These Vegan Crème de Menthe Squares are sure to be a holiday favorite in your home! Layered with a chocolate graham cracker bottom, a minty cream filling, and topped with a layer of melted chocolate, you won't be able to stop eating these beautiful treats!
Crème de Menthe Squares have been a Christmas tradition in my house since 1981 when my mother cut the recipe out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. She made a large batch of them that Christmas and gave them out on a cookie tray to friends and neighbors. Everyone went crazy over them! Thirty-six years later, these are still the most anticipated thing on her cookie tray.
When I went vegan, 18 years ago, this was one of the first recipes that I veganized. I have since had to modify it again to make it gluten-free so that my gluten-free family members could eat them too.
🎁 A great vegan holiday gift
I make these every Christmas for the cookie tray and to put in little cookie boxes and give as gifts. Both my vegan and omni friends and family look forward to them every year. (One year I had the flu just before Christmas and neglected to make them, which caused great disappointment by many, and I still hear about it years later).
These vegan crème de menthe squares can be a little fussy, however, I have learned a few tricks over the many years of making them. If you are careful to follow my instructions, they will come out great!
Make the bottom layer:
- First, line the bottom of a 9x13 lasagna pan with parchment paper. This will allow you to get them out in one beautiful piece.
- The bottom layer is a chocolate graham cracker crumb crust. If you don’t need to be gluten-free, you can just use regular graham cracker crumbs. To make it gluten-free, you will have to purchase gluten-free graham crackers and crush them yourself. To do this, I put them in my food processor and give them a few pulses.
- Next, mix the graham crackers with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and melted butter. Mix well and pour into the bottom of the lasagna pan. Spread out evenly and pack it down firmly. (I like to use a flat bottom of a measuring cup to pack it down tightly).
- Then, put the pan in the fridge while you make the middle layer.
Make the middle layer:
- The middle layer is essentially a layer of thick crème de menthe frosting.
- Using a mixer, simply blend the margarine, powdered sugar, flour, and crème de menthe liquor. (I used the green Crème de Menthe. If you use the clear, add a few drops of green food coloring if desired).
- Spread the crème de menthe layer on top of the gram cracker crumb layer evenly and put back in the fridge for an hour to cool completely.
Make the top layer:
- After an hour, melt the chocolate chips. You can do this in a double boiler or in the microwave. The microwave is the easiest way to do this.
- Put the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. I then add the soy margarine and heat again for 40 more seconds.
- Stir well until the chocolate is completely melted. (You may need to microwave it again for about 20 seconds, but be careful not to do it too long or it will burn or get thick and difficult to work with).
- Once your chocolate is melted, work fast! Pour the chocolate over the crème de menthe layer and spread evenly using large strokes.
To cut perfect squares:
- Place back in the fridge for about 10 minutes until it firms up, but doesn't completely harden. Then pull out of the fridge and carefully cut into 1- inch squares. The top layer should be firm, but not so hard that it cracks when you cut into it.
- Once it is cut into squares, place it back in the fridge for an hour and let it firm up completely.
- Once firm, pick up the whole batch by the parchment paper and set it on the countertop.
- Carefully cut it again on the lines that you made from cutting it the first time. (It may have slightly fused together again). This will give you neat clean squares.
👩🏻🍳 Pro tips
- This makes a very large batch! I have found that we go through them quickly, and since they take a while to make, I rather make one big batch of them.
- Don't freak out when you see the amount of margarine and sugar in these things! They make a big batch, and they are a special treat to make only once a year!
- I use my homemade vegan butter (stick form) for these and they come out great!
- The original recipe does not call for flour in the mixture, but I find it too sweet with only powdered sugar. The flour gives it a nice texture and flavor instead of an overwhelming sweetness.
- If you want to make these squares alcohol free, you can replace the crème de menthe with 1 drop of peppermint oil, and add green food coloring. You will also need to add a few tablespoons of soy milk or water to replace the liquid).
- Make sure to use parchment paper and follow the directions for cutting the squares and they will come out beautiful!
- Make sure to store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
I hope that these become a long-lasting holiday tradition in your house too! Enjoy!
🌟 More holiday treats
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A vegan layered cookie with a base of chocolate graham crackers, creme de menthe creamy middle, and topped with a layer of chocolate.
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (gluten-free if necessary)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup vegan margarine (melted) or my vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup vegan margarine or my vegan butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup crème de menthe
- 1 cup white flour or GF flour (without garbanzo bean flour in it)
- 1 12 oz. bag vegan chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons vegan margarine
Line the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish pan with parchment paper.
Add 3 cups graham cracker crumbs, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 3/4 cocoa powder, and 1/4 tsp salt to a mixing bowl, give it a stir. Then add 3/4 cup melted margarine and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir again until well mixed.
Pour the chocolate graham cracker mixture on top of the parchment paper in the 9x13 pan. Spread it out evenly and pack it down firmly. (You can use a flat bottom of a measuring cup to pack it down tightly). Put the pan in the fridge while you make the middle layer.
Using a mixer, blend 3/4 cup margarine, 3 cups powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup crème de menthe liquor, then sprinkle in 1 cup flour to thicken up the mixture.
Once the crème de menthe ingredients are well blended, spread it on top of the graham cracker crumb layer evenly. Then put back in the fridge for an hour to cool completely.
After an hour, melt 12 oz. chocolate chips and 6 tbsp. margarine using a double boiler or the microwave. (Put the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. I then add the margarine and heat again for 40 more seconds.
Stir well until the chocolate is completely melted. (You may need to microwave it again for about 20 seconds, but be careful not to do it too long or it will burn or get thick and difficult to work with).
Quickly pour the chocolate over the crème de menthe layer and spread evenly using large strokes.
Place back in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm slightly. Remove the pan from the fridge and carefully cut into approximately 1-inch squares.
Once it is cut into squares, place back in the fridge for an hour and let it firm up completely.
Pick up the whole batch by the parchment paper, taking it out of the pan and set it on the countertop. Carefully cut it again on the lines that you made from the first cut. (It may have slightly fused together again). Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer.
Need it to be gluten-free?
- You can buy Smoreables gluten-free graham crackers.
- You will need 1 ½ boxes of these GF graham crackers. You can crush them yourself. To do this, put them in a food processor and give them a few pulses, or place in a large zip lock bag and smash with a wooden spoon until tiny crumbs.
- If you use GF flour, any rice-based GF flour mix will work. Just don't use any mixes that contain garbanzo bean flour. (It tastes very bitter if not cooked).
These are a perfect Christmas or holiday treat. I have been giving these out as little Christmas gifts for years. Just put them in a cute box and you have a gift that everyone will love!
These keep well in the freezer for up to a month if kept in an airtight container.
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