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Recipe: Fancy Christmas Brownies with Peppermint Toppings

December 2, 2011

Photo Credit: Leigh Beisch (Sunset Magazine)

This is the Christmas WOW! recipe. Make it if you want to impress people or if you love a sweet, moist, chocolate brownie with chocolate ganache and peppermint.

Warning: This is not in the health food category. It contains everything needed for a heart attack: butter, cream, and chocolate in three forms! A little dab will do you, so make it to share.

Don’t be tempted to substitute a brownie mix, it just isn’t the same. Embrace all the steps and time it takes to make these then sit back and enjoy the brownie and the compliments. 🙂


  • 10 tablespoons of butter (plus a bit more for the pan)
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 30-50 hard, round, peppermint candies (like Starlight Mints)
  • 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 9X13 pan with butter. Melt your butter with the bittersweet chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. A silicone spatula works well for gently stirring. After it is melted, let it cool down a bit.

Mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in your mixing bowl. Add your melted chocolate and butter in a slow stream, whisking constantly by hand. In a separate bowl stir together the other dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Gently fold this into the batter, just until it is all combined.

Spread you batter in the prepared pan and bake it for 20-30 minutes. Just until the brownies are firm . They will start to pull away from the pan edges and a toothpick test will reveal a few crumbs and not gooey batter.  Your brownies are done. Let them cool while you prepare the peppermint topping and ganache.

The candy topping:

If you want to do this perfectly, you can draw a grid of 1 3/4 inch squares on parchment paper, turn the penciled side down and place 24 peppermint candies  (4 rows, six columns) in the squares.  I skip the grid marking and just eye-ball it. No one complains. 🙂 

DO NOT try this with wax paper, greased paper, or a greased pan. I did – but it was bad. Get the parchment paper – much easier!

Place you pan in a 300* oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Watch them carefully, you want them to spread out to make one large sheet, but not turn yellow. Take the pan out and score into squares with a pizza cutter. You may have to score twice. Let the candy cool and then break along the score lines.  Bake another batch the same way and pick and choose the best squares.


Use a double-boiler method. (a pan set inside another pan of hot water over medium-low heat). Melt the chocolate chips in the whipping cream. Let it cool slightly and then pour over the cooled brownies. It will take a few hours to set up, or you could cut it down to one hour if you refrigerate it.

To assemble:

Place your pretty peppermint squares on the brownies and cut around them. You will have some scraps. If you serve right away the candy topping will crack, but the ganache will hold it on the brownie. If you wait a few hours (the best idea) the candy will soften, but still be crunchy. If you have leftovers the next day…. the candy will be soft – but still delicious!

I found this recipe in Sunset Magazine in 2006 and have made it every Christmas since then.  I can hardly wait until Nicky and Erin are here so we can make it together!

Merry Christmas!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maria permalink
    December 2, 2011 9:59 am

    I can’t wait either!! And I do love this time-consuming but AMAZING recipe. 🙂 Nothing quite like it – and I don’t even like peppermint!

  2. December 5, 2011 6:34 am

    These are beautiful.

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