Fresh Mint Brownies

Baking with Fresh Mint and How to Preserve Mint

by From Scratch Farmstead
fresh mint brownies

If you’ve grown mint before, you know that it grows like crazy. While there’s nothing better than the crisp flavor of fresh peppermint or spearmint from the garden, figuring out what to do with all that mint can be a challenge. We love to preserve as much of that mint as possible for use all year and these fresh mint brownies are some of our favorite ways to put them to use.

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Our Herbal Story

I’ve been on a mission to learn to identify and use as many of the plants growing on our property as possible. 

This process has looked like first identifying plants and then figuring out simple ways to incorporate them into our everyday cooking. This is a great opportunity to include your kids in both teaching them how to identify and harvest plants and then how to use them in the kitchen! I’ve found by slowing down and inviting them into this process, we’ve all learned so much more.

My two favorite resources to get started with simple plant identification and learning what they do and how to use them are:

1) The book Medicinal Herbs A Beginner’s Guide by Rosemary Gladstar

2) The app, Picture This. I use the free version. You can take picture of any plants and within seconds it will identify them for you and give you basic information.

medicinal herbs a beginners guide

How to Grow Mint

Mint grows robustly in most zones from 4-9 as a perennial, meaning that it will return year after year. The problem most gardeners have with mint is not growing it but containing it as it tends to spread and can easily take over your garden area. Because of this, many people prefer to grow mint in a pot or container to keep it contained to one area. Mint grows well in well drained soils from full sun to partial shade. However, don’t be surprised if your mint thrives even in not ideal conditions as mint tends to be a force not to be reckoned with and can seem to survive in almost any conditions.

Peppermint vs Spearmint

While there are actually over 15 different types of mint plants, peppermint and spearmint are the most popular. Peppermint is actually a hybrid mint variety of spearmint and water mint and tends to grow well near bodies of water. Spearmint is more common as a garden mint but can also grow wildly as a weed. One of the key distinguishing features in their appearance is that peppermint has more purple hues on their stems and leaves while spearmint tends to have more green tones.

spearmint growing at a farm

spearmint

One of the main differences between the two comes in their taste. Peppermint has a much more intense minty taste while spearmint is much milder. This is from their levels of methanol, which gives the plants their characteristic minty taste. Peppermint has a methanol concentration of up to 40% while spearmint is much lower, only around 0.5%. This can make spearmint a more preferred option especially when introducing this plant to children.

Another taste difference is that spearmint contains a compound called carvone that gives it a sweeter taste while peppermint has a more pungent, peppery flavor.

Because of these differences in their properties, you will want to note the variety you are using. The stronger flavor of peppermint will mean needing less of it than the milder spearmint in culinary applications.

Medicinal Benefits of Mint

The properties in mint, specifically methanol, make it well known for its ability to help digestion. It is a go-to choice for nausea and upset tummy’s. It is antispasmodic, meaning that it helps muscles relax and can reduce stomach cramping. Mint has also been found to be helpful in reducing the pain associated with headaches, tooth aches, burns, bug bites, and bee stings. The familiar taste and popular flavor of mint leave you feeling refreshed and clean.

fresh mint picked from the garden

How to Dehydrate Mint for Long Term Storage

While the taste and flavor of mint will be stronger when their fresh leaves are used, in order to preserve them for use all year round, our favorite method is to dehydrate them for long term storage. 

To do this, simply pick several handfuls of leaves, we love using these mesh produce bags for this purpose. Then lay the mint out on cookie sheets in a single layer to dry. You can either let these dry naturally in the sun for several days or you can place them in your oven at the lowest temperature to speed the process up considerably. Alternatively, you can dehydrate them on racks in your dehydrator. 

dried mint leaves in a jar

After the leaves are dried out, we store them in a dark place in mason jars for use all year. Although their flavor will be muted some, the characteristic minty flavor definitely still comes through.

Mint Extract

Another way to preserve mint is to turn it into a mint extract. To do this submerge a cup of mint leaves into a cup and a half of vodka in a jar and let sit in a dark place for 6-8 weeks. Once your desired minty flavor is reached, strain off the mint leaves and you can use the extract to flavor your favorite mint dishes and desserts.

Ways to Use Mint

In my mind, chocolate and mint pair perfectly together, which is what inspired us to create these delicious fresh mint brownies. However, there are many other ways you can use the preserved mint leaves or mint extract. Some of our favorite ways include ice cream and other minty desserts, refreshing cold salads, and spicing up a cocktail or mocktail.

dried mint used for brownies

Fresh Mint Brownies

Ingredients:

½ cup Coconut Oil or Butter
1 cup Chocolate Chips
½ cup Brown sugar (coconut sugar or granulated white sugar would work as well)
3 eggs
¼ cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
2 heaping tbsp of fresh or dried mint leaves
Salt to taste

fresh mint brownies ingredients

Directions:

  • Place butter or coconut oil in a small saucepan with chocolate chips and mint leaves.
  • Heat over low/medium heat, stirring continuously until everything is melted.
  • Remove from heat and pour melted mixture into a high-powered blender or food processor.

fresh mint brownie batter in pan

  • Add the rest of the ingredients (sugar, eggs, cacao powder, and a dash of salt) to the blender or food processor.
  • Blend everything until smooth. The mixture will be quite thick.
  • Pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish and bake at 350 degree for 25 minutes.

mint brownies on plate

Nothing beats these fresh mint brownies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We highly recommend making your own homemade ice cream to take this dessert to the next level!

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fresh mint brownies

Fresh Mint Brownies

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

If you’ve grown mint before, you know that it grows like crazy. While there’s nothing better than the crisp flavor of fresh peppermint or spearmint from the garden, figuring out what to do with all that mint can be a challenge. We love to preserve as much of that mint as possible for use all year and these fresh mint brownies are some of our favorite ways to put them to use.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Coconut Oil or Butter

  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 
½ cup Brown sugar (coconut sugar or granulated white sugar would work as well)

  • 3 eggs
  • 
¼ cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

  • 2 heaping tbsp of fresh or dried mint leaves
  • 
Salt to taste

Instructions

    1. Place butter or coconut oil in a small saucepan with chocolate chips and mint leaves.
    2. Heat over low/medium heat, stirring continuously until everything is melted.
    3. Remove from heat and pour melted mixture into a high-powered blender or food processor.
    4. Add the rest of the ingredients (sugar, eggs, cacao powder, and a dash of salt) to the blender or food processor.
    5. Blend everything until smooth. The mixture will be quite thick.
    6. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish and bake at 350 degree for 25 minutes.

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