Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
Add a festive spin to your brownies this holiday season and bake peppermint brownies with chocolate ganache. These dessert bars are extra fudgy with just the right amount of mint flavor. They will be a hit at your Christmas parties!
Christmas calls for candy canes and I will combine peppermint and chocolate wherever I can. When it comes to that flavor combo, these peppermint brownies are above and beyond. I used my fudgy brownie recipe to make a super chocolate-y brownie with peppermint flavor throughout. If that’s not enough, there is chocolate ganache on top, which acts as a frosting, and crushed candy canes as garnish!
Why this recipe works
- Extra chocolate-y: This recipe uses melted chocolate, chocolate chips and cocoa for the ultimate fudgy texture. Then there is chocolate ganache topping!
- Easy to make from scratch: The recipe uses common ingredients with easy to follow instructions.
- Festive flavor: The addition of peppermint extract in both the brownies and the ganache provide plenty of flavor as does the crushed candy on top.
- Great gift: Bring this dessert to your next Christmas party or add them to your holiday cookie box for gifting!
- Chocolate: You can use chopped chocolate or chocolate chips for melting and making the brownie batter. Additional chocolate chips are mixed in towards the end as well.
- Peppermint extract: This is a common ingredient found at most grocery stores. You can also use peppermint oil.
- Cocoa powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is best for baking. I prefer the Ghirardelli brand.
- Butter: Unsalted butter will be melted so it doesn’t matter if it’s room temperature. You can also use salted butter, but remember to reduce the added salt by 1/4 teaspoon.
- Heavy cream: This is a must to make a perfect ganache topping (milk will not work).
This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan if you want a larger batch. Baking time will be slightly longer, about 5 more minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can use boxed brownie mix instead and mix in the peppermint extract.
If you don’t want ganache on top, you can skip that step. In that case, sprinkle some crushed candy cane on top of the brownies before baking. You can also mix in peppermint chips or white chocolate chips into the batter instead of semisweet chocolate chips if you prefer.
For less mint flavor, omit the peppermint extract from the ganache and use vanilla instead. Try adding some holiday sprinkles in place of the crushed peppermint as a garnish.
How to make peppermint brownies
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Melt chocolate for brownies in a makeshift double boiler over low heat. Add chocolate and butter, stir until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa. Set aside.
- Make the batter: Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, peppermint extract and salt, then mix until combined. Mix in chocolate mixture, then stir in flour. Finally stir in chocolate chips.
- Bake: Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake brownies for 25 minutes or until edges are set and top is shiny. Cool completely.
- Prepare ganache: Heat cream until simmering. Pour cream and peppermint extract over bowl of chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Assembly: Pour ganache over cooled brownies and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle crushed peppermint over ganache. Chill brownies for 15 minutes before serving.
Brownies are so easy to make, but there are some tricks to achieving the best results. To start, make sure you use good quality chocolate. I prefer Ghirardelli or Guittard brands.
When melting the chocolate, be patient and stir occasionally. If it melts too quickly, it will burn and you can’t save it. If the ganache doesn’t melt completely, place it in the microwave for 15 seconds on 50% power level. See more tips in my guide to melting chocolate.
Before spreading ganache over the brownies, make sure they are cooled completely so the ganache doesn’t melt everywhere. To make sure the ganache sets and the crushed candy cane bits stay put, I find it helpful to place the brownies in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
Make ahead and storage tips
Brownies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. If stacking the bars, place parchment paper between the layers so they don’t stick.
Peppermint brownies may be frozen for up to 2 months. After they have cooled completely, wrap the entire bar in plastic wrap then aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Store in the freezer. If freezing with the ganache on top, make sure it is set before doing so. Defrost in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
Brownies and ganache may be ahead of time and stored separately before serving too. Bring the ganache to room temperature before spreading on top of the brownies. If necessary, heat in the microwave at 50% power level for 20 seconds so it is a more spreadable consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
A little goes a long way so you only need 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract for an 8×8 pan of brownies.
Peppermint candy melts oddly when baked. This may make the brownies misshapen or create weird chewy bits in the bars. I suggest sprinkling the crushed candy on top if you want to bake with them.
The edges will be firm and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. The top will be shiny and crinkly. If a toothpick is inserted in the center, it should come out with some moist crumbs.
If you enjoyed this recipe, here are some desserts you should try next!
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Get the Recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (200 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate, (or chocolate chips)
- ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (87 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (170 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate, (or chocolate chips)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ¼ cup crushed candy canes
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8 by 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a makeshift double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla extract, peppermint extract and salt until combined, about 15 seconds. Keep mixer on low and slowly pour in warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour just until just combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly (batter will be thick). Bake 25 minutes, or until the top is shiny and the center is still dense. Brownies will continue to bake once removed from oven. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Prepare chocolate ganache.
- In a saucepan or the microwave, heat heavy cream until simmering. Place chocolate chips in a bowl, then pour heavy cream and peppermint extract over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted. If the chocolate doesn’t melt, place the bowl in the microwave for 15 seconds on 50% power level.
- Spread ganache over cooled brownies and sprinkle crushed candy cane bits on top. Press down slightly so they stay. Chill the brownies for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.