Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies

My #1 top favorite holiday dessert!  I’ve been making this mint brownie recipe since I was a kid and during Christmas time we love replacing the green food coloring with red, and giving them a festive sprinkling of crushed candy cane.  This starts with a super rich and fudgy brownie, topped with a cool layer of peppermint frosting, and finished with a creamy chocolate ganache.

Peppermint Candycane Brownies

I made a jumbo batch of these yesterday to deliver to neighbors and think it’s worth the highlight here.  These brownies have a few steps, and take a little extra planning, but they’re so, so worth it.  You can even make them all the way, or part of the way, a day ahead of time and spread out the work.  This is my Mother’s recipe, and something I requested from her often, so I have tender memories associated with it.

Step 1 Make the Brownie Layer:

You’ll start by making the brownie layer. You want to use unsweetened baking chocolate, which is sold in bars by the chocolate chips. Make sure it is unsweetened.  Place it in a microwave-safe bowl along with 2 sticks of butter that you’ve chopped up.

Butter and Chocolate
Melt in 30-45 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Set aside. Don’t accidentally stick your finger in the melted butter and chocolate combo because it will laugh at you for forgetting that it is unsweetened.  I do it every. single. time.

Beat eggs and sugar for a minute, until they’re nice and smooth.  Then slowly pour in your chocolaty butter mixture and mix just until it’s combined.

Pouring in Chocolate
You’ll add a bit of flour and baking powder, and again just mix until it’s combined.  You never want to over-mix brownies.  I also always sift my flour for this recipe.  You can just put it in a mesh strainer and shake it right into the batter.  I’ve noticed when I don’t, I sometimes get little visible flour spots in my brownies.

FlourBake those until a knife comes out clean.  I’ve found that baking time really varies on these, so make sure to do the knife test. And I always line my pan with foil because it makes cutting and serving so much easier when you can just lift the whole sheet right out of there.

Brownies BakedLet those cool all the way.  If it’s cold out, pop them outside, otherwise after they’ve cooled to room temp, I just stick them in the fridge.

Step 2: Make the frosting Layer:

Next layer is the frosting.  Whip up some butter (real butter!) and then add powdered sugar.

Powdered SugarYou’ll add a little milk (this frosting is on the firm side, don’t go crazy with the milk),

Milk and Frosting
and quite a lot of peppermint extract.  It will probably seem like too much, but it’s purposely strong.  This is the only peppermint going into the brownies, and it’s a thin layer.  So that one cool, creamy layer has to be enough to contrast all of the rich chocolate.

Peppermint ExtractWhip, whip, whip,

Frostingto creamy perfection.

Whipped FrostingAdd a couple drops of red food coloring. These AmeriColors gel colors are my new favorites.  I LOVE that they conveniently squirt out instead of me having to get out a toothpick to dip into the little jar and then inevitably getting it all over my hands and counter.

Christmas Red ColoringA couple of drops will do it.

Pink FrostingThen carefully spread the frosting on your cooled brownies.  You have to use a soft hand in order to not tear up the top of the brownie layer.  If you get a few bits in there it’s okay though, because we’re going to cover that up anyway.

Frosting Spread onPop that in the fridge again to chill.

Step 3: Make the Chocolate Topping Layer:

And while that’s happening, melt some semi-sweet (or dark) chocolate chips and more butter.  I prefer to use unsalted in this top layer, but you can use either.

Chocolate Chips and ButterMelt it until it’s smooth and creamy. Remember in the first step when I told you to not accidentally let your finger fall in the chocolate butter mixture? Totally doesn’t apply to this chocolate butter mixture.

Melted Chocolate ToppingLet it cool off so it’s still super spreadable, but not hot (if it’s hot it will melt your frosting and make a big gooey mess.

Pouring ChocoalteJust spread it on quickly and evenly.

Spread with ChocolateWhile it’s still wet, sprinkle on some crushed candy cane.

Crushed CandycaneA little, a lot, whatever floats your boat.

Sprinked with candycanesYou can make this whole pan a day ahead of time.  Just cover well and place in the fridge (uncut) overnight.)  When you’re ready to serve, pull the foil out so you remove the whole sheet of brownies and cutting is a cinch.

You get three distinct layers here of rich and fudgy brownie, cool creamy frosting, and smooth decadent chocolate.

peppermint brownies

The little bits of candy cane are icing on the cake.  Or topping on the brownie. Whatever.

Candycane Brownies


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brownies stacked up

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies

  • Author: kate jones


These Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies from Our Best Bites are the ULTIMATE holiday dessert! They require a few extra steps, but they’re definitely worth it!




4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 tablespoon milk
pink or red food coloring

Chocolate Glaze

6 ounces (about a cup) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
6 tablespoons real butter (I suggest unsalted just for this step)


1/21 cup crushed candy canes (Use Bob’s or Brach’s; I don’t recommend Spangler’s)


the Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13″ pan with foil and grease the foil. Set aside.

Roughly chop baking squares and 1 cup of butter. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in 30-45 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a stand mixer or with electric beaters, beat eggs for about 3 minutes until thick and frothy.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat to combine, then add in the reserved melted chocolate and butter combination. Combine flour and baking powder and whisk into brownie batter by hand until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness and don’t over bake! When a toothpick comes out clean, cool on a cooling rack. When completely cool, place the pan in the refrigerator to chill (this makes spreading the peppermint icing easier).


Combine all frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Add extra milk by teaspoonful if you need a little more. Spread evenly over cooled/chilled brownies and place back in the fridge to chill again while you do the final step.

Chocolate Glaze

Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 30 second intervals until smooth.

Set aside for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, so it can cool off just a bit. Quickly spread on top of brownies. You need to work quickly so the chocolate glaze doesn’t melt the peppermint frosting.

Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and return to the fridge until chocolate is set on top.

Remove from fridge a few minutes before cutting into squares. Enjoy!


  1. Ha ha. My kids regularly ask for “that one Spanish song that the lady sings.” (Feliz Navidad by Celine Dion)

    Anyway, these look so good. And so festive! Thanks for all of the yummy Christmasy stuff you have already posted, and all of the stuff you will yet post!

  2. I love love love love mint brownies! I’m so excited to try these and since I have some ganache in the fridge I just may have to!

  3. I am so excited you posted this recipe. Our family was so lucky to try these babies last week. I can say they are worth every step they take to make. Super moist and the combo of pepperiment with chocolate very tasty! The presentation is super impressive. These brownies would make a great gift. People will be begging you for the recipe. Thanks again!

  4. Chocolate and mint is my favorite flavor combination, this is sure to be a hit!! Ok, maybe I better actually have an occasion to make these, otherwise, I’ll end up eating 95% of the pan myself. Is that bad? It’s Christmas afterall…

  5. Those look awesome.

    And am I the only one who hasn’t heard Celine Dion’s “Feliz Navidad”? One of my earliest memories is my mom and I stopping to get soft tacos at Taco Time to take to my dad at work for lunch and listening to “Feliz Navidad” in the car.

  6. Sara will you marry me? lol
    Too bad my hubby HATES peppermint. What a weirdo right?

    I’m still going to make these. Yum yum yum yum.

  7. It’s 8:00 in the morning and I’m ready to sink my teeth into these. I think I’ll be doing some baking later…

  8. Patti, I mentioned in the Peppermint Bark Popcorn post that I’m quite a connoisseur of candy canes! lol. I think that Bob’s are the best, hands down. They have a perfect, crunchy texture, while Spanglers tend to be a bit chewy (you know, the type that gets stuck in your teeth). Bob’s also has a MUCH better flavor, which is the main reason. I honestly don’t think Spanglers uses real peppermint oil because they have the weirdest flavor. Bob’s have a really good, fresh, pepperminty flavor. So when I’m baking, I always recommend using Bob’s. (Man, they should pay me a commission, don’t you think? lol)

  9. Hi Sarah! Yes, I did use your tutorial! Thank you so much! The icing was great. I had a really stiff frosting at first, but after adding more milk (actually added more corn syrup too) it worked out just fine. 🙂

  10. Thanks Sarah! I plan to make more cookies soon and I will include you in the link – also, I tried to find a way to email you but couldn’t…if you want to email me at grumpyshoneybunch at yahoo dot com I can be in touch with you that way. Thanks again!

  11. Oh, peppermint brownies are usually one of my most favorite things in the whole world!! But being pregnant, chocolate makes me sick. How sad is my life?!

    These looks so good. I wish I could try them!!

  12. I made these last night for a party. They were a huge hit!! People battling over the last few. I’ll be making them again for another party!

  13. I just made these brownies over the weekend and they were SO YUMMY! Thanks for the great recipe! It will be one I will make every Christmas!

  14. Hi, I made these last Saturday for a holiday luncheon. I enjoyed them. I’m thinking everyone else did as well as there were no left overs! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Happy 2009!

  15. Just made these…they are AMAZING!!! And I think I'm going to do cupcakes with that frosting, because it is too good not to use more often during the holidays! Thanks!!

  16. I have been searching far and wide for a recipe just like this! None of them were quite what I was looking for. These look perfect!! There's nothing better than chocolate and mint during the holidays. THANK YOU for posting this; I cannot wait to make them!!

  17. I don't think you need to adjust anything for altitude on these. I've made them both at sea level and up in the mountains and they've been great every time! It's a dense, thick brownie, so you don't need to worry too much about delicate rising.

  18. This sounds soooo delicious. Have you ever made a thinner variety by baking the brownies in a jelly roll pan? Any suggestions for how long to bake it and would I need to make more frosting?

  19. Kanani- ya know, I really should configure it for a jelly roll pan because they do take a bit of time to make and it would be nice to get more brownies out of the process! If I were just guessing I'd say you might want to 1 1/2 the brownie part and definitely double both the frosting and the chocolate topping. And it would definitely take less time to bake since it would be thinner. If you try it out I'd love to know how it goes!

  20. I made these a few weeks ago and really enjoyed them, but my husband thought the glaze on top was a little to rich/dark. Have you ever used milk chocolate chips for the glaze and would it be good?

  21. Katie, you can definitely use milk chocolate chips. I personally like my chocolate dark dark dark so I think the darker the better! The brownies are so sweet that I like the contrast of a not so sweet chocolate, but if you prefer milk it would totally work.

  22. Sara-
    I did try doing this in a jelly roll pan. They look fabulous! I ended up using a family favorite recipe for homemade brownies (mostly because I was too lazy to chop and melt chocolate squares! and this recipe was simpler) and what I did was make 1.5 the recipe. It bakes for about 20 minutes in the jelly roll pan. Then I doubled your recipe for the peppermint frosting and the chocolate glaze and the amount was perfect. These look amazing and I can't wait to sink my teeth into them!

  23. Hi

    I made the brownies last night. The top of the brownie mixture became very meringue like in the oven while baking. It seemed done on top but the centre was still gooey according to the toothpick test. Is this normal?

  24. Oh my goodness! These are absolutely delish! I actually cheated a bit and used a boxed Ghirardelli brownie mix (today is baking day and I just don't have time to do brownies from scratch). It appears I will need to make more before the Airman Dorm Resident cookie/cake drive on Thursday. LOTS more!!

  25. Have you tried making a cream cheese/cheesecake type layer between the brownie and the chocolate where the frosting layer is? I'm just wondering if that would be delicious or a total disaster with the peppermint. These look awesome though, and we are going to make them this weekend. Yum! 🙂

  26. totally disappointed with the turn out. Brownies were underdone. They needed to be cooked atleast 40 minutes. But I followed the directions for 25 minutes and they came out way underdone. Next time I will cook them longer and I am sure they will turn out just fine.

    1. I’ve made these multiple times since my first try. Don’t know why the first ones didn’t turn out, I wasn’t thinking when I was cooking. They’ve turned out perfect each time after. Thanks for the delicious recipe!!!

  27. Melissa- never tried it, but it sounds yummy! Let me know if you try it!

    Christen- always a good idea to test baked goods with a toothpick or knife before you take them out of the oven. Better luck next time!

  28. Just made these yesterday!! OMG…YUM!!!! Just to make you feel a little better Christen, at 20 minutes mine were definitely NOT ready, but 5 more minutes they were perfect!! It was actually odd 5 minutes made that much of a difference, but it did. It's all about the toothpick test:)
    Anyways, wanted to tell you I loved them and sent some to my husbands office and got raves all around. I also am wondering why you guys aren't huge as there is so much butter in all of this stuff… it's gross LOL

  29. Made these the other day when we had some friends over for dinner. OH. MY. GOODNESS. They are divine! We served them with peppermint ice cream and homemade hot fudge. Everyone raved about them! This may just be my new favorite brownie recipe ever!

  30. Heaven! You mentioned not taking these out of the fridge until a few minutes before you served them. Does that mean they wouldn't hold up well to put on a plate and take to school? Would the chocolate top get too melty?

  31. I made these on Saturday & they couldn't be better — possibly the most delicious treat to ever come from my kitchen!

    Agreed with previous comments about a slightly longer cooking time: recipes often burn in my ancient oven before the minimum cooking time, but my brownies were just done at 25 minutes.

    Also, Sara isn't kidding when she says to cool the brownies *completely*; I tried to rush the frosting on and ended up tearing the top layer of the brownies up with the first stroke of my spatula! I forced myself to put the utensils down and the brownies back in the fridge, and was able to come back and fix my mistake later. Patience first, delicious brownies later!

  32. Just want to reiterate that my brownies need 30 or so minutes. At 20 min they are still batter except for just around the edges. So if people are thinking that they need to take it out at 25 max to not over bake that is not necessarily the case. They are fabulous though and well worth the extra effort and time!

  33. Sara – So I did try these with the cream cheese, but instead of baking the brownies with a cheesecake sort of topping (totally going to do that next time – I didn't have enough time to do that when I made them this week) I made cream cheese frosting for the frosting layer. I looked for an OBB cream cheese frosting recipe and didn't find one – you guys should post one some day. 🙂

    The one I made worked, but I know there are better ones out there. I just used 1 brick of cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons (about) of butter, 3/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and some red food coloring. It was SO good. The tang of the cream cheese against the dark chocolate brownie, with the sweet chocolate on top and the minty crunch of Bob's candy canes…..oh my.

    Also, for what it's worth our brownies were done in 20 min. They were chewy deliciousness. Thank you for this incredible recipe. You guys rock our kitchen.

  34. These might be the most delicious thing to ever cross my lips. Just FYI. I am so addicted. I just made my second pan in a week. Yikes.

  35. Do you think I could bring these on a 6 hour road trip and serve them that night? I am thinking I could keep them uncut in the pan and put the pan in a cooler on ice. What do you think? They look so Christmasy and delicious! And I am curious about the foil lining that you mentioned. Would you recommend that or not? Thanks.

  36. Kim- ya that would be fine. If your car will be warm and toasty I'd probably put them in a cooler like you said. They don't *have* to be refrigerated, they're just super fudgy so it helps. And the foil is simply to make things easier so you can lift them right out of the pan to cut, but it's not required either.

  37. These are absolute Heaven! I'm thinking of making them for a family party. Could I double the recipe and make them in a sheet cake pan? or should I stick to the original recipe and try making them in a sheetcake pan? Thank you for this AMAZING site!

  38. Hey Jen, read through the comments because it's discussed a bit there. Someone did make them in a sheet pan with success! If I had more time right now I'd find the comment for you, but I don't so you'll have to scroll through! lol

  39. I have to say, this is the 4th year I’ve made this recipe to share with friends, and they just LOVE it. Thanks again for sharing, this is my Christmas treat tradition 🙂

  40. Am I crazy or is ther NOT a “print this” buttom for just the recipe? I tried copying just the words into a word doc and it comes out all spaced weird. I just need the recipe, not the photos and extra stuff. anyone?

    1. use salted! Generally in all recipes you always want to use salted unless unsalted is specifically called for.

  41. I cheated in the interest of time and used a box brownie….mix Ghiardeli, but the peppermint frosting and the chocolate glaze made them SPECTACULAR!! Next time…brownies from scratch. WOW!!

  42. A friend made them for a church event and they were awesome! I made them and they are sooooo good…and festive looking….I might double the chocolate on top next time….maybe not…they are really rich!!

  43. These look beautiful! I’ve been searching the web for something festive to make. I am taking a dessert to a friend’s house on Christmas afternoon. Thanks for sharing!

  44. Ok I just made these today to bring to my dads for Xmas with the family! They look delicious and I can’t wait to try them!! I’ll update when I do! 🙂

    So for the brownies I used Betty Crocker chocolate Tripple Chocolate Chunk and made the rest of the stuff according to the directions on here. Oh except freakin Target was out of normal candycanes!!! Lol so I got the Hersheys Chocolate Mint kind! Let’s see how this all tastes! 30 more minutes 🙂

  45. I made them yesterday for a family event, and they truly are SO good!!! I was not a brownie fan, but I am a fan of these!! I’m a peppermint fan, so these are my new favorite!! I followed the recipe exactly, and they turned out great. I did line the pan with tin foil, and it was a little hard to get them out (but that could just be me). I think next time I’ll try greasing the pan really good because the tin foil slides around while trying to scrape them out 🙂
    Thanks again for the amazing recipe!!

  46. YEAH! I’ve been craving making these forever, especially now that I had one the other night at a party. Can’t wait to try the recipe. I’m thinking for New Years.

  47. Made these tonight. Thanks for making me look like a super star 🙂 Thank you ladies for all your hard work these were so good. Thank you for inspiring me to cook. All my favorite recipes come from OBB! It’s so fun to have so many fabulous recipes in one place I know when I’m asked to bring something to an event I can browse the recipe index or your cook book try something new and it will be a hit 🙂

  48. Heavenly. They look so awesome. I love all of the peppermint chocolate recipes on here. Just looking at them makes my heart warm. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing the peppermint goodness!

  49. Looks wonderful! Are you using unsalted or salted butter for this recipe?
    Maybe a post about the two choices for butter and which one to use for baking and other cooking. It seems that ‘unsalted’ is the choice for baked goods with salt added per individual recipe. Would like to hear you ladies discuss it.

    1. A general rule is to always use salted unless unsalted is specified. Even if unsalted is specified I often use salted (because that’s what I have on hand) and omit extra salt called for in the recipe. In baked goods, I like to use salted to off-set the sweetness of most desserts.

  50. These are fabulous! I made a batch for the church choir, and they vanished quickly. I made a second batch and split them up in little Christmas-y bags for coworkers.

  51. I made these with my daughters this weekend and they turned out amazing! I have never been able to make brownies from scratch that I actually liked (they would be dry or have more of a cake texture), these brownies are so moist and fudge-y. We used round peppermint candies which worked, but they were a little hard to bite into (definitely using Bob’s candy cane’s next time). Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  52. I know it’s only 4 am, but that’s a perfectly acceptable time to bake I think. I woke up to my husband making fudge last week at 3 am. Either we’ve got insomnia or a terrible sweet tooth!

  53. Love, love, love this recipe! I’m 8 months pregnant and crave chocolate and peppermint right now. I just made a batch last week and cut them into bite size pieces and placed them in the freezer. Now when I need a little something I can grab one (or two) out and enjoy. They are heavenly frozen I think. Hope you both have a wonderful Christmas with your families!

  54. Amazing! I am doing my holiday baking today and I’m adding these to the list. I need your opinion . . . we are building a house and debating putting hard wood or tile in the kitchen (builder recommends tile just in case of leaking appliances). How do you like your hardwood in the kitchen?!! I need some advice 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  55. Maybe I missed it and you already announced it, but did you announce the giveaway for Kate’s holiday favorites and the Artisan Pizza oven. I’m just waiting to hear you call my name :0) Merry Christmas and thanks for all the yummy recipes!

  56. I have made these the last 4 years for our family Christmas party. I got at least 10 phone calls yesterday to make sure I was bringing them! We all love them!

  57. Thanks for including the link to your Mother’s Day post. I loved reading your beautiful tribute to your mom whom you obviously love very much. Thank you for sharing this special recipe.

  58. I love anything peppermint treats! I do have a question. Have you ever made mint chocolate cheesecake? I’m dying to try making it but I’m scared to modify any recipes but I can’t find one I like! I have only had success (and man was it sweet!) with the OBB recipes.

  59. I made this last year, along with two other kinds of peppermint brownies, because I love chocolate mint everything and this recipe got my thumbs up, not to mention rave reviews from anyone who tried them. I’ll be adding this to my Christmas baking list again this year. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  60. Delicious!! My family does a Decadent Dessert Contest each year and this year my 13 year old son won with this recipe!! Our other years of winning were also recipes from your site! Last year the winner was “Easy White Cake” and a few years back my son won with “Apple Strudel Bars.” Our Best Bites has given us proven winners each time!! It’s a super fun tradition. We even have a plaque with the winner’s name. 🙂

  61. We make this all year long and love to substitute the peppermint for flavors like raspberry or orange. Melt in your mouth yummy pairings with chocolate to die for. Thanks for bringing a little piece of Heaven into my life!!! 🙂

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