Serious Eats: Recipes

Bake the Book: Grasshopper Bars

[Photograph: Tina Rupp]

A grasshopper walks into a bar and hops up onto the counter. The bartender says, "we have a drink named after you." The grasshopper replies, "You have a drink named Carl?"

While the joke is certainly a little dated, the image of a grasshopper walking into a bar is a guaranteed smile-maker.

The grasshopper is a vintage cocktail made with crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and fresh cream—it definitely falls into the dessert-in-a-glass category of cocktails. It was this sort of dessert-readiness along with a certain gelatin-based pie that inspired these Grasshopper Bars from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito's Baked Explorations.

These bars get rid of the gelatin, opting instead for the creamy mint element from a peppermint and crème de menthe enriched buttercream. The chocolate comes in the form of a gooey brownie base and a dark chocolate glaze that finishes the bars. While the flavors are updated, that great mint green color stays if you use green crème de menthe. If that's not your thing, there's always the colorless version.

My batch had a bit of a consistency issue with the buttercream—when the recipe specifies that the base should be cool before you add the butter, it really does have to be. Adding butter to an even slightly warm base results in a broken buttercream. But fear not, if your buttercream does break, a brief chill in the fridge and another spin in the KitchenAid should bring it back to creamy deliciousness.

How were the finished Grasshopper Bars? They made me smile even more than that ol' grasshopper joke.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Baked Explorations to give away this week.

Adapted from Baked Explorations. Copyright © 2010. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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