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Thursday, December 15, 2011

If the Chocolate Mint Brownies Don't Convince You, I Don't Know What Will ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Is there a busy mom who loves to cook on your Christmas list this year? Well, have I got a gift suggestion for you! Earlier this year, Sara Wells and Kate Jones, two young LDS moms, published a cookbook called Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen. Do the authors' names sound familiar to you? They should. Wells and Jones run Our Best Bites, a cooking blog frequented by hundreds of followers and subscribers. While you can get their recipes for free on the site, I was still excited when the good people over at Deseret Book sent me a copy of the cookbook to review.

As far as cookbooks go, this one's as pretty as it is useful. Retailing at somewhere between $15 and $30, it carries a hefty price tag, but I'm telling you, it's worth it. Hardcover and spiral-bound, the cookbook's got thick, glossy pages that wipe off easily - just in case you happen to accidentally splatter it with chocolate (not that I would know ANYTHING about that). Every recipe comes with a large, colorful photograph, as well as helpful tips about how to make your culinary creation even tastier, easier, healthier, etc. Also included are handy tutorials, which use straightforward instructions and color photos to show cooks how to do things like cut a mango, make a pie crust, peel garlic, pit a cherry, etc. One of my favorite features is the "Rollover Ingredients" index. Got an overabundance of, say, green onions? No problem! Simply look the veggie up in this handy section and voila! you have over a dozen recipes in which you can use your excess green onions.

Oh! I almost forgot the food. True, I've only made two Our Best Bites recipes - Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies (found on the blog, not in the cookbook) and Mint Brownies (see below) - but they were both out-of-this-world scrumptious. The rest of the recipes in the cookbook appear to be the same. Most require common, everyday ingredients and quick, easy preparation. I did mention this was an ideal cookbook for busy moms, right? Even though I haven't made most of the recipes in the book, I plan to try most of them, which says something right there. Don't trust my assessment? This cookbook gets very high ratings on all the sites that matter: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Deseret Book, Goodreads, etc. It really is that good. In case you can't tell, I love it!

(Readalikes: I don't know, it's a cookbook ...)

Grade: A

If this were a movie, it would be rated: G

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen from the generous folks at Deseret Book. Thank you!


Mint Brownies

(Makes about 24 small brownies)

4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder


1-2 Tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Green food coloring

Chocolate Glaze

8 ounces (about 1 cup) semisweet or dark chocolate chips
6 Tablespoons real butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with foil, making sure the foil extends over the edges by at least one inch. Lightly spray with nonstick coooking spray and set aside.

2. Chop both the unsweetened chocolate and the butter into chunks and place together in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until just melted and smooth. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.

3. With an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla for 2 minutes. While the egg mixture is being beaten, measure out the flour and combine with the baking powder. While the mixer is running, slowly add the melted chocolate and beat to combine. Turn the beater speed to low and add in flour by spoonfuls. Mix just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a knife poked in center comes out clean.

4. Cool completely on a metal rack. When the brownies have cooled to room temperature, prepare the frosting. Combine all the frosting ingredients, starting with 1 1/2 tablespoons of milk, and beat until light and fluffy. Add more milk by the teaspoonful as needed. Spread frosting evenly over the brownies and then chill the brownies in the refrigerator.

5. While the brownies are chilling, prepare the chocolate glaze. Place chocolate chips and 6 tablespoons butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until just melted and smooth. Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes and then carefully spread on top of the frosting layer. Return the pan to the fridge to cool. When chocolate has hardened, use the edges of foil to remove the entire sheet of brownies from the pan. Cut into squares and serve.

My thoughts on the recipe: Can you say decadent? These are rich and so delicious that I recommend cutting them into small pieces so you don't make yourself sick by eating too many. Mine whipped up perfectly. I did keep them in the fridge until serving time (about 4 hours), which made them really easy to cut. They cut nicely and stayed together perfectly, while also remaining nice and moist. Yum, yum and yum! These brownies reminded me of the famous mint brownies made and sold at BYU. The recipes are similar, though not the same. Still, major yum. I loved these.


  1. I love their blog! I've been tempted to get the cookbook, but I'm super cheap. But if Susan gave it an A, I know it must be spectacular. Hmmm....

  2. You really should, Susan! It's very nice quality and the recipes all look really good. Maybe Santa will bring it to you ...

  3. Oh my word, this post made me so hungry! The cupcakes on the cover...and the mint brownies. Oh, I need it.


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