Baked Brownie Recipe (with Altoids)

When I was in New York City in October I fell in love. Deeply and madly.

I’d swapped apartments with a friend and as I was leafing through her stack of new baking books, I became hopelessly smitten with one in particular: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

Baked brownies

And even though both my suitcases were dangerously over-packed (although my new iMac was more than worth the five minutes I spent charming the United agent so he’d waive the overweight surcharges), and I already quite a few other cookbooks wedged in there, I reasoned there was always room for one more.

Speaking of things I wanted to pick up in New York, I also picked up a few packs of Altoids mints, as I’ve been meaning to write up a brownie recipe here that I hadn’t made in a long time, one that I had a crush on as well.

altoids

Years ago, when I was a dewy-eyed, young ‘um, I had a silly fantasy about being a guest, and cooking, on a major daytime talk show. I knew that Rosie O’Donnell loved Altoids and talked about them constantly, so I came up with a recipe and sent a batch to the public relations folks who handle Altoids in New York, in hopes they’d book me.

They wrote back right away that they loved the brownies, but I never heard from them again. S%$&t!…stood up—!

brownsugar

Now that I’ve confessed at least one crush to you, I should also let you know that I have a crush—not just on the crushed-Altoids in brownies, but on the owners of Baked, in Brooklyn. For one thing, they’re bakers. For another thing, I can’t recall a baking book I got where I wanted to bake every-single thing-in-the-damn-book.

Like…

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake?—Two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and fleur de sel, from two men after my own heart.

Root Beer Bundt Cake?—Since I can’t find Altoids here, how am I going to make that one? And I’m not bringing a 6-pack of root beer back from the states on my next trip. I think I can only push my charm with the United agents so far.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars?—Someone else was smitten, too.

Malted Milk Chocolate Sauce?—Sorry, I can’t answer…since I’m rifling through my cabinets for my jar of Horlick’s.

Peanut Butter Pie with Cookie Crust?—Ok, this is worth using up one of my precious jars of hand-carried organic peanut butter for.

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins, full of melting chocolate morsels?—Be still my heart.

foil outside foil inside

And speaking of crushes, I’ve taken a shine to lining my brownie pans with aluminum foil, which makes lifting the brownies out a breeze, as well as making clean up easier, too. (That is, unless you live in France where the foil is tissue-thin, and when you lift the brownies, the foil that you’re grabbing rips, and you panic and scramble to contain the brownies.) Simply press the foil on the outside of the baking pan, to mold it, then flip the pan and gently guide the foil to fit inside the pan.

Try it next time you bake brownies—you’ll love it, too!

Oh, and the bakers are adorable, too. But that had nothing to do with my falling hard for this book. Whatsoever. After all, people buy my books, although publishers always hide my picture mysteriously inside. My guess is that it’s part of a vast conspiracy, part of a greater overall marketing move on my publishers part.

chocolate & sugar

I even sent a message to them, letting them know how great I thought the book was and got a nice response back, which proves that some folks in New York like me. The authors, Matt and Renato, don’t have a television show, but when they do, I’m sure my phone will be ringing to appear as a regular guest.

Now excuse me while I go sit by the phone.

And eat my brownies, while I wait for it to ring.

“Baked” Altoid Brownies

Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan

Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

Crush the Altoids in a sturdy freezer bag with a mallet or rolling pin, or in a mortar and pestle. They should be relatively fine, but I do like having little bits remaining. They make a few varieties, but I’ve only used the peppermint ones, although the others will likely be just as good. If you want your brownies even more minty, add the larger amount of mints. You can add some pure mint extract to the batter, too.

  • 11 ounces (315g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
  • 8 ounces (215g) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pure mint extract
  • 1 to 1½ packages of Altoid peppermints, (80-120g), crushed (See Note)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line the inside of a 9 by 13-inch, or similar sized baking pan, with foil. Butter or spray lightly with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

4. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, over the heat, whisk in both sugars. Remove from heat and whisk in three of the eggs completely, then whisk in the other two, along with the vanilla and mint extract, if using.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture and the Altoids over the top and using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined; there might be just a trace of the flour in places. Do not overmix.

6. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Like most brownie recipes, it’s best to err on the side of underbaked than over.

Serving & storage: Once cool, wrap the brownies well. These brownies are even better the next day. Since the recipe makes quite a bit of brownies, extras can be cut into squares, wrapped, and frozen for a few months.

Note: If you live somewhere where Altoids aren’t available, we’re in the same boat. You might want to play around with grinding up any mints that might be available, such as Vichy mint pastilles in France, or Leone mints, in Italy. Since I haven’t tried any others elsewhere, but for the price of a plane ticket, I’m happy to come visit and check out any and all of your local candies.
; )

Related recipes and tips:

Chocolate Extract

Chocolate Idiot Cake

The Great Book of Chocolate

Cheesecake Brownies

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Frederick Schilling of Dagoba Chocolate

Nick Malgieri’s Supernatural Brownies

Chocolate (My Amazon Selections)

Taza Chocolate

Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch

Chocolate FAQs

63 comments

  • Next up were chocolate chip cookies but these just jumped the line. “Extras can be cut into squares, wrapped, and frozen for a few months”??? Let’s see, the last time I had brownies sitting uneaten in my freezer for a few months would be….

  • How funny! I’ll have to try that.

    Thanks so much for the foil-molding tip (shaping it on the outside first. I slapped my forehead. Of course!).

  • what a great tip! I hate lining my pans with foil but also hate cleaning them. You are a genius.

  • But you can buy altoids in Paris: L’Epicerie Anglaise Ecossaise Irlandaise de Paris •
    5, cité du Wauxhall • 75010 PARIS • Tél. : 01 42 00 36 20 • 08 73 75 41 07 ! Since I have 5 boxes of them, I think I’ll have fun trying this recipe… Thanks much for the inspiration (and the extra kilos) E

  • Funny – I suggested chocolate and mint when they asked me for a bûche de Noël idea at work (in a parisian pâtisserie)… and they blew it off, dubbing it “too strong.” Sounds like the perfect Christmas brownie, though!

  • How awesome! I just made an Altoid-based dessert last week (it was an utter failure) but there was something so appealing about the idea of them, I have been eyeing them in checkout lines ever since trying to figure out what else I could do.

    My Altoid failure was a Black Liquorice Ice Cream from Demolition Desserts. Crushed black liq. Altoids, molasses, cream…unfortch my molasses was way too strong, so I kept adding more and more crushed Altoids trying to fight with that flavor. Recipe called for ten Altoids, I wound up using the whole tin. Needless to say, it was pretty gross by the time I was done with it.

    Thanks for the recipe – My dad loves choco-mint stuff so this might be his xmas pres.

  • Erin: I love that passage where that shop is located, with the sign “We Are Open” pointing towards their door. Do give the recipe a try, although I’m sure the Altoids there are rather “dear.”

    Camille: Romain thought the mint was awfully strong, and I thought it was just about right. I have seen Lindt chocolate bars with mint here in France, but haven’t tried one. They sure seem to like those After Eight Mints, though. And come to think of it—so do I!

    Leslie: Since I don’t like liquorice, like, at all, I can’t advise. Give this recipe a try, using the regular mint-flavored Altoids. I love them!

    Steve: This recipe makes quite a bit, so I have eight in my freezer.

    We’ll see how long they last…So far, so good. But it’s only been 6 hours.

  • I’m not a chocolate mint fan so I can’t really get my head around this combo. I do admire your creativity though! And, just so you know, if I was ever going to make a chocolate brownie, I’d choose yours.

    BTW – Rosie’s loss if you ask me.

  • Okay, so foil isn’t so thick in Paris. My mother-in-law has been lining pans for years with foil. I’m not so ambitious. But what about a spray type product like Pam? Anything like that in France?
    I know you said Altoids are great, but what about just using some mint extract? Or would that be a much more subtle flavor and time saver as well? Could be an interesting combination, especially at this time of the year. I’ll have to print this recipe to try.

  • No problem with the thin foil..just invert the pan onto whatever..and peel off the foil.

    Altoid Brownies..who’d o’ thunk it? ( er..I guess you did, huh?) Sounds perfect for Christmas. Too bad they don’t come in red too..they would make some powerful chocolate bark!

  • Whoaaa, what a strange but surprisingly enticing combination… you’re frickin’ brilliant!

  • sounds perfect! and i wouldnt mind getting my hands on that cookbook either, hehe :)

  • The last thing I need is another cookbook, but you are quite the salesman. I think I need to buy this one.

  • I’m not sure whether it is the same in France, but here in Australia the only places that sell root beer are Chinese grocery stores! Good ol’ A&W must have a following in China because it’s a rare store here that doesn’t stock it. See if you can find it there.

  • When baking brownies (and cakes,etc) I always use Glad Bake’s non-stick and cooking paper. There’s no need to grease and you can lift the entire cake/brownies onto cooling racks. The paper is so hardy that I often reuse the lining when I bake more than one tray. Baking sticky stuff becomes a cinch: easy and no hassle cleaning-up afterwards.

  • I know exactly when I will make these! Some viola sections in orchestras have the tradition of eating altoids before a performance: Violists read ALTO clef, so ALTOids are the mints for us. But Altoid brownies: even better!

  • SF: Thanks for the tip. I know that there’s also non-stick aluminum foil. Since I’m “space-challenged” in my kitchen, and those items aren’t available here either, I keep it simple. But I’m all for anything that makes clean up less of a hassle!

    Bruce: I saw root beer once in a Chinese market, although I’m sure in most of those ‘root beer’ recipe, cola would be an acceptable substitute. Still, any excuse to go shopping in an Asian market is good enough for me : )

    Dani & Eileen: It really is a wonderful book and aside from the cool recipes, I like it because the voice of the authors comes through, and makes the book interesting. I have a bunch of recipes in other cookbooks bookmarked, but when I opened this book, I dove right in.

  • Off to the kitchen to try this….sounds more than intriguing!!!

    And David, if you’re running low on Altoids in the future – just holler and I’ll ship them to you, I can get them here in Germany ;-)

  • You could try Carrefour, I’ve found individual cans of root beer in the foreign food isle.

  • We get these mint here, but i don’t like them.
    But these brownies they just look fabulous.
    Wish i had a slice of themm.

  • I, too, recently purchased the Baked book, and proceeded directly to the brownie recipe. They were really rather out of hand and I immediately placed most of them in the freezer, lest I do something crazy like sit down with the pan, a fork, and keep shoveling till the last crumb was gone.

    The ones I didn’t freeze I carefully wrapped and brought to the office to share, resulting in no fewer than five marriage proposals, haha.

    Danger danger!

  • amanda: Unfortunately freezing them doesn’t diminish their appeal in any way. In fact (at least in my case!) absence made the heart…or stomach…grow fonder, and I find them equally appealing to eat while still frozen.

    My weakness led me to the store for some Vichy mints, and another batch will forthcoming for Thanksgiving.

  • I also deliberately under-baked them, so that once removed from the freezer, they can be warmed to a delicious goo without risk of drying and crumbling…

  • Next time you are in NY, if you have not done so already, go visit their bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Great place to sit, eat and people watch. They get my vote for best cupcake in NY (mocha.)

  • David,

    Where does one find a Parisian riff on thanksgiving meal..

    Also what about a fantastic b-day cake?

    Cheers,

  • I just found your blog after listening to you on kcrw. LOVELY! All of your creations look soo good! I can’t wait to try one of your recipes!

  • This sounds great!

    Another excellent addition to brownies is Andes mints (http://www.tootsie.com/products.php?pid=105). Add in about 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped up Andes mints to your batter depending on how minty you like it and cook the brownies a little longer than usual.

  • I LOVE this book too! Such amazing recipes in it!

  • Oh honey…

    If it’s any consolation, my next show will have cooking segments, and I promise to put you on (and just wait until you see the gorgeous kitchen help – you’ll die!).
    I won’t stand you up, either. You just have to wait a little I while, since the show is still in development (not too much longer though, I hope – fingers crossed).

    But, you can’t make this Altoid thing – sorry. Although, I must say, this was one heck of a creative effort, and I’ll bet Rosie-dear loved them.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like Altoids and all. I have used them for ages. And, I enjoy the dark chocolate covered Altoids I have in my handbag right now. But, the chalkiness is a bit off-putting. That, and the unmistakable toothpaste-like quality to them. And, while I’m sure if anyone could make Altoids into something great, it would be you, just the thought of Altoids in my brownies is enough to keep me off brownies for a long time.

    Sorry, babe. I just can’t get behind this one (hmmm… I think that’s the first thing you have made that didn’t turn me on like crazy – I guess it was bound to happen some day). Regardless, you can do no wrong in my eyes. I’m madly in love with you (and eternally impressed by your creativity), and you will always have a gig (Altoid-free) as a guest chef on my show(s).

    Now, how about some rich, caramel-y butterscotch brownies… That I can get behind!

    XOXOXOX,

    ~ Paula
    (of Ambrosia Quest)

  • Baked is opening a location in my town…very excited and curious! I am more intrigued by the Altoids in the brownies though but that makes complete sense in a way.

  • I saw a presentation by Matt and Renato of Baked at the French Culinary Institute as part of the pastryscoop conference this fall. They were great in person – smart, articulate, funny – and they demo’ed and passed out slices of the root beer bundt cake, which was incredibly delicious. I’ve also made and loved the brownies, and just tried out the bourbon chocolate pecan pie in the book, which will definitely be making an appearance at our Thanksgiving dinner – it’s a delicious twist on the usual pecan pie.

  • I learned the “molded” aluminum foil technique more years ago than I would like to admit. Maida Heatter was the doyenne of baking back then and she included directions for easy pan release in all of her recipes.

  • save the altoids for rosie o’donnell and use 1/2 cup melted, mint, chocolate chip ice cream in the brownie recipe above. the delicious brownies will never live to see the freezer….guaranteed.
    i also love to add 1/2 cup melted vanilla ice cream and 2 tablespoons creme de menthe to the batter….oh heaven on earth warm out of the oven and very good.
    use parchment paper to line the pan. the paper holds up better with the weight of the brownies and won’t tear, plus paper is more environmentally responsible than foil.

  • Hi David

    It ‘s still a delight to read you. I’m always laughing, thank you so much !
    What a great sense of humour !
    Altoid jeeze !! and root beer woo, two things I tried, and that ” surprised ” me when living in DC.
    Take care

    Jane

  • daveed said > “Years ago, when I was a dewy-eyed, young ‘um, I had a silly fantasy about being a guest, and cooking, on a major daytime talk show”

    Hey, the only thing silly about this is that never happened yet :)
    I’d love (as many people for sure) to follow a TV-show made by you on cuisine TV. That would make a damn change from Eric *proud-dull* Léautey or Karine *goofy-brainless* Teyssandier !
    I could even start a letter campaign to cuisine TV if that could help them to hire you more quickly :)

  • WOW! I read this post yesterday afternoon, and bought all the ingredients on the way home. Then I made these little devils BEFORE dinner. It took all my strength not to eat them instead… What a great recipe. My husband and I are hooked on these brownies now — with or without the mint — and all my co-workers are loving me!

    Thanks, David, for a new staple in my kitchen!

  • I just discovered the bakery “Baked” last week on a wonderful food outing to Brooklyn. The cupcake was superb and now I can’t wait to try the cookbook. Not a big fan of Altoids though. Is it worth trying the brownies without them?

    The bakery is definitely worth the trip from the city. I can’t wait to go back to try the other things.

  • David,

    After loving your blog for so long, I must ask a question (favor?). I was in Paris last month. On a day trip to Chartres, I had the most heavenly little cake that I can’t get out of my head. I’ve been googling it ever since, but with no luck. Called an “angevin.”
    Have you any idea what it is……I need to make one so badly………

    Lover of Paris and of cakes,

    Janet

  • I’ve made the original Baked brownie, the sweet and salty chocolate cake and the malted milk ball cake. All were incredible. It’s true – I want to bake everything in that damn book!

  • Very creative brownies. That recipe rocks.

  • Ooo, I’m drooling just thinking about these. With 11 ounces of chocolate these sound no-fail for the chocolate-lover in me. And I thought I had it figured out with my 2-ounces of chocolate brownie recipe! Can’t wait to try them!

    p.s. “The Perfect Scoop” turns out to be the perfect Christmas gift for a friend. Thanks!

  • Oh, Oh, Oh, I made the sweet/salty cake today for my spouse’s bday.

    I’ll post a pic later!!!

  • David – Here’s hoping that your own personal cooking program will be created and aired on international television soon!! (What is your personal marketing squadron waiting for?!) Emphasis on the international airing – Italian Cooking Programs are also sadly lacking in quality.

    I’m an American living in Italy and totally feel your airline weight limit pain. (Hoping to find the world’s largest jar of peanut-butter-in-a-PLASTIC-container in my stocking this year).

    I once had a bad experience with Altoids (it’s somewhat intimate, so we WON’T go into details), but after your hearty enthusiasm and all the positive comments, I may just have to try this recipe next time I’m in the states. (Alas, no altoids in Italia either – maybe this post will be a wake-up call for the Altoid company. Hello?! International expansion sure to be a success. Maybe they’ll give you 10% of all Parisian sales when they do expand…).

  • this is a great recipe! some frosting might not be a bad idea either with some crushed candy canes on top?

  • David, I’m surprised you haven’t tried making your own root beer. All you’d have to smuggle in is a little bottle (think Tabasco sized) of root beer extract.

  • Great post David!!

    And the brownies look absolutely delicious…

  • Hello! I’m new to your blog since discovering you when watching Diary of a Foodie the other day. I was SO thankful for stumbling upon the show!

    I don’t eat Altoids since they have gelatin in them, so can you please recommend a minty substitute? Two of my favorite combined flavors are chocolate and mint and I would LOVE to try to bake these!

    I’m also going to check out the book you mentioned in the post and try to get it. I LOVE the idea of Root Beer Bundt Cake!!! I actually have a recipe from my husband’s grandmother for 7-up Bundt cake and I’m assuming it’s rather the same idea.

    I’m so happy I’ve found you! I’ll be checking back often.
    Take care!!!
    J

  • J.Cro: I’ve suggested a few alternatives at the end of the recipe, depending on where readers live. A good, strong mint should work, although you’ll have to figure out what’s the right level of minty-ness for you.

  • I just made these, and they are deee-lish! Can’t wait for my kids to get home to try them (although they won’t be happy that a couple are missing)!P

  • Somehow I missed this post over the holiday. It’s just funny because a month or so ago I threw some Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Jojos into a batch of brownies. The result was fantastic.

    If anyone is interested, add 10 crushed Jojos to Alice Medrich’s Best Cocoa Brownie recipe. I had to make this again recently. It’s a great excuse to purchase the Candy Cane Jojos, which are holiday crack.

  • These. Look. Incredible.

  • These Brownies are the best I’ve ever had. I love the curiously strong zing from the altoids, and the fact that you feel like you’ve a breath mint after you eat a brownie!

  • Have been waiting for just the right occasion to make these, Finally made them today for a friend’s birthday. Used only one pack of Altoids and no extract. They are so minty that it feels like it is burning a hole in my stomach and esophagus (after one small piece… and I love LOVE Altoids!

    I adore the idea though. My breath is fresh at least.

    But – I love your site, your ideas and your recipes. Usually absolute bliss.

    Hi Zoe: Hmm, that’s odd. Because I’ve made brownies like this, with Altoids, for years and years. I use a 50g pack of Altoids and never find it over-minty. Maybe try them without the mint–they’re still great brownies. -dl

  • David – I stand corrected on the brownies. I packed (OK all but two) brownies up and ferried them to my birthday friend. She called later to tell me they were the most amazing thing to hit her chocolate craving tastebuds in YEARS and that I may be deranged! Today I delivered to her your Matzo Chocolate Carmelicious Heaven Crackers (OK that is my name for them – an apt one). I made them yesterday in case she did not like the brownies. I think she is holed up in her house… just a girl with the goodies. Thanks~

  • David – I stand corrected on the brownies. I packed (OK all but two) brownies up and ferried them to my birthday friend. She called later to tell me they were the most amazing thing to hit her chocolate craving tastebuds in YEARS and that I may be deranged! Today I delivered to her your Matzo Chocolate Carmelicious Heaven Crackers (OK that is my name for them – an apt one). I made them yesterday in case she did not like the brownies. I think she is holed up in her house… just a girl with the goodies. Thanks~

  • David,

    It’s always a pleasure to log on from time to time and bake one of your recipes, the hardest trouble is deciding which one to cook next!

  • Just made this recipe, very nice and everyone loved it. Next time I think I would use 3/4-1 tin of mints instead of the 1 1/2 tin I used. You are my go-to site for fun recipes, keep it up
    Jeri

  • These were so fabulous I have to share – even at this late date. I don’t usually go for brownies and I don’t care for mint/chocolate – only when the chocolate and mint are both intense and not too sweet (love frozen peppermint patties but don’t like grasshopper pie). Made them this morning with my 4-yr-old son, they’re that easy. And they are beyond great – like a soft, richer peppermint pattie (y?). Beautiful texture. And I used the Sharfen Berger chocolate I’ve been saving for who-knows-what…the queen? I made 1/2 a batch with one tin (which was 50g) of Altoids. Definitely not too many for me. YUM!!!!!

  • Love it!! Chocolate and mint are two of my favorite combinations and love the Altoids!

    Chec

  • David, if you want a fool-proof, easy-peasy way to remove brownie from the pan, cut a piece of parchment baking paper large enough to fit inside and over baking dish. Crumple then wet parchment. Shake off excess water then fit parchment into bottom and over sides of pan. No flouring. No greasing.

    Try it. You’ll love me for it!

    Cheers from The Fridge Whisperer.

  • Deb: I’ve not tried that, but will give it a go next time. Thanks!

  • I love pretty much anything from the Baked book! It is my go-to whenever I want to make something fun and creative. The Root Beer Bundt Cake is one of my favorites!

    There is also a new Baked book! It is called Baked Explorations and is just as delightful as the first book.

  • I tried this recipe last night and the results got me raving reviews. Since I live in India, I used the local brands for mint and chocolate. I toned down the quantity of mint a little. Nevertheless, people told me that it reminded them of After Eight. I got the crust exactly like in your picture and nice soft dark center too. Thank you for the perfect recipe.