Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tofu Tuesday: Mom's Chocolate Mint Bars

Tofu Tuesday: a quest for tasty tofu recipes

Chocolate can fix a lot of things.    

Even tofu. 

Chocolate deserves an extra bonus for making even tofu tasty.  Seriously, you would never guess there's tofu hidden in all this silky, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.  Even the hardest critic will lick their plate clean, for real.  This one's a keeper.  (About time, huh?)

After the past few weeks of tofu experiments I decided to go with something sweet.  Like I said, chocolate can fix a lot of things.  This recipe uses silken tofu (different than the water-pack variety) which has a custard like texture.  It's smooth and silky like pudding, but congeals similar to a soft jello.  Silken tofu is usually sold in aseptic boxes rather than in the white water-pack tubs. The best way I can think to describe this is a box similar to the juice boxes you had growing up.  Around these parts of the U.S. it's typically the Mori-Nu brand and rings up over $3 a box.  But, if you go to an Asian food store you can find it in water-pack type tubs labeled soft and extra soft (yeah, confusing....but now you know) for around $1.20 a tub.  I love deals like that :)

My mom loves chocolate mint, so I made these for Mother's Day.  The original recipe was for chocolate pie, but I hate making graham cracker crusts.  Why go to all the work of crushing the graham crackers, adding butter and sugar, pressing the crumbs evenly into a pie plate, baking it,  and waiting for it to cool only to have it fall apart and make you wish you had just bought one at the store? So frustrating.  I came up with a super easy (and healthier) alternative.  Just line an 8-by-8-inch pan with 9 graham cracker squares.  Yep, that's it.  Nine squares fit perfectly, no crushing, butter, baking or mess needed.  Because this dessert is refrigerated overnight the graham crackers soften perfectly making it effortless to cut.

The fork is so close, can we please just eat this already?!

Since I used a square pan I made one and a half the original recipe, along with a few other changes of course.  If you want to serve this as a pie, you'll need recalculate some ratios.  Or just pour any extra filling into custard cups or bowls, if it even lasts that long. The filling has a light chocolate mousse consistency immediately after it is prepared, but becomes thick and fudgy as it cools and sets.  A firmer silken tofu yields a thicker consistency or you can use a softer variety for a more mousse like texture.  I felt like playing around and used some of both. (That or I just couldn't make up my mind at the store.) 

Finally time for the first bite.
(behind-the-scenes fork-fulls not included)
This Mother's Day version came out extra minty.  I think I tasted the filling so many times trying to get it minty enough for my mom that I went overboard.  If you're not a mint addict you can start out with less and adjust accordingly.  If you don't like mint at all then feel free to play around with other extracts (almond, vanilla, rum, raspberry, peanut butter, butterscotch), remembering the exact measurement will vary depending on the extract.  The important part is to use enough extract to cover any lingering tofu flavor.

Seriously?! another picture before the "first bite"
Melt-in-your-mouth, silky, creamy, chocolaty, I'm pretty sure this will be the best way to eat tofu.  Remember how I froze tofu a few weeks ago to give it a meaty texture? I suspected freezing this dessert would ruin it, but I was too curious and froze a piece anyway.  Once again, freeing the tofu made it even better.  This time freezing gave it a texture similar to ice cream but richer and creamier.  If you want a firmer, more fudge-like dessert, freeze the bars after they've set.  But only if you can wait that long.  Orrrrrr you can "experiment" like me and try some before it sets, after it's been refrigerated over night and again after its frozen.

And if it's not Mother's Day,
 you can put away your fancy plates...

...and just eat it....

...straight out of the pan.

Mom's Chocolate Mint Bars

9 graham cracker squares (4-1/2 whole crackers broken into squares)
20 ounces silken tofu*
2-1/2 cups chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
1 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp mint extract (use more or less to taste, you may want to increase the vanilla if you decrease the mint)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup agave nectar

*I used 1 (14oz) pkg soft and 6oz extra soft ( that's 1/2 of the 12oz pkg) House Foods tofu. The exact number of ounces and firmness level of the tofu you use will determine the consistency of your dessert.

* Arrange graham cracker squares to line the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch square pan. Set aside.
* Place tofu in food processor and blend until very smooth.
* Add melted chocolate chips, baking cocoa, vanilla, mint extract, salt and agave. Process until  smooth, scraping down sides as needed.  There should be no lumps.
* Pour mixture over graham cracker lined pan.  Refrigerate overnight.  Freeze if desired.  

Food for Thought: "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen." - Elizabeth Kubler Ros


  1. I love your crust! How awesome, and of course Mint for your mom: perfect!

  2. I love chocolate and mint, but I'm still a bit scared! They look delicious though! - Bethany M