These little gems are a treat we have enjoyed every year since I was a teen, probably starting when Hershey's came out with their mint flavored chocolate chips. Those aren't readily available anymore that I have seen, but I think they do still make them since I've seen them online. There are also chocolate mint blends out there. The base of these bars is a wonderful brown sugar shortbread, made richer, sturdier and even more tender by the inclusion of an egg yolk. It still has a brilliant sandy texture but does not crumble apart. For this batch I used regular chocolate chips first, then melted and piped on some Guittard mint chips. Unfortunately they were a bit old and didn't melt nicely. I had to add a few teaspoons of coconut oil to thin them out and they still wanted to set in seconds. It's possible that fresh ones would melt nicely, but I can't recommend them as an easy option. The reason we really like them is because they taste just like the cracked ice candy we get when we visit the candy shop in Cannon Beach, OR. Mint candy melts would work nicely, or if you don't care about having two colors, just add a couple drops of peppermint oil to regular chocolate chips and melt together, then spread over the bar base. They are highly worth making even with the search for mint chips. They are not super minty, just a nice hint of mint. That's what makes them so all around delicious.
Another day, I will post a mocha variation of these which is equally delicious and absolutely perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.
Chocolate Mint Bars
makes one 9x13" pan
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 (12oz) pkg chocolate or chocolate mint chips
¾ cup mint chips of contrasting color (optional)
Preheat the oven to 335ºF.
Combine the flour, soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the yolk and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. The dough will be fairly stiff. Break into small pieces and pat evenly into a 9x13" pan lined with parchment.
Bake the base for about 25 min until golden brown. Immediately sprinkle with 1 package chocolate mint chips or equivalent. Allow to sit for a few minutes until the chips melt, then spread evenly with an offset spatula. Alternately, melt the chips in a separate bowl and pour and spread over base. If desired, a contrasting color of chips may be melted and piped on top. Pipe the contrast in lines width-wise across the bars while the base chocolate is still melted. Draw a toothpick across the lines lengthwise, alternating direction each stroke, to form a pattern. Chill to set the chocolate quickly. Store, tightly covered, at room temperature.