American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

American Classics: Grasshopper Squares

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

I'm such a sucker for mint and chocolate. Throw in a touch of green food coloring and I feel like a five year old with an ice cream cone (a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone, naturally!). While I'm all for showy and involved desserts sometimes I just want something delicious and easy. This retro-inspired no-bake dessert is perfect for when you want a chocolate and minty treat without spending a ton of time in the kitchen.

Traditional Grasshopper Pie combines a chocolate wafer cookie crust with a light and airy gelatin and meringue based filling that's whipped up with both crème de menthe and crème de cacao. This dessert takes its cues more from the classic back-of-the-box "eclair cake" recipe that I discovered thanks to longtime Serious Eats community member, Jerzee Tomato. The eclair cake is make up of pudding and Cool Whip layered between graham crackers and topped with a dark chocolate frosting. Pop that in the fridge and let the pudding work its magic. Within a few hours the graham crackers will soften to a cake-like texture. This got me thinking, if the graham cracker icebox cake treatment works for "eclairs," why not grasshoppers? If you're terrified of meringue (I'll admit the whole whipping up egg whites still intimidates me) but want a Grasshopper Pie fix, this dessert is just the ticket. Homemade minty pudding folded with fresh whipped cream and layered with chocolate grahams and topped with a rich dark chocolate frosting. It's like a fluffy tribute to Thin Mints. I defy you to eat just one piece!

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Grasshopper Squares »

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of the forthcoming book New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.

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