Please tell me you’ve had these before.

Okay… these exact ones are not really from 1988. At least I don’t think so. But I’m a little nutty. The closest I get to that is finding canned soup in my pantry that expired in 2002. Take it as you will.

This brownie comes straight from a yellowed index card out of my mom’s seemingly unorganized recipe box. She and my aunt made them incredibly often back in the day… at the height of shoulder pads, electric blue eyeshadow and women’s puffy corduroy dress shorts that came down to the knee and were worn with sheer tights. You know, the decades where B.U.M equipment sweatshirts, pogs, bubble necklaces and slouch socks went to die? Thankfully. Count your blessings.

Over Labor Day weekend, these brownies came up amongst conversation and my eyes lit up. I hadn’t had them in years. And since then? Since that first week of September? Nearly 6 weeks ago? They are all I’ve been able to think about.

I need a life.

They are probably the sole reason I even considered mint chocolate chip donuts.


So I ran out and bought some creme de menthe, which was finally found at the third liquor store I ventured into after the first two associates, both creeping up on their 70s, stared blankly at me and yelled “Are ya sure ya don’t mean cream da mint?”

Yeah buddy. I’m sure.

You can find clear creme de menthe but what’s the fun in that? I know I particularly enjoy ingesting vibrant green artificial coloring… especially when sandwiched between two layers of fudge. Yum! I just had to make them green, for that was the only way I could really remember them and figured it was the perfect tribute to all the other artifically colored and flavored treats I absorbed as a tween. And I knew my mom would appreciate it, since we’re talking about the woman who makes a darn good argument convincing you that the *best* cranberry sauce comes straight from an Ocean Spray can.

[P.S. don’t you like how neatly (?) and nicely I slice and stack my brownies? NOT.]

Another giant clue that these were the happening dessert at the end of last millennium, amidst Gushers, Pop Rocks and various layered frozen ice cream “casseroles?” The brownie recipe called for two full cups of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that, but it did conjure some fabulous memories of my brother Andy mixing tons of strawberry syrup into glasses of milk every single day until he was about 15. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and induces vomiting at the same time. Ga-ross!


My cousin and I dug into these a few nights ago after eating almost the entire pan of butternut squash lasagna. They were delicious, super rich, and had just the right amount of mint without being overpowering. But the thing is… they didn’t taste quite as good as they did in the 90s. I’m pretty sure you have to rock a side ponytail, a phat silk button down shirt, and air pump hightops and then they’ll taste 50 times better.

Creme De Menthe Brownies

[brownie adapted from my red velvet brownies]

makes one 9 x 13 pan

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional)

mint layer

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup creme de menthe

chocolate fudge layer

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed add in flour, cocoa and salt, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter in the pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Let cool completely before adding mint layer. When cool, beat butter and powdered sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer, making sure to scrape down the sides until combined. Add in creme de menthe and mix until smooth and mixture completely comes together. Spread on brownie layer, then refrigerate until set, about 1-2 hours.

Melt chocolate and butter together (either in a double boiler or in the microwave – I do it in 30 second increments, stirring until smooth), then pour over top of mint layer. Refrigerate until set, another 1-2 hours. These are great right out of the fridge, but I especially love them once they have sat at room temperature and are super fudgey.

Note: these can be made in an 8×8 pan for thicker brownies, but they are super sweet. I love rich desserts and was happy with the 9 x 13 pan.


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203 Responses to “Creme De Menthe Brownies from 1988.”

  1. #
    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats — October 20, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

    We had these at summer camp! We called them toothpaste brownies though. It was definitely a hit or miss with the campers, despite all the side ponytails happening. They look delicious!


  2. #
    Chrys in Chicago — October 20, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    Hurt Me!!!! :+D


  3. #
    Joelle (on a pink typewriter) — October 20, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

    That first photo totally looks like a science project haha but the rest prove otherwise. ;-) My boyfriend would love these brownies!


  4. #
    Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please — October 20, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    These look amazing. I hate to ask, but is there a good substitute for creme de menthe? No liquer stores near me.


  5. #
    Carissa — October 20, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    These rank right up there with Grasshopper Pie. I could never get into that. The only reason I wanted either of those foods was because they had alcohol in them and I thought that would make me a rebel. It didn’t. And I definitely prefer mint choco chip ice cream pie to Grasshopper Pie or peanut butter iced brownies to these.


  6. #
    GamerGirl — October 20, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

    Um, FLASHBACK MUCH?! Actually not so much for me (I was 2 in ’88), but GamerMan had a foodgasm when he saw this recipe, so I think it’s safe to assume I’ll be making yet another trip to the grocer tonight :P


  7. #
    Krissy@DaintyChef — October 20, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

    My Granny has a very similar recipe, yum!


  8. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — October 20, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

    Ooohh, this looks great!! Chocolate and mint is one of my favorite flavor combos!


  9. #
    Kiran @ — October 20, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    OMG! I love how it looks super moist and fudgey. Gotta make this, pronto :)

    Girl, I have been drooling over your “drizzle” shots. Seriously!


  10. #
    rose — October 20, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

    Yummm just like nanaimo bars but with mint instead! So 80’s :) And my sister Loved strawberry milk growing up!! Barf me.. I only did chocolate.


  11. #
    danielle — October 20, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    Yum! I love mint things in the winter!!


  12. #
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef — October 20, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    thank you for helping me find something to help use up the creme de menthe i bought earlier this year for my husband’s birthday grasshopper pie!


  13. #
    Imwaytoobusy — October 20, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    Oh…my…decadence. Seriously, you find the most drool-worthy concoctions. These look amazing. Cheers to the ’80s for sending this one our way ;)


  14. #
    Caren — October 20, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

    These are the best!! I never comment, but I have to. My mom used to make these when I was a kid circa 1988! The best! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


  15. #
    Sam — October 20, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    Oh do I have memories of these brownies, too! Sorry to hear they didn’t taste as good to you as they did back in the day. They’re still good to me, although I only have them every few years when my mom makes them upon special request.


  16. #
    Kylie@ohsomiscellanea — October 20, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

    Oh I am in love with these and will be trying them! What do they say? Oldies but Goodies? I wasn’t even born yet but a recipe from 1988 sounds like something I definitely need to try out


  17. #
    Amanda — October 20, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    I LOVE all the late 80’s / early 90’s references. Your last few posts have convinced me that we would have started quite a friendship in our ‘tween years had we known each other then. Thanks for making me laugh every day!


  18. #
    Juls — October 20, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    I was born in 1988 (therefore knowing that anything originating from that year is the best kind of “rather strange”!) but I totally have just been taken on a trip down some forgotten side road of memory lane with these. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


  19. #
    Nikky — October 20, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

    Can we go rolling skating too. I think that would be the best way to burn off these tasty treats


  20. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — October 21, 2011 @ 12:57 am

    I was born in 1988 and therefore….. I feel it would be rude for me NOT to make these!


  21. #
    Jennifer (Delicieux) — October 21, 2011 @ 1:19 am

    These look fantastic!!! I love the chocolate fudge layer on top. Chocolate mint is one of my favourite combinations, in fact I just posted my own mint brownies.


  22. #
    Sara — October 21, 2011 @ 2:24 am

    Today is my birthday and this is the perfect recipe, since mint and chocolate is probably my favorite combination. Thanks!! :)


  23. #
    L — October 21, 2011 @ 5:22 am

    Ooo now I have an intense craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream! Each layer of this bar looks beyond scrumptious. I think there ought to be law regarding pictures of food online…like, users only allowed to view one per week. Because at this rate I will have 50 cavities by tomorrow from all the sugary goodness I am currently ogling. xx


  24. #
    Judy — October 21, 2011 @ 7:40 am

    Does anyone remember Brandy Alexander Pie, from the same era. I had to make a retro dessert this summer and pulled out the old stained recipe card – it was truly a walk down memory lane. The pie was a big hit. It is basically the same as Grasshopper Pie but you us creme de cocoa (dark if you can find it) and us a chocolate cookie crust.


  25. #
    carolyn — October 21, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    i’ve been making these, unironically, every christmas without realizing how old-school they are. embarrassing!


  26. #
    Amy @ Elephant Eats — October 21, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    My mom definitely never made these for ME in the 80s…guess i’ll have to make up for lost time and bake up a batch this weekend. My fiance LOVEs the choco-mint combo. Looks delicious :)


  27. #
    Sandra — October 21, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    Loving all of your back in the day memories and recipes. How about a Harvey Walbanger cake?


  28. #
    Happy When Not Hungry — October 21, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    Wow these brownies look amazing! I haven’t had creme de menthe probably since 1988 so I’m def excited to make these!


  29. #
    April V — October 21, 2011 @ 9:08 am

    Ha! I couldn’t get over your “closing statement”…LYLAS! Wish I had a quarter for everytime I wrote that back in the 90s in every.single.letter. I wrote to my gf’s! :)


  30. #
    Sonnet Gal — October 21, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    Both recipes are fabulous, but the brownies….GOING TO EAT MY WEIGHT IN THOSE THIS WEEKEND!


  31. #
    Lisa — October 21, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    Oh I love your 80’s and 90’s references. Plus, I’m from Pittsburgh, so I “get” all of it! Those were the days…… Going to have to try these!!


  32. #
    Mary Cottingham — October 21, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    These remind me very much of another popular 80’s creme de menthe dessert. It was made with those little chocolate wafer cookies, whipped cream, and creme de menthe, and then refrigerated. Anyone remember that?


  33. #
    Amy — October 21, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    omg, I want these now! I’ve only stumbled upon your blog a few times before (via links on other blogs), but uh…you’re joining the rotation of blogs I read regularly!


  34. #
    Brenda — October 21, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    I rarely use the term LOL since I seldom actually do LOL while reading something and I think the term is waaaaay overused, but I truly LOL’d when I read LYLAS at the end of your post. I wrote that on all my notes to friends, then folded the note into some weird triangular shape with a little paper tab that held it all together. LYLAS was the LOL of the 80’s. Thanks for bringing back some great memories. I had a perm and really big hairsprayed bangs, and was an expert on rolling my acid-washed Guess button-fly jeans into such a tight cuff around my ankles that I could hardly feel my feet after an hour. What’s even sadder is that I went to nursing school in the early 90’s and ROLLED MY SCRUB PANTS INTO TIGHT CUFFS!! Why didn’t anyone say something to me!!??


  35. #
    Nancy — October 21, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

    Hey Jessica,

    I haven’t seen a picture of the puppy recently. Is it because she’s getting too big?


  36. #
    Crystal — October 21, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    I LOVE it when you talk about stuff from the 80’s and 90’s. i was born in 1980 (OMG im 31!!) and i remember all of the stuff you talk about! It cracks me up and makes me think of other stuff that was “cool” at the same time. I called my mom once and asked her if she remembered the store 5-7-9 and how I used to love to shop there. That started a 30 minute conversation of all of my favs from back in the day! Love your blog!!!!!! :))))) Remember how it was cool to wear two different socks on each foot? Two different colors to match your outfit? Yep. I was too cool for school back then!


  37. #
    Dana — October 21, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

    oh dear, I had forgotten about LYLAS!!!! I totally passed notes with that signed at the bottom.


  38. #
    Sarah E. — October 21, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

    I love these things! Every church function I ever went to at my childhood church, there was always a batch of these things! YUMMMM


  39. #
    Gina — October 21, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

    Made these tonight for my mint chocolate chip crazy son and we loved them! Thanks


  40. #
    kathleen @ the lushers — October 21, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! My mom used to make these all the time back in the day! …then several years later, looking for a quick, underage buzz, my friends & I would take swigs out of the old, abandoned bottles of creme de menthe. Ewww!


  41. #
    Louise — October 22, 2011 @ 12:35 am

    Funny story about creme de menthe. My mom always made me a pink peppermint cake for my birthday every year, except for my 21st birthday. She used creme de menthe instead of peppermint extract and it was green instead of pink. I never forgave her :P Those brownies look like they are to die for!


  42. #
    Jane — October 22, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    Too funny, and too fantastically delicious! I applaud your perseverance in searching out real creme de menthe. These babies are just the recipe I’ve been looking for. I’m glad you left out the chocolate syrup, too. Thank heaven home bakers have more or less passed out of that chocolate-syrup phase and thank heaven we’ve definitely escaped the “puffy corduroy shorts dress shorts” phase, too. (Good God . . . what were women thinking? Did those things look cute on ANYONE? I think not!)


  43. #
    CouponClippingCook — October 22, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

    omg…beautiful colors going on with this recipe. And chocolate with mint…a perfect match!


  44. #
    Michelle — October 22, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    Oh side ponytails complete with scrunchies! Life would never be the same…

    These look rich and delish!


  45. #
    Laura — October 22, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    All I can say is…. YUMMMM!!!!!


  46. #
    Ashley @ Sprinkles & Spreadsheets — October 23, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    I make a similar mint brownie to these and I took them to work for a supervisors going away party. They are incredibly rich, but they were the biggest hit. There was not a single one left and my coworkers always request them whenever we are doing some type of potluck. They have since dubbed me Betty Crocker.


  47. #
    Katie @ — October 23, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    i think i just drooled all over my sociology paper. my professor won’t be too happy to receive a wet stack of runny words. why do you do this to me?

    can i substitute something else for the cream, uhh, whatcha-ma- call-it?

    – katie at


  48. #
    Dana B — October 24, 2011 @ 2:24 am

    omg! I haven’t made these since I was a kid! Loved loved loved them. Wonder how I would like them now? Probably still would love them ’cause 1) I’m a chocoholic and 2) I love creme de menthe (green :); mixed with a little water and an ice cube. Guess I’ll have to make them to confirm this :) thx for the memories!


  49. #
    dana828 — October 26, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    My mom made these every Christmas when I was a kid! A couple of years ago I made them using her old, yellowed recipe, too…and they weren’t quite right. I can only assume she tweaked the recipe in some way and never wrote it down. So I found an amazing creme de menthe brownie recipe in one of the “Baked” cookbooks. Perfect!


  50. #
    Deepti — October 27, 2011 @ 4:14 am

    My uncle used to make these every Thanksgiving. Last year I finally nagged him enough that he gave me the recipe since he and my aunt now vacation in India from Thanksgiving to New Years. I’m pretty sure that these, the Pillsbury crescent rolls and hours of playing Rock Band are the things that makes my family’s holidays complete.



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