Palm Beach Brownies with Chocolate-Covered Mints
“At a party that Mr. and Mrs. David Brinkley gave in Miami Beach I was introduced to Mrs. Tip O’Neill. She heard my name and without hesitation she said, ‘Palm Beach Brownies’. This has happened to me many times. The recipe for Palm Beach Brownies is one of the two or three most popular recipes in all of my books.
The original recipe is in my chocolate book, with this introduction: ‘The biggest, thickest, gooiest, chewiest, darkest, sweetest, mostest-of-the-most…with an almost wet middle and a crisp-crunchy top.’ This recipe is the same as the original, but I have added a layer of chocolate-covered mints in the middle. The mints stay whole (they don’t melt), and they look and taste gorgeous.
The baked cake should be refrigerated for at least a few hours, or overnight, or frozen for an hour or two before it is cut into bars.”
32 jumbo brownies – actually 6 1/2 pounds of brownies
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces (2 generous cups) walnuts
5 eggs graded “large”
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered instant espresso
(I use Medaglia D’Oro from an Italian grocery store.)
3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups sifted unbleached flour
Two 14- or 15.4-ounce bags York chocolate-covered peppermint patties, unwrapped
Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom and preheat oven to 425
degrees F. Line a 9 by 11 by 2-inch pan as follows: Invert the pan and
center a 17-inch length of aluminum foil, shiny side down, over the pan. (If
you are using a Magic Line® pan that has straight sides and square corners,
use heavy-duty foil or the sharp corners will tear it. This is a wonderful
pan and makes beautiful brownies.) With your hands, press down on the sides and corners of the foil to shape it to the pan. Remove the foil. Turn the
pan right side up. Place the foil in the pan and very carefully press it
into place in the pan. Now, to butter the foil, place a piece of butter
(additional to that in ingredients) in the pan, and put the pan in the oven.
When the butter is melted use a pastry brush or a piece of crumpled plastic
wrap to spread the butter all over the foil. Set the prepared pan aside.
Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a large double boiler over
hot water on moderate heat, or in a 4- to 6-cup heavy saucepan over low
heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Stir to
mix. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Break the walnuts into large pieces; set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs with the vanilla and
almond extracts, salt, espresso, and sugar at high speed for 10 minutes.
On low speed add the chocolate mixture (which may still be warm) and beat
only until mixed. Then add the flour and again beat on low speed only until
mixed. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Stir in the nuts.
Pour half the mixture (about 3 1/2 cups) into the prepared pan and smooth
Place a layer of the mints, touching each other and the edges of the pan,
all over the chocolate layer. Cut some mints to fill in large spaces on the
edges. (You will not use all the mints. There will be some left over.)
Pour the remaining chocolate mixture all over the pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 35 minutes reversing the pan front to back once during baking to
ensure even baking. At the end of 35 minutes the cake will have a firm crust
on top, but if you insert a toothpick in the middle it will come out wet and
covered with chocolate. Nevertheless, it is done. Do not bake any longer.
Remove the pan from the oven; let stand until cool. Cover the pan with a
cookie sheet and invert the pan and the sheet. Remove the pan and the foil
Cover the cake with a length of wax paper and another cookie sheet and
invert again, leaving the cake right side up.
Now the cake must be refrigerated for a few hours or overnight before it is
cut into bars.
When you are ready to cut the cake, use a long, heavy knife with a sharp
blade, either serrated or straight – try both. Cut the cake into quarters.
Cut each quarter in half. Cutting through the long sides.
Finally, cut each piece into 4 bars, cutting through the long sides. (I
think these are better in narrow bar shapes than in squares.)
Pack in an airtight box, or wrap individually in clear cellophane, wax
paper, or foil.
These freeze perfectly and can be served very cold or at room temperature.
Notes: When you remove the cake from the pan you might see burned edges.
(You might not – it depends on the pan.) If you do, you can leave them on or cut them off. I cut them off, but I have friends who say this is the best
These are huge! For some occasions you might want to cut them smaller.
They are equally delicious, and sometimes they seem more appropriate.
P.S. Once upon a time… I was in the cookie business. I made the original
Palm Beach Brownies (without the mints) and sold them to the Jordan Marsh
department store here in Miami. I wrapped them individually in clear
cellophane and then packaged them in white boxes with clear plastic tops.
I wrote the recipe by hand and had it xeroxed. Each box contained a dozen
brownies and the recipe. Business was great, but it took up almost all my
time. When I started writing cookbooks, I had to quit the brownie business.
But it was wonderful while it lasted.
Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies