I thought about calling these mini grasshopper fools, but that sounded like a bit much.
Have you ever tried a fool? It's an old-fashioned dessert consisting of pureed or mashed fruit, usually berries, folded into sweetened whipped cream. I made a strawberry moscato fool last spring, and it was delicious. These parfaits are similar to fools, but with mint instead of fruit. They're the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (or any day).
(In case I lost you at "grasshopper", I use the term to describe minty desserts, usually also involving chocolate. The name was first used for a green cocktail made with creme de menthe.)
Whipping cream at home is so much fun. I never understand why people buy whipped cream at the store--homemade whipped cream is so easy, and so much more delicious. If you do it by hand, with a whisk or by shaking a jar, it's a bit of an upper body workout. However, if you use your hand mixer or immersion blender, you can go from the carton to stiff peaks in under five minutes with little effort on your part.
For this recipe, I used an Epica cocktail muddler to infuse a little sugar and vanilla with real mint, added a bunch of cream, and whipped away. The mint whipped cream does taste minty, but it's a much more subtle flavor than the artificial mint flavoring often used in mint chocolate chip ice cream. So, you may be able to sell your loved ones on this dessert even if they're not huge mint fanatics.
While many think of a muddler as a bartending tool, it can do much more than just make mojitos. For example, you can use it to make these mini grasshopper parfaits. I'm also thinking it could come in handy making guacamole, coarsely grinding peppercorns, or crushing pecans or walnuts.
I did also try making mojitos with my muddler when I had some friends over for dinner last weekend, and it made the process easy and fun. If you've ever tried to muddle mint, sugar, and lime without a muddler, you know it's pretty hard. As spring approaches, I'm excited to try using the muddler to make mojitos with some different herbs, like basil or maybe even cilantro. Perhaps a cilantro cucumber mojito? I'd also like to use it to try one of these Melbourne mules.
This cocktail muddler has an easy-to-hold handle, and the nylon muddling surface won't scratch your glassware. It's also just kind of cool-looking, if you ask me.
So, will you be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a special dessert, a green cocktail, or something else? Do you have any favorite recipes to make using a cocktail muddler? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.
Mini Grasshopper Parfaits
Yield: 4 (4-6 ounce) servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini, but any size will work), plus extra for serving
1 and 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, lightly packed, plus a few sprigs for serving
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts and pecans), toasted if desired*
*To toast nuts, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, tossing frequently, until they smell nice and toasty (4-6 minutes).
Place the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each one, or melt in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Place the mint leaves, sugar, and vanilla in the bottom of a two-cup glass measuring cup. Use the cocktail muddler to mash everything together until the leaves are darker green and the mixture is very fragrant. Add the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups of cream, stir, and transfer to a large bowl. Use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to process the mixture until the mint is in tiny pieces. Continue to blend until the cream holds medium peaks.
To assemble the parfaits, place a layer of cooled chocolate ganache in the bottom of four small (4-6 ounce) jars. Top with a layer of chopped nuts, then a layer of mint whipped cream. Continue layering until all the ingredients have been used. Garnish with nuts, chocolate chips, and a mint sprig. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator, covered, and serve later the same day.
I received an Epica cocktail muddler for free using Tomoson.com. As always, all opinions are my own, and I only recommend products I use and enjoy.
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