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Close up brownies with cream cheese peppermint topping on white marble.

Peppermint Brownies

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Intense and fudgy brownies with mint, cream cheese frosting and crushed peppermint candies. An easy brownie recipe for the holiday season with simple ingredients.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 9 squares

Ingredients

Units

For the brownies:

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 5oz dark chocolate (semisweet), in pieces
  • 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (up to 1/2 teaspoon if you want a strong mint flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (45g) all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you use it)
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

For the mint brownies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.
  2. Butter or spray an 8-inch square baking pan. You can line it with a strip of parchment paper, covering the pan's bottom and two sides. The other two sides will remain unlined but greased. This will help you remove the brownies from the pan. 
  3. Melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave (at 10-15 second intervals, stirring well each time) or in a double boiler with the bottom of the bowl not touching the water.
  4. Add brown sugar and mix well.
  5. Add eggs and combine until it’s creamy. Don't beat; use a whisk. 
  6. Add the flour and salt and mix.
  7. Add the peppermint and vanilla extracts and integrate well until smooth and shiny.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a bit puffed and the surface is dry. They still have to be a little jiggly in the middle, and a cake tester or toothpick will come out with very moist (but not wet) crumbs attached. 
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Run a smooth-bladed knife around the unlined edges to unstuck any parts before lifting the paper carefully so the brownie block comes out in one piece. Place on a flat surface and cut them into squares.
  11. I cover them in plastic wrap or an airtight container and leave them at room temperature for a day before cutting them. It mellows the flavors.

For the cream cheese frosting:

  1. Beat the softened cream cheese and butter together until completely smooth and lump-free. 
  2. Add 1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in two parts with salt, and mix or beat until fully incorporated and the frosting is thick but pipeable. If needed, use more sugar. Be careful that it's not so thick that it'll be impossible to pipe. 
  3. Use a piping bag or a spoon and frost the cooled brownies. 
  4. Sprinkle crushed candy cane bits on top of the brownies before serving.  

Notes

  • Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 
  • Baking: take them out when the center still jiggles. That will ensure fudginess. 
  • Freezing: they can be frozen, well wrapped - and are amazing almost from the freezer, in case you ask. The sugar makes them taste like candy, similar to what happens with the over-the-top brownies after a few days.
  • Mint: we use peppermint extract such as Simply Organic peppermint flavor or Frontier Natural peppermint extract. Another alternative would be using creme the menthe extract, but it's not as concentrated.
  • Semisweet chocolate: the brownie mix includes melted chocolate and I like to use dark chocolate. Use your favorite brand. I usually go with Ghirardelli Premium baking barGhirardelli Intense dark bar or Callebaut dark baking callets.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Bars & Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American