Summer is back!!! After a brief splash of rain, the temperature has crept back up to the 30s and the sun is shining. Also, lockdown is easing in the UK. That means it’ll soon be time for Pimms in the Beer Garden. Which got me thinking, what are the some of the best, quintessential British flavours for summer drinks? and, more importantly, what can I bake into a cake? Pimms is garnished with Mint and Strawberry, so THAT is exactly what’s going in my summer blondies.
I made this recipe at least four times, it was a tricky little one to get right. But good things come to those who wait, and on my last few strawberries I cracked it to make the perfect batch of blondies. These are light and gooey all at the same time, with Mint and Strawberries to give them a bright summery flavour.
The taste of mint isn’t in anyway overwhelming, and because it’s fresh mint you’re left with a nice subtle cool feeling in your mouth. Don’t over do the strawberries though, I think that was the problem with the first batch I baked. There is a lot of moisture in strawberries, which meant my first batch just never, ever baked – even after 1 hour and 20 minutes in the oven.
Baking with Mint
The key to getting the mint flavour into the bake is to mix it with the sugar. Cut it into long strips, and using the back of a spoon, pound the sugar with the mint. That way all the oils will be released from the mint leaves, without overpowering the mix.
I also chopped up my strawberries and added some mint to them before I started, just so it could start to infuse into the strawberry juice to give a nice rounded flavour.
This is a pretty traditional mix, where you cream the sugar and butter together. I did try a mix with melted butter, but it was just a bit bleurgh. I used a stand mixer for everything, except adding the strawberries. If you add the strawberries into a stand mixer they’re just going to be pounded down. What I was wanting was nice chunks of strawberry throughout my blondies.
How long to bake
Blondies are like Brownies, in that everyone likes them baked slightly differently. I baked mine for 30 minutes, and they were light and fluffy, but not overly ‘cakey’. if you like yours more on the gooey side, then take them out 5 minutes earlier. If you prefer the baked cake texture, leave them in for 5 minutes longer.
So what are you waiting for, put the oven on, pour yourself a long summer drink, and get baking some yummy Mint and Strawberry Blondies.
Mint and Strawberry Blondies
- 200 gms Brown Sugar Light or Dark, whichever you prefer
- 60 gms Strawberries Hulled and Chopped
- 8-10 leaves Fresh Mint
- 200 gms Butter or Baking Spread
- 1 Egg
- 200 gms Plain Flour
- 0.5 tspn Baking Powder
- 60 ml Milk
- Preheat your oven to 180c fan, 200c, Gas Mark 4, 350f
- Line an 8" Brownie Tin or similar with baking parchment
- Finely chop 4-5 of the Mint leaves, and using the back of a spoon pound it into the sugar to release the oils in the mint leaves
- Finely chop the remaining Mint Leaves and mix it with the chopped strawberries and put to one side
- In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon and elbow grease cream together the butter and minty sugar until light and fluffy
- Add the egg and milk, and beat well
- Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the mix. Mix until just combined
- Lastly, add the minty strawberries and mix through by hand, making sure they are well distributed
- Pour into the baking tray, and level with a spatula or palette knife
- Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes – see story above to discover the best time for you
- When baked till you are happy with them, remove from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 10 minutes
- Remove from the tin and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool fully before cutting into squares and enjoying!