My Grandma's Signature Brownie Recipe Has the Most Decadent Upgrade

It's the perfect seasonal twist.

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Allrecipes/Getty Images

Brownies are an iconic dessert that serve as a universal sign of love and comfort. They're always welcome alongside a cup of coffee for a midday pick-me-up or with a scoop of ice cream for a decadent sundae. And there are about as many brownie recipes on Allrecipes as there are stars in the night sky—from traditional chocolate to sneaky veggie-filled to maple blondies, peanut butter-topped squares, and everything in between. Plus, don't forget the unique upgrades we've discovered along the way, like adding sweetened condensed milk and red wine.

But for me, one recipe stands above the rest thanks to my late grandmother, who always served a special version on every occasion throughout my childhood. Her signature brownies featured a layer of creamy, sticky mint frosting topped with a chocolate shell that cracked into gooey goodness with each bite. They had one secret ingredient that made the icing so delicious and colorful: crème de menthe.



Luckily, to keep this dish—and her memory—alive, we have a few comparable recipes on our site so I can recreate them for myself, which I like to do this time of year around St. Paddy's Day, Easter, and her birthday.

If you are unfamiliar with crème de menthe, it is a sweet liqueur that originated in France (hence the name, which simply means "mint cream"). Mint leaves are steeped in grain alcohol, then the whole concoction gets sweetened. Depending on the type of mint or extracts used, crème de menthe can be bright green or colorless. Though, if you ask me, if it's not bright green, then what's the point? It can be enjoyed as a digestif on its own, served over ice, or used as an ingredient in anything from a Girl Scout Cookie Cocktail to a Grasshopper Pie.

<p>Allrecipes/Getty Images</p>

Allrecipes/Getty Images

As I mentioned, there are a handful of choices for chocolaty, minty brownies right here on the Allrecipes, including these Chocolate Mint Dessert Brownies and Chef John's Chocolate Mint Brownies. The recipe that gets closest to my memories of these gooey sweet treats is courtesy of Allrecipes community member Deirdre Dee, with these Crème de Menthe Bars. This version builds brownies from scratch though you can just as easily swap in boxed brownie mix (as I almost always do).

Once your brownies are baked and cooled, you can start on the most important part—the mint frosting. And it's as simple as can be. To make the crème de menthe layer, mix together confectioners' sugar, butter, and crème de menthe until smooth and spreadable.

"Allrecipes community member Bonnie Surface says "My family likes the mint layer so much that I double it!""

Meanwhile, you'll also need to melt some chocolate to pour overtop for the finishing touch. Each layer needs to cool completely before adding the next for everything to set properly so this is a great dessert to make ahead.

Take it from user alk02g who said, "These went over fantastically! I made the brownies the night before to cut prep time...then added the two layers of topping the next day. I suggest you refrigerate them again after the chocolate layer because they're difficult to cut unless they're fairly hard."

I'm not the only one that has enjoyed these for decades. DMILLER echos my experience in a five-star review: "I have made these brownies for over 20 years and they are always popular. So easy to make and very rich."



These brownies are fun to customize. Here are some ways to change them up and make them your own:

  • Use boxed brownie mix as an easy shortcut. My go-to is Ghirardelli.

  • Swap the crème de menthe with peppermint extract, like in these Luck o' the Irish Brownies.

  • Drizzle the melted chocolate in a design overtop the mint frosting instead of pouring it in a smooth layer for added visual appeal.

  • Skip the chocolate layer altogether to feature the mint frosting, and/or chop up Andes mints to sprinkle on top.

While these brownies are perfect any time of year, from Thanksgiving to Christmas and beyond, I always love them in the springtime. With their green hue and nostalgic feel, they evoke family, hope, and happiness. And best of all, they taste like home. Whip up a batch and make my Grandma proud.

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