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An exquisite chocolate-mint dessert for St. Patrick's Day

Perfect cookies to go with after-dinner coffee and conversation
Perfect cookies to go with after-dinner coffee and conversationBetty Crocker

I came across this recipe in a newsletter that I receive from the Betty Crocker kitchens, and it is good. Even if you do not dip the cookies in melted chocolate, and serve them as butter cookies flavored with mint and chocolate, they are very beautiful and show your guests that you have gone an extra mile in making dessert.

It is also possible to make the cookies the day before (tonight) and store them in the freezer so that dessert will be ready when the coffee has perked. It also occurred to me that if you like chocolate at Christmas time, these would be a good choice for your repertoire of Christmas cookies.

Serving your after-dinner coffee with a few Irish liqueurs will also lend an air of the Emerald Isle next to the green cookies, or you could take a pot of coffee, measure it out and add the ingredients for Irish Coffee. That makes it simpler for the guests as long as they consent to the liquor that is added to the coffee.

LEPRECHAUN CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIES

From Betty Crocker

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
9 drops green food color
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 teaspoon butter at room temperature

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

On low speed, beat in the 2-1/4 cups flour, the baking powder and salt until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half (about 1 1/4 cups each); place 1 portion in a medium bowl.

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave 4 ounces of the chocolate on High 30 to 60 seconds or until melted, stirring twice. Stir until smooth; cool to just warmer than room temperature.

Add the melted chocolate to the dough in the medium bowl; knead until combined. Set this dough aside.

To the remaining dough, add 1 Tablespoon flour, the food color and the mint extract; mix until blended. Wrap each portion of dough in waxed paper; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, remove the chocolate dough, turn it out to a clean work surface and pat it into a rectangular shape. Place it between sheets of parchment paper. Roll it to 10x6-inch rectangle, patting into shape as needed to retain the rectangle shape.

Repeat with the green dough. When it is ready, remove the top sheet of the parchment paper. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper from the chocolate dough. Turn this dough upside down over the green dough, pressing firmly; remove the parchment paper.

With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough lengthwise into 3 equal strips. Stack the strips so that you have 1 long rectangle, about 1-1/2 inches high and 2 inches wide, pressing firmly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the stacked dough rectangle into 1/4-inch slices. At this point you will be able to handle the chilled dough if necessary to correct irregularities in your rectangles.

On a cookie sheet, place the slices 2 inches apart and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack; cool completely.

In a small microwavable bowl, melt the remaining 8 ounces of chocolate and the butter uncovered on High 60 to 90 seconds or until melted, stirring twice. Stir again until the chocolate has blended with the butter. Dip one edge of each cookie in chocolate. Place the cookies on parchment paper; let them stand until the chocolate is set, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

You need to cool the cookies to room temperature before dipping them into the chocolate so that it will not sink into the hot cookies and disappear.