These fresh mint brownies are made in one bowl, with creamy melted chocolate and bright freshly chopped mint leaves.
Fresh mint is steeped in butter and then blended until smooth.
These brownies are filled with lots of rich chocolate and a burst of fresh mint flavor.
Baking with Fresh Mint
I love baking with mint and it is the perfect compliment to chocolate.
You can use any variety of mint: peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, etc. Chop up only the leaves, not the stems, for the best flavor.
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Unsalted Butter: Using butter instead of oil adds a rich buttery flavor.
Fresh Mint Leaves: Use only the leaves, not the stems. When baked in the brownies the stems can create an unappealing fibrous texture.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet chocolate gives the best balance between bitter chocolate flavor and sweetness. You could also use milk chocolate for a sweeter brownie.
Brown and White Sugar: Both brown and white sugar are used. Brown sugar adds moisture along with some delicious caramel notes. White sugar ensures a crunchy shiny crust on top.
Whole Large Eggs + an Extra Egg Yolk: Eggs act as a binding agent and also add structure and leavening. There are no chemical leaveners in these brownies ensuring that they remain thick and fudgy rather than cakey. The extra fat from the additional egg yolk adds extra richness to the brownie.
Vanilla Extract: Make sure to use pure vanilla extract not imitation vanilla extract.
All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is the perfect flour for these brownies. There isn't much flour in these brownies and all-purpose flour adds just enough structure. When adding the flour you want to be careful to not over-mix the batter. Over-mixing creates gluten which will develop into a tougher brownie.
Dutch Process Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder has more cocoa solids and therefore more chocolate flavor than any other type of chocolate. By adding just a little cocoa powder we are able to bump up the chocolate flavor without drying out the brownies. You could use regular cocoa powder but I prefer the smooth flavor and dark color of dutch process cocoa powder. This is my favorite dutch process cocoa powder.
Kosher Salt: Just a little bit of salt enhances the chocolate flavor and sweetness.
Optional Add-in Ingredients
For even more chocolatey mint flavor try stirring in one cup of chocolate chips, mint chips, Andes Mints pieces, or chopped York Peppermint Patties.
Kitchen scale: Kitchen scales make baking faster and neater. Accuracy matters in baking. Scales are more precise than measuring cups. Too much flour or not enough sugar can dramatically change a recipe. The most accurate way to bake is to measure your ingredients by weight rather than volume.
A kitchen scale also reduces the number of dishes you will need to wash because you are measuring each ingredient directly from the container into the mixing bowl without the use of measuring cups.
This scale from OXO is the one I use after it was recommended by Alton Brown. What makes this scale great is the display pulls out to make viewing measurements easier when using a large bowl.
Microwave-Safe Mixing Bowl: I love my Pyrex bowl for melting things in the microwave. This bowl even comes with a lid which makes it not only a great mixing bowl but also a good storage bowl as well.
Rubber spatula: For folding batters together, I prefer a stiffer spatula like this one from OXO. It fits comfortably in my hand, is dishwasher safe, and is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Both the handle and head are silicone coated which makes it easy to clean and safe to use with my non-stick cookware and bakeware.
Large serrated knife: A large serrated knife makes cutting even clean pieces much easier.
Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper allowing the ends to extend over two of the sides and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheight and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces. Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and cover. Heat the butter at 50 percent power until melted. This should take 30 to 60 seconds.
Pour the melted butter and mint leaves into a blender and process until smooth. About 1 minute.
In the same large microwave-safe bowl, combine the mint butter and chocolate chips. Melt in 30-second increments at 50% power, whisking in between each increment until completely smooth.
Whisk in the white and brown sugar until completely combined.
Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla.
Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Fold together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just combined.
Fold in the Andes Mint pieces.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with very moist crumbs clinging to it. Remember the brownies will continue to bake as they cool.
Cool completely before using the parchment paper to lift the brownies from the pan.
The Brownie Toothpick Test
Baking times for all recipes are only suggestions. The actual baking time will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer.
Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus. This recipe recommends a baking time of 30-40 minutes But depending upon the accuracy of your oven you may want to start checking the brownies after 25 minutes or so.
When brownies are done they will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. You should also look for a slight jiggle in the middle of the pan of brownies.
One way to check to see if the brownies are done is to insert a toothpick into the middle of the pan. Below is a photo of 3 toothpicks. Each toothpick was inserted at different times.
The first toothpick was inserted after the brownies had been baking for 25 minutes. The batter is still raw.
The second toothpick was inserted after 30 minutes. There is less raw batter and one crumb from the top crust, we are getting closer.
The third toothpick was inserted after 35 minutes. There is even less batter and more crumb on the toothpick. This is when I like to take my brownies out of the oven.
If the toothpick comes out completely clean, the brownies are overbaked.
Using a Digital Thermometer to Check Brownies
The most accurate method for checking brownies is to use a digital thermometer. Brownies must have a temperature higher than 136 degrees Fahrenheit which is the temperature at which bacteria such as salmonella dies.
Brownies won't set until they are at least 144 degrees Farenheight, so unless you want brownie soup, you need to keep baking until they reach this point.
The optimal temperature for these fresh mint brownies is 165 degrees Farenheight.
If you are planning to store the brownies rather than eating them right away it is best to wait to cut them until you are ready to eat them. Cutting the brownies exposes them to air causing them to dry out more quickly.
Tightly wrap the brownies in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container.
Brownies should be stored at room temperature and will stay fresh for at least 3-4 days. If you must store them for longer place them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The brownie will have a better flavor if you allow it to come back to room temperature before eating it.
To Freeze Brownies:
For even longer storage brownies can be frozen. Wrap the brownies tightly in plastic wrap and then place them in a zip-top bag. Label the bag with the date and contents. Frozen brownies will stay fresh for up to three months. Allow the brownies to thaw at room temperature before eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Light-colored metal pans make the best brownies. Glass or dark-colored metal pans heat unevenly and can cause the edges to overbake or even burn.
If a glass or dark pan is all you have, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F and keep an eye on the brownies as they bake.
Always grease the pan thoroughly with shortening, softened butter, or cooking spray. To make brownie removal easy, after greasing the pan, line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cut the pieces longer than the pan so that the sides hang over the edge of the pan creating a sling. Grease the lining to make sure it will easily peel away from the brownies.
If you are like me and want a visual reference for how to line your pan, check out this video from Everyday Food.
For neater slices, allow the brownies to cool for at least an hour before cutting. This will allow the chocolate and fat to set. Use a large serrated knife to easily cut even pieces. Clean the knife between each cut to minimize sticking.
- For accuracy, use a kitchen scale and measure ingredients in grams. Weight measurements are more accurate than volume measurements and will give you the most consistent results. This is my favorite kitchen scale because the display pulls out so that is easy to view when measuring in large bowls.
- Do not overmix the brownies. Overmixing creates gluten, which translates to tough brownies. Overmixing will also incorporate more air creating fluffier less fudgy brownies.
- Line the baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. This makes lifting the brownies out of the pan to cut them super easy. I like to spray the pan with non-stick spray first, which helps to hold the parchment paper in place.
- Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. The whites and yolk will combine more easily this way. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature place the eggs in a warm water bath for 10-15 minutes.
- Err on the side of underbaked brownies rather than overbaked brownies. Brownies will continue to bake even after they have been pulled out of the oven. After they have cooled for about 15 minutes use the ends of the parchment paper to lift them out of the pan and place them on a cooling rack to continue cooling down.
- Be patient! Don’t start slicing into the brownie the second it comes out of the oven. It won’t be set just yet, and you will end up with a chocolatey mess.
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