Chocolate and peppermint come together for a delightful holiday treat in these Frosted Peppermint Brownies that have crushed candy canes mixed right into the frosting!
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For those not in the know, Santa loves brownies every bit as much as he loves cookies. Specifically frosted peppermint brownies with pecans.
These are really just a riff on one of our favorite brownie recipes: the chocolate frosted brownies from a family reunion cookbook that I got decades ago. The brownie base is fudgy but extra easy since it's just made with cocoa powder so you don't need to chop or melt any chocolate for this one.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy to customize. You can make these from scratch or use the semi-homemade approach with your favorite boxed brownie mix. If you love nuts in brownies, you'll extra love these with some chopped pecans thrown in the batter (a must for me!) but they are just as good with semisweet chocolate chips for pockets of extra chocolate.
- Perfect amount of peppermint. We added peppermint extract to the brownie batter so there is the wintery taste of peppermint and chocolate throughout without it being overpowering.
- Prettiest brownies for a holiday event. These are dressed up with the sparkle of crushed candy canes and a pale pink frosting on top that gets its color from the crushed candy canes mixed right into the frosting.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- All-purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Granulated sugar
- Peppermint extract
- Chopped pecans
- Powdered sugar
- Salted butter
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla extract
- Crushed candy canes
Be sure to use peppermint extract, not just "mint", wintergreen, or spearmint, which will result in these brownies tasting like toothpaste. Peppermint, on the other hand, is the flavor of candy canes and Christmas.
How to Make Frosted Peppermint Brownies
- Combine wet ingredients. Use a whisk or a handheld mixer to mix the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extra together in a large bowl until combined.
- Add dry ingredients. Stir in the flour and cocoa powder by hand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Add chopped pecans or chocolate chips. Use the rubber spatula or spoon to stir the mix-ins into the brownie batter, then transfer it to a large 9x13-inch baking dish that has been lined with a parchment paper sling or sprayed with baking spray.
- Bake. Transfer the brownies to a 350 degree F preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs sticking to it. Don't overbake.
- Make the frosting. Combine the softened butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until creamy and light. Stir in the crushed candy canes toward the end and mix well until they are evenly dispersed.
- Frost. Once the brownies have cooled completely, frost them with the peppermint candy cane frosting and sprinkle with some additional crushed candy cane pieces on top. Cut into squares and serve.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Candy cane shortcut. You can buy crushed candy canes in jars in the baking aisle or holiday aisle this time of year, which will save you unwrapping and crushing a box of candy canes yourself, if you prefer.
- Don't overbake. I don't look for a toothpick to come out clean when making brownies because that usually means they are overbaked and will end up dry. There should be crumbs on the tester, you just want to make sure it's not coated in batter, which would indicate the brownies haven't baked long enough.
- Cut with a plastic knife. You'll actually get cleaner slices on your brownies if you cut them with a plastic knife. I also like to use a parchment paper sling so I can remove the brownies from the pan, which helps me cut straighter lines as well.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Keep the brownies in an airtight container (or the pan they were baked in covered with plastic wrap) for up to 5 days at room temperature on the counter.
You can also freeze these brownies, frosting an all. If you are freezing individual brownies, I recommend wrapping them each in plastic wrap to protect them, then transferring to an airtight container or resealable freezer-safe bag for longer term storage.
The only downside to freezing and thawing these brownies is any extra crushed candy cane on top might be a bit sticky once they thaw.
More Peppermint Recipes
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bombs
- Homemade Peppermint Patties
- Peppermint Marshmallows
- Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Candy Cane Frosted Brownies
- 1 cup salted butter, melted
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup chopped pecans or semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup salted butter, softened
- 4 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ cup crushed candy canes + more for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with a parchment paper sling.
- In a large bowl, whisk or beat the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extracts until combined.
- Stir in flour and cocoa powder by hand using a spatula or wooden spoon. Gently stir in pecans or chocolate chips. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Let the brownies cool completely.
- While the brownies cool, make the frosting by beating softened butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and powdered sugar in a large bowl until creamy and light, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the crushed candy canes toward the end.
- Frost the cooled brownies with the peppermint frosting and sprinkle with some additional crushed candy cane pieces on top. Cut into squares and serve.
- Candy canes: If you buy crushed candy canes at the store, you get mostly small pieces that stand out really nicely in your white icing. If you crush your own candy canes, some of them tend to get powdery, which can turn your icing a really nice pink when you mix them in.
- Semi-homemade version: You can opt to use a 16-ounce boxed brownie mix (we like Ghirardelli best) + ingredients listed on box (typically 1-2 eggs, water, and oil) instead of making the brownies from scratch.