Peppermint Bark Brownies

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These Peppermint Bark Brownies are a fantastic holiday dessert to make for a cookie exchange or to bring to parties, with their gooey delicious brownie, sweet cream cheese layer, chocolate ganache topping, and crunchy peppermint sprinkles.

» You might also like these Snowball Cookies or Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle.

Peppermint bark brownies

I’ve taken these brownies to many holiday parties and they are always a big hit. Be ready or the sugar rush they produce, though. These aren’t a low-calorie dessert!

The three layers of rich sweet chocolate and cream cheese are each unique and tantalizing in their own way. I love how they come together to make one super tasty treat.

To make these even easier to make, I suggest using a boxed brownie mix. It’s easy and requires only 3 other ingredients. Making your own brownies is cool too, but takes a bit more time and energy. Do as you like.

Ingredients You Need

As I mentioned, if you choose to make the brownies from scratch, the ingredients list looks fairly long and tedious. Most of these things are pantry staples, so it’s not as bad as it looks. If you choose, you can use a brownie mix instead to cut down on ingredients. I also like to use candy cane crunch so I don’t have to open and crush a ton of candy canes.

For boxed brownies:

  • Brownie mix – You can use any boxed mix.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Egg – At room temperature
  • Water

For homemade brownies:

  • Eggs – At room temperature
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Vanilla extract – Adds a mild vanilla flavor.
  • Granulated sugar – Use granulated white sugar for the best outcome. If you want, you can replace regular sugar with granulated monk fruit or allulose.
  • All-purpose flour –  Using all-purpose flour will give you the best results.
  • Cocoa powder – Go for a Dutch process high-quality cocoa powder. It’s worth it!
  • Salt

For the peppermint cream cheese layer

  • Cream cheese – We always use full fat cream cheese. At room temperature.
  • Butter – Softened to room temperature.
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Peppermint extract – Go very light on this, a little goes a long way.
  • Milk
  • Salt – The salt balances out and brightens up the sweetness.

For the chocolate ganache layer

  • Butter – Softened to room temperature.
  • Dark chocolate – I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips. You can use any chocolate you like.
  • Crushed candy canes – You can crush up candy canes in a plastic bag, or buy a bag of candy cane crunch. I always find that I use a lot of this during the holidays.

» In case your curiousCan You make Brownies Without Eggs?

Peppermint bark brownies

How to Make Peppermint Bark Brownies

Preheat the oven to 350°F(176°C). Line an 8×8 baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper, cut to fit with enough overhanging that you can pull it out of the pan once the brownies are made.

If you’re using a box of brownies, mix and bake the brownies according to the package instructions. Set aside to cool.

For homemade brownies:

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and sugar. Beat them together with a whisk or hand blender.

brownie batter

Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and stir together until everything is fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely.

brownie batter in a pan

For the peppermint cream cheese layer:

In a large bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat them together with a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.

Add in the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and peppermint extract. Beat the mixture again for 1 minute until it’s light and fluffy. Sometimes when you add the confectioner’s sugar, it becomes quite stiff. If it’s not spreadable, add the milk to thin it out so you can spread it onto the brownies.

spreading the cream cheese layer over the brownies

Spoon the mixture evenly onto the cooled brownies. Cover and refrigerate it for 20 minutes, while you’re making the chocolate ganache.

For the ganache layer:

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth. You can also use the double broiler method, if you don’t like or have a microwave.

spreading the ganache

Pour the ganache onto the top of the brownies and spread it evenly with a knife. Quickly sprinkle on the crushed candy canes, before the chocolate hardens.

Tips for the Best Brownies

  • Peppermint is a great combination with chocolate, but you need to be very careful with the peppermint extract because it’s incredibly strong. I suggest starting with just a few drops and seeing how you feel before adding more.
  • Be careful when microwaving the chocolate because it does burn fairly quickly. Microwave for just 20 seconds at a time and stop when most of the chips are melted. Stirring rapidly will help the rest melt.
  • The ganache layer will harden pretty quickly, so be sure to sprinkle on the peppermint crunch quickly after spreading the chocolate.
  • You can crush up candy canes in a plastic bag, or buy a bag of candy cane crunch. I always find that I use a lot of this during the holidays for things like these brownies, or peppermint bark cookies, or peppermint espresso martinis. Might as well have a bag!
A peppermint bark brownie

How to Cut the Brownies

One of the trickiest things about making these brownies look good is cutting them. To get the cleanest cut without chocolate spreading into the cream cheese layer and vice versa, you need a very sharp, large knife and you should clean it each time you make a cut.

Run the knife under warm water, the make one long decisive cut. Clean the knife and start over with another cut. You want to cut the square into 16 pieces, so start by cutting the square into fourths, then each of those squares into fourths.

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A peppermint bark brownie

Peppermint Bark Brownies

These Peppermint Bark Brownies are a fantastic holiday dessert to make for a cookie exchange or to bring to parties, with their gooey delicious brownie, sweet cream cheese layer, chocolate ganache topping, and crunchy peppermint sprinkles.
5 from 73 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 16 Servings
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Laura Lynch

Ingredients

For packaged brownie mix:

  • 1 box brownie mix
  • 3 tablespoons (44 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) oil
  • 2 eggs

For homemade brownies:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (94 g) flour
  • 2/3 cup (57 g) cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt

For peppermint cream cheese layer:

  • 3 oz (85 g) cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (57 g) butter softened
  • 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 drops peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7 ml) milk if needed
  • pinch salt

For ganache:

  • 1/4 cup (57 g) butter softened
  • 6 ounces (170 g) dark chocolate chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) crushed candy canes

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F(176°C). Line an 8×8 baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper, cut to fit with a little overhang.

For packaged brownie mix:

  • If using a box of brownies, mix and bake the brownies according to the package instructions.

For homemade brownies:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and sugar. Beat them together with a whisk or hand blender.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and stir together until everything is fully incorporated.
  • Pour mixture into the baking dish and spread it out with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow the brownies to cool completely.

For peppermint cream cheese layer:

  • In a large bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat with a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  • Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and peppermint extract. Beat again for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add the milk only if it’s too thick to spread.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly onto the cooled brownies. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes, while making the chocolate ganache.

For the ganache:

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth.
  • Pour the ganache onto the top of the brownies and spread it evenly with a knife. Quickly sprinkle on the crushed candy canes, before the chocolate hardens.

Notes

  • For the dark chocolate ganache layer, I use Ghirardelli 60% to 72% chocolate chips.
  • Peppermint is a great combination with chocolate, but you need to be very careful with the peppermint extract because it’s incredibly strong. I suggest starting with just a few drops and seeing how you feel before adding more.
  • Be careful when microwaving the chocolate because it does burn fairly quickly. Microwave for just 20 seconds at a time and stop when most of the chips are melted. Stirring rapidly will help the rest melt.
  • The ganache layer will harden pretty quickly, so be sure to sprinkle on the peppermint crunch quickly after spreading the chocolate.
  • You can crush up candy canes in a plastic bag, or buy a bag of candy cane crunch. I always find that I use a lot of this during the holidays for things like these brownies, or peppermint bark cookies, or peppermint espresso martinis. Might as well have a bag!

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 253IU | Vitamin C: 0.001mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg

3 thoughts on “Peppermint Bark Brownies

    • Laura says:

      I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips https://amzn.to/3VMMBv4. You can use any chocolate chips or chunks you like, doesn’t have to be dark chocolate, but that’s what I like.

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