These fudgy peppermint bark brownies are the perfect dessert for the holidays! These candy cane brownie are made up of three layers: a gooey brownie layer, a peppermint cheesecake layer, and finally a chocolate ganache topping with crushed candy canes!
I absolutely love getting a tin of peppermint bark when Christmas rolls around. Chocolate and candy canes is the ultimate holiday combo in my opinion! These candy cane layered brownies are just like peppermint bark in a brownie.
While there are so many Christmas cookie recipes, I feel like we don't have enough Christmas brownies! And now, I cannot get enough of these peppermint brownies!
Why you'll love these fudgy peppermint bark brownies!
- The homemade brownie layer is similar to my cheesecake brownie recipe. It's a simple recipe that doesn't require a mixer!
- The peppermint cream cheese layer is a thick cream cheese frosting with peppermint extract.
- The peppermint brownies are then chilled and covered with a simple chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crushed candy canes.
- While these have a few components, they are simple to make and the brownies can be made ahead of time.
- You can easily make a small batch if you prefer! Just halve the ingredients and use a 4.5x8.5 inch loaf pan.
- Flour: I have only tested this recipe with all purpose flour.
- Unsalted Butter: I always use European style butter which is much creamier and richer due to have a higher butterfat content.
- Cocoa Powder: I used dutch process cocoa powder in this recipe. You can use natural cocoa powder if you prefer but the brownies won't be as dark.
- Chocolate: I always use dark chocolate in my brownies!
- Cream Cheese: make sure to use full-fat cream cheese.
- Peppermint Extract: use peppermint extract and not mint extract, which tastes more like mint toothpaste.
- Candy Canes: crush candy canes in a food processor or place in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a large bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave. I find the chocolate and butter melts faster if both are chopped up into smaller pieces. Melt in 20 second increments, stirring so it doesn't burn. Once it is completely, melted it take out of the microwave and whisk until smooth.
Step 2: Whisk in the sugar, light brown sugar and eggs. Whisk until it is combined and thick. Pour in the oil and vanilla, whisking once more.
Step 3: Add all of the dry ingredients - the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Fold with a rubber spatula until there are no more streaks of flour or cocoa powder.
Step 4: Pour into an 8x8 baking pan that is greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake in an oven preheated to 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius for 24-28 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out with a few crumbs. Set aside and let the brownies cool completely.
Step 5: In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, combine the room temperature butter with the cream cheese. Beat for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Step 6: Add the confectioners' sugar, salt, and peppermint extract. Beat until light and fluffy. Spread on to the cooled brownies, making sure it is an even layer with an offset spatula. You can either freeze for 20 minutes, or if you're making this the day before you can just place in the fridge.
Step 7: In a large jug or a medium bowl, melt the chopped chocolate with the butter in the microwave. Melt in 20 second increments, whisking after every 20 seconds so it doesn't burn. Once almost melted, take out and whisk until smooth. Take the brownies out of the fridge or freezer and pour the chocolate on top of the cream cheese layer. Use a small offset spatula to make the topping even.
Step 8: Sprinkle over the crushed candy canes. I also added a few sprinkles! Then let the chocolate set. You can place in the fridge if you want it to set faster. Once hard, take out of the fridge. You might need to let the brownies come to room temperature to be able to lift them out of the pan. Slice and enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Measuring – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake!
- Fluff and Sprinkle Flour – if you aren’t weighing your ingredients and are using a measuring cup, then use the fluff and sprinkle method to measure your flour. Go to this link here to find out how to do that.
- Let the brownies cool - make sure the brownies are completely cool before adding the cream cheese layer, otherwise it might get too soft.
- Use peppermint extract - make sure you are using food grade peppermint extract! Don't use mint extract, and don't use a heavy hand or it will taste like toothpaste.
- Use a sharp knife to cut - the best way to get clean slices is to use a sharp knife, let it heat up under warm running water, quickly wipe dry and slice. Repeat, cleaning the knife after each slice.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can either crush them in a food processor, or place in a plastic ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.
Yes you can! Do half of all the ingredients and bake the brownies in a 8.5x4.5 inch loaf pan. You might have to bake them for slightly less time in the oven, but all the other steps are the same.
You can, but each layer will be thinner than pictured. You will also have to slightly decrease the baking time.
You can make the brownies a day ahead, just leave them in the pan. You can also add the cream cheese layer a day before, just keep the layered brownies in the fridge until ready to top with the melted chocolate.
Peppermint Bark Brownies
- 1 8x8 baking pan
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 4 oz dark chocolate chopped
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
Peppermint Cream Cheese Layer
- 3 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- pinch kosher salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 6 oz dark chocolate chopped
- 3 candy canes crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit/ 175°Celsius and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, making sure there is some overhanging to make it easier to remove the brownies.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together. You can either do this in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, or in a double boiler. Once the chocolate and butter has completely melted, whisk to combine.¾ cup unsalted butter, 4 oz dark chocolate
- Add the sugar, light brown sugar and eggs. Whisk until smooth and thick.½ cup light brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs
- Add the oil and vanilla extract, whisking again until smooth.¼ cup vegetable oil, ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour in the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula until there are no more streaks of flour left.1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¾ cup all purpose flour, ¼ cup cocoa powder
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 24-28 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out with a few wet crumbs. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan.
Make Peppermint Layer
- Don't start this step until the brownies are completely cool!
- In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese together. Beat for about 1-2 minutes until smooth.¼ cup unsalted butter, 3 oz cream cheese
- Add the confectioners' sugar, salt, and peppermint extract. Beat again for 1 minute until light and fluffy.2 ½ cups confectioners' sugar, pinch kosher salt, ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Spoon this on to the cooled brownies. Use an offset spatula to cover the brownies evenly. Place in the fridge for a few hours or in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Make Chocolate Topping
- While the peppermint layer is chilling, make the chocolate ganache top.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chopped chocolate together. Melt in 20 second increments, whisking to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn.¼ cup unsalted butter, 6 oz dark chocolate
- Once the chocolate is melted, take the bowl out and whisk until it is smooth.
- Pour this chocolate over the peppermint cream cheese layer. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the top. Sprinkle over the crushed candy canes. Do this step right away as otherwise the chocolate will harden pretty quickly!3 candy canes
- Slice and enjoy!