A simple-to-prepare chocolate shortbread crust provides the perfect backdrop for the cool, minty filling of this grasshopper tart. The tart’s pale green filling makes it an ideal dessert for St. Patrick’s Day.
Growing up, I loved it, too, and I asked my mom to make it all the time.
The cool minty filling and chocolate cookie crust taste like they’re made for each other. What’s not to love?
A few years back, I experimented with my mom’s recipe and made miniature grasshopper tartlets. Their diminutive size adds undeniable cuteness to this spectacular flavor combination.
My older daughter Eliza and I used to prepare to these little treats together regularly, but now that she’s an experienced baker, she makes them by herself whenever she gets the chance.
Last summer, Tessa — who clearly wanted to get in on the action of having a signature grasshopper dessert of her own — suggested that we try making a grasshopper tart. I love that Tessa already appreciates the difference between a pie and a tart.
While grasshopper tart sounds a whole lot like grasshopper pie, a tart pan’s low rim means that it includes less filling. This gives it a higher crust-to-filling ratio, ensuring that the crust’s chocolate goodness complements each minty bite.
Using a pan with a removable rim also makes it easier to serve tarts since you can slice straight down through the dessert.
Not only that, it’s easy to slip a pastry server underneath slices instead of having to dig them out from the bottom of a pie dish.
Rather than incorporating crushed, store-bought cookies in to the crust, this recipe calls for mixing basic ingredients — butter, cocoa, sugar, salt, vanilla and flour, along with cocoa nibs — with a bowl and spoon. Believe it or not, this process is much quicker and easier than crushing the cookies for a standard cookie crust.
The inclusion of cocoa nibs — raw, unprocessed chocolate — gives the crust a bit of crunch and a deep chocolate flavor.
Tessa suggested smashing the nibs with a mortar and pestle before we mixed them in, something I hadn’t done in the past with other desserts featuring this crust. Her brilliant addition to the recipe helps incorporate the nibs into the crust and spreads their crunch more evenly throughout the dessert.
After the chocolate crust cools, preparing the filling is easy, too. Simply melt marshmallows in a double boiler or in a bowl that fits over a saucepan, stir in mint and chocolate liqueurs, and fold the mixture into freshly whipped cream.
If you can, resist gobbling up that pale green billowy filling before adding it to the cooled crust. Really, the hardest part about preparing this dessert is waiting for it to freeze!
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
- ¼ cup cocoa nibs, ground in to smaller bits with a mortar and pestle
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 6 ounces miniature marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons green creme de menthe
- 1 tablespoons white creme de cacao
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- To make the crust, mix butter, cocoa, cocoa nibs, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add flour and mix until blended. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 10 or 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Generously prick the bottom and sides of the crust with the tines of a fork. Bake in the lower third of an oven preheated to 350° F until the crust feels firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.
- For the filling, combine milk and marshmallows in the top of a double boiler or a bowl that fits snugly over a sauce pan. Heat and stir over gently simmering water until marshmallows melt. Remove from heat to cool, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until lukewarm. Combine liqueurs and add to the marshmallows, blending well.
- Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold marshmallow mixture into the whipped cream until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the cooled crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Freeze until firm, several hours to overnight.
- Serve frozen or slightly thawed topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and cocoa nibs, chocolate shavings, or sprinkles, if desired.