No Bake, Make Ahead Chocolate Peppermint Torte
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This is the nicest dessert for your Christmas or Christmas Eve Dinner. You can make it a few days ahead of time, wrap it lightly with foil (non-stick foil is best — not plastic wrap, which would stick to it), and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. It doesn’t even require a working oven, except for the crust.
You might wonder if the use of unsweetened chocolate would be a turn-off for young kids. The end result is plenty sweet. The crust is very sweet, and the sugar offsets the unsweetened chocolate. Also, you’ll be adding some confectioners’ sugar to your whipped cream right before serving. The peppermint is not overpowering, either. The peppermint extract just gives it a nice hint of flavor. My kids all loved it when they were very young.
Tomorrow is Saturday and Christmas Eve Dinner is on Sunday. Yesterday I made the Spaghetti Sauce, and today I’ve made this torte, started my French Bread rolls (they prove overnight), and will finish up my wrapping. Saturday, I’ll finish my rolls, set the table, pre-cook the bacon and make the Quiche for Christmas morning. I might bake something sweet for the morning, too, but haven’t figured that out yet.
By Sunday, I should be able to sleep in and take it easy, before the kids come out. Relaxed and happy is the theme of the day.
Chocolate Peppermint Torte
Chocolate Oreo Cookie Crust:
24 Oreo cookies
1/4 cup melted butter
In your food processor, pulse 24 Oreos until they are crumbs.
With the motor running, gradually pour in
¼ cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
Process until well mixed.
Press gently into a pie crust. One year, I decided to really press the hell out of my cookie crust, so it wouldn’t be all crumbly when I served it. It ended up being nearly impossible to bite, it was so firm. So, press enough to get it to stick together, but don’t get out your steamroller.
Bake at 350° for 7 minutes. Cool.
½ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 stick butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted (30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir, then 10 seconds, stir). You have some lumps but if you keep stirring hard, they will melt. Don’t overheat! You can add another 10 seconds, if you absolutely need it.
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
I highly recommend filling up your sink now with very hot, soapy water. This chocolate mixture and the measuring cup with the melted chocolate can be difficult to clean if it’s allowed to cool.
I find that when I’m adding vanilla, I invariably pour too much into my teaspoon, and therefore, too much into whatever it is I’m mixing. Today I measured the vanilla over a measuring cup, then poured it back into the vanilla bottle, using a small funnel. There had to be an entire teaspoon leftover, and vanilla’s not cheap. Just a tip.
Also, I have discovered that if I crack an egg on the edge of a 1/2 cup metal, dry measuring cup, the sharp edge will ensure that I don’t get any pieces of shell.
I always crack my eggs one at a time and then add them to the bowl. I’ve learned that with our homegrown hens, occasionally you’ll get an “off” egg. Nothing’s worse than finding out your 3rd egg is bad and you have to toss all three. Although I’ve never found a bad egg in the ones from the grocery store.
Anyway, onto the torte:
Chill a large bowl and whisk attachment on your standing mixer. In chilled bowl, beat ½ cup heavy whipping cream to soft peaks. If the whipping cream is too stiff, it will be difficult to fold into the chocolate mixture at the end.
Remove whipped cream to a separate bowl and wash whisk attachment and bowl (and dry bowl really well).
Switch to a paddle on your standing mixer. Return clean bowl to mixer.
Beat 1 stick softened butter until creamy. Gradually add ¾ cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl well.
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon peppermint extract.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating 3 minutes (set your timer – this step is important) after each egg. Scrape bowl well after each 3 minutes.
Gently fold in the whipped cream, and spoon gently into the cooled crust. Take care not to lose all the air the 9 minutes of beating gave you.
If you’re not familiar with folding, please take a minute to check out this YouTube video: It’s important that you use proper technique so the torte will stay light and fluffy.
When spreading the torte in the chocolate crust, push the chocolate mixture toward the outer edges without having your rubber spatula actually touch the crumb crust. Otherwise, your pretty little torte will look all crumbly and awful.
Sprinkle with grated bittersweet chocolate.
Cover lightly with foil and chill for 4 hours or up to 2 days. Top with whipped cream at serving time. This will fill up the rest of the chocolate crust (whipping cream, beaten with vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar).
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!