma's recipe box, with some alterations from me.

Crust:
2 cups graham-cracker crumbs (about 28 squares)
1-1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts (You can use shelled walnuts and chop in the food processor. I put them in the microwave and toast for 30 seconds at a time until they are fragrant)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Creme de Menthe Layer
3-4 cups confectioner's sugar*
1 package (3 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4 tablespoons creme de menthe liqueur
1 Tablespoon milk
Green food coloring, if desired

Glaze:
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For crust, stir together graham cracker crumbs, nuts, coconut, the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, the cocoa powder, 3/4 cup melted butter, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl until well combined. (You can pulse this all in a food processor, which will help chop the nuts and make the coconut a little smaller. But DO NOT process so much that you pulverize the coconut and walnuts -- the base will become crumbly. Press into ungreased 9" by 13" pan (the dough will seem wet and your hands will be covered with melted butter). Bake at 325 degrees 10 to 12 minutes. (It will look wet on top when you take it out of the oven.) Let cool.

2. For Creme de Menthe Layer, beat together 3 cups confectioner's sugar, pudding mix, 1/2 cup soft butter, creme de menthe and milk in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until smooth. Add food coloring, if desired. Taste and check consistency -- it should be thick but spreadable. If needed, gradually add the fourth cup of confectioner's sugar until the desired taste/consistency is reached. Spread evenly over crust (a large offset spatula helps with this). Chill until firm, at least for 30 minutes.

3. For Chocolate Layer, combine the chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in a small bowl. Microwave at 30-second intervals until softened. Spread evenly over the Creme de Menthe Layer. Refrigerate bars 1 hour or until chocolate sets.

Makes 6 dozen bars, depending on how you cut them.

Make-Ahead Tip: Store cookies in an airtight container in freezer up to 1 month.

* NOTE: The original recipe called for 4 cups of confectioner's sugar but I found the middle layer to be a tad dry.

(Many thanks to Tastespotting for running this. Always a thrill to be included in that beautiful site.)

7 comments:

Julie said...

Wow! Those look amazing!

Allie said...

Yummy!!! All of my favorite things in one bite, chocolate, mint and coconut.

Lori said...

These look SOOOOO good!

Anonymous said...

Something got lost in the creme layer , not enough moisture to make the four cups of sugar dissolve. Mine never setup. The 11/2 oz of pudding mix is not enough.

Tracy said...

I'm sorry you didn't have good luck with this recipe. The first time I made this recipe, it came out perfectly but the second time I found it dry as well. I'll research and see what might have gone wrong.

Tracy said...

Anonymous, I cannot find the original recipe. I looked at similar recipes online and I think the recipe should have said confectioner's sugar. I also decreased the amount from 4 cups to 3 1/2 cups. So sorry -- I try to have my recipes be very reliable!

Tracy said...

Anonymous, I located the original recipe and it was confectioner's sugar in the filling. I'm sorry I had a typo in there -- it's fixed now.

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