Mint Swirl Bars

  I was a little dubious about trying this recipe from the Taste of Home Baking Book, just because I am not a big fan of peppermint. However, the rest of the recipes I have tried were quite good and Amy really likes peppermint so decided to try them.
  They are quite good. Not a brownie, more of a cake texture. The peppermint is not overpowering either. I did skimp a little on the measure. If you like peppermint I would use the full amount it calls for.
  As you can see, I used green food coloring. The recipe suggested red food coloring for the Holiday Season. Either or both would be pretty on a Holiday treats tray. They are simple and quick to make. The only thing I would say is that it took about 6 minutes longer than the baking times given in my oven. Do be sure to test with a toothpick.
  Mint Swirl Bars
1 package (3 ounce) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
⅔ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup chopped nuts (may be omitted)
1 square (1 ounce) semisweet chocolate melted
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops green or red food coloring, optional
1 square (1 ounce) semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup confectioners” sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons boiling water
  In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time beating well. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Transfer half of the batter to another bowl; stir in the nuts and chocolate. Spread into a greased 9 inch square baking pan.
  Stir peppermint extract and food coloring if desired into remaining batter. Spoon over chocolate layer; cut through batter with a knife to swirl. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  In a saucepan or microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the confectioners” sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve glaze consistency. Pour over bars and spread evenly. Cut into bars.

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