I had wanted to make these for ages and my Mum brought me over some peppermint essence just before Christmas so I had to get cracking, over two weeks later in an airtight box they are still going strong, although I had surely better finish them off soon(there wouldn’t be any left if it were not for the fact I baked enough to feed an army over the holiday)! They’re great in lunch boxes or as part of an afternoon tea. If making for children and they’re not fans of dark chocolate swap it for a good quality milk chocolate. This is the minty sister of the caramel slice, which is another thing I love and must make soon.
This recipe comes from the Big Book of Baking again, however the quantities were a long way off I found. It says to use a baking tin of 20cm x 30cm(12x8inch) and although my tray was a little bigger (22cm x 34cm) there was no way the original quantities were going to be enough even if I did have the exact size, I didn’t even get half way to filling the bottom with the shortbread base with the thinnest layer, so doubled everything (luckily I had plenty of ingredients to hand), and the end result was delicious!
Take the butter out of the fridge about half an hour before you start so you can actually work with it!
110g / 4oz unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing – I keep old butter wrappers for this)
110g / 4oz caster sugar
230g / 8oz plain flour
350g / 12oz icing sugar
2-4tbsp warm water
1 tsp peppermint extract
4 tsp green food colouring (optional)
350g / 12oz plain chocolate
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F / Gas mark 4.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy (I take this to mean creaming).Stir in the flour until the mixture sticks together, then knead it into a dough.
Press it into a greased and lined tin. You are looking for a thickness of at least a few millimetres, or it stands a good chance of falling to pieces when you slice it up. Bake in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes until it is lightly browned. Leave it to cool.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add the water whilst stirring until you get a very thick paste(I do this a spoonful at a time as icing sugar needs very little liquid), then add the peppermint extract or essence and the food colouring if you are using. How green you make it is down to you, mine was possibly a bit too green! When the base is cool spread the icing over it and leave to set, in the fridge if you have room as this will speed things up.
Once it has hardened, break the chocolate up into a heatproof bowl and melt over a saucepan of simmering water, then spread over the icing. Leave to set, then remove from the tin, peel back the paper from the sides and cut into slices, how big you make them is again down to you! I think I got about 24 average sized slices from my tin.