Baking is a year-round "sport" for me but there's an added layer of purpose and excitement around it when we start talking about holiday baking! I must start thinking about Christmas cookies, and holiday baking in general, the minute the temps start dropping. Peppermint things start popping up in the kitchen, and it's been happening already. It's also no coincidence that chocolate and mint is one of my son's favorite combos.
A new and simple chocolate-mint idea popped up into our kitchen last week, and it was inspired by my teen. We keep a candy dish near our door, with a mixture of small chocolates. The other day, my son took a small Nestle Crunch, then followed it with an Andes Mint; he then started raving about how delicious the combination was! It gave us all a good laugh but it got me thinking...
...I could easily make that combination happen for him! So I went out shopping for some puffed cereal and this 3-ingredient chocolate mint crunch bar came to life.
I literally chopped up a mix of semi-sweet chocolate and Andes Mint candies, melted it down, and stirred in puff cereal before setting it into a pan to set. Using Andes Mint packs a strong minty punch and eliminates the possible issue of the melted chocolate seizing if you were to add peppermint extract to it instead.
This fun little happenstance project was a hit with the teen, who was tempted to write to Nestle requesting a mint version of their Crunch bar! He was very pleasantly surprised when I presented him with his inspiration. We can all vouch that a chocolate-mint crunch bar is a very delicious thing, and we're happy to make and eat our own homespun version of it for now.
I chopped 2 1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and 3 ounces of Andes Mints (total of 5 1/2 ounces), and melted them together in a bowl set on top of a pan of simmering water. This amount of chocolate to Andes Mint gave the bars a distinct minty personality; you can adjust according to your taste.
Once all the chocolate has melted, simply stir in the puffed cereal. I used 2/3 cup of cereal. You can use a bit less if you prefer, or, on the flip side, go with more if you want to pack in more crunch per bite.
All you have to do is spread the mixture into a parchment lined loaf pan (this way, you can lift the bar right out of the pan after it sets). Place the pan in the refrigerator for the chocolate to set, about half an hour, before slicing.
I packed my bars into a tin and stored it in the fridge, bringing them out to room temperature before eating. They went quick!
This was such a fun idea and I loved how it was inspired by my son, who, along with my husband, is my favorite taste-tester. This little project got me thinking about making chocolate-orange crunch bars (chocolate-orange being one of my personal favorite combinations) and other no-doubt delicious possibilities!
Happy baking, cooking, and sharing this holiday season!
Chocolate Mint Crunch Bars
Basic homemade crunch bar adapted from recipes such as this and this; the mint/Andes Mint twist inspired by my son
- For 6 small bars set in a 8" x 4 1/2" loaf pan -
2 1/2 ounces semis-weet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces Andes Mint, chopped
2/3 cup puffed cereal
Line a 8" x 4 1/2" loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside.
Set the chocolate and Andes Mint into a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir together until completely melted. Take chocolate off the heat, immediately stir in the puffed cereal until combined. Pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly across. Place the pan in the fridge to allow chocolate to set, about 30 minutes.
Remove chocolate from the pan using the parchment paper. Slice into bars, or simply break into irregular pieces (like you would with chocolate bark). I stored the chocolate in a tin, in the refrigerator.