I’ve got a festive treat for us today!
It’s no secret that I am Irish. My given name is Molly Claire Reilly. The only thing that would make the name more Irish is if it was “O’Reilly.” I married an Irish dude. And our kid sports one of the most Irish names out there (Kieran, for those of you wondering, is akin to the name “John” in Ireland).
So, in our family, St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal. Growing up, my father insisted that we all wear green on the special day. Even when I was away at school, he would call to ensure that I was sporting green that day. It was always a fun day.
And while my mom didn’t make a ton of traditional Irish food on the big day, I have sort of made it a point in my own married life to do just that. Except that it doesn’t always look like corned beef and colcannon. I often switch things up a bit and add some traditional (stereotypical?) Irish flavors to our food.
This Irish carbomb cheesecake is one example. This Irish poutine with whiskey gravy is another. Oh, and these homemade shamrock shakes. And these Guinness-marinated steak sandwiches. Oh, and we can’t forget these Irish cream lucky charms treats! Those will give you a sugar rush, for sure.
All swoon worthy. All examples of my personal twists on our food in honor of St. Patty’s. Maybe this year I’ll stick to tradition and do some corned beef and cabbage? We’ll see.
For now, I give you chocolate chip blondies. “Huh?” you might be saying. “How are blondies Irish?!” These are no ordinary blondies, I assure you. I infuse the butter with loads of fresh mint and double up on the chocolate. These are insanely rich and fresh tasting at the same time, and they are perfect as a festive St. Patty’s treat.
Mint and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combos, and I associate it with St. Patrick’s Day. Do you? Am I the only one? It probably stems from shamrock shakes. No matter the origin, I adore the combo and will forever use St. Patty’s as an excuse to eat all the minty chocolate things!
Because Kieran can’t get enough sprinkles in his life (seriously, he’s obsessed), I topped these with green sugar sprinkles and mini shamrock sprinkles. Just for fun. The sprinkles are TOTALLY optional, but I will say, they give the blondies a delicious crunch and emphasize the super festive theme I was going for. Kieran loved them.
I loved them.
Heck, even Dan, who is NOT a mint fan, thoroughly enjoyed these blondies. Maybe he secretly loves sprinkles as much as Kieran does?
The blondies themselves bake up crispy and crunchy around the edges with the most fantastic buttery chew. They are LOADED with dark chocolate. The middle of the blondies are so chocolate-laden and gooey, it’s almost like biting into pure chocolate. It was heaven, and just talking about it is making me sad that these are long gone from our kitchen.
If you aren’t a fan of dark chocolate, feel free to sub with your preferred kind. I will say that the bitterness imparted by the dark chocolate worked really well with the sweet batter. So keep that in mind if making substitutions!
In my humble opinion, blondies are preferable over brownies any day. I just live for that brown sugar chew! The mint addition here really takes these to a new level. It’s such an unexpected flavor!
Sprinkles or not, these need to happen in your life. Even if you don’t celebrate St. Patty’s Day. Even if you aren’t Irish in the least. Even if you think you don’t like mint chocolate.
Just trust me on this one.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 stick unsalted butter
1 bunch of fresh mint (roughly 1/3 cup)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
½ teaspoon pure mint extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
Green/shamrock sprinkles, as desired, for decorating
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper so that the parchment hangs over the sides (this will serve as “handles” to lift the blondies out of the pan later). Spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Meanwhile, place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the fresh mint and allow it to cook for an additional minute. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mint to infuse the butter for at least 30 minutes.
Discard the mint from the butter and add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the brown sugar and beat until the butter and sugar are fluffy and well combined. Add in the egg, vanilla, and mint extract and beat to combine.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add the mixture to the wet ingredients.
Finally, fold in the chocolate.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and even out the top. If using sprinkles, top the blondies with them now.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden and set and the middle is no longer jiggly.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
Garnish, if desired, with fresh mint leaves. Store the blondies at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days.