These mint brownies are an iconic part of my childhood. Although my mom never made them, we ate them every year at one very special Christmas party. My best friend’s mom was also my second grade teacher, and for several consecutive years, they hosted a mother-daughter crafting and Christmas cookie celebration. These brownies were one of many wonderful snacks served at this party, and since it wasn’t a recipe we often made at home, it was the only place I would get to enjoy the tasty interplay of dark chocolate and mint. While the party crafts evolved as we kids got older, the cookies — and these brownies — always remained.Jump to Recipe
I first attempted these brownies a few years ago, when I hosted my first (and to date, only) Christmas party. These brownies are definitely more involved than a lot of recipes, but each of the individual steps are (1) straightforward, and (2) absolutely worth it when you enjoy the final product. My recipe is an adaptation of this one on the Betty Crocker website, as well as this version from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Sally’s Baking Addiction has many very helpful tutorials – I highly recommend you check out her site!
Our first step: make the brownies. You are welcome to use a basic box mix, but I prefer the below recipe when making these layered brownies.
These brownies’ deep, fudgy flavor comes thanks to the addition of melted chocolate chips. Start by combining milk chocolate chips with butter and melting them in the microwave. (You can also do this on the stove.) Place them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, remove to stir, and repeat until the chips are melted and completely combined with the butter.
Let your melted chocolate mixture cool for 5-10 minutes. While you’re waiting, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9″ by 13″ pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Once your melted chocolate is cooler, pour it into a larger bowl and whisk in the white and brown sugars. Next, whisk in eggs one at a time. Once your mixture is thoroughly combined, gently fold in your flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
Mix your batter thoroughly, until no lumps of flour or cocoa powder remain. Pour the batter into your prepared 9″ by 13″ pan and bake for 30 minutes. They are done when a knife inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.
These need to be completely cool before moving on to the next step. Remove the finished brownies from the pan using the parchment paper and lay them on a baking sheet; getting them out of their hot pan will help them cool down faster. Allow them to cool for 1-2 hours, or overnight if that is more convenient for your schedule. In our chilly December house, 2 hours in our sunroom did the trick. (This would be a less effective method during the summer.)
Next, we’ll prepare the mint frosting. Start by whisking together the room temperature butter and cream cheese.
Stir in your vanilla and milk before very slowly adding the powdered sugar. Once everything has been mixed together to form a cohesive frosting, add the peppermint extract. If you’re using green food coloring to add the traditional color, this is the time to mix it in.
Once your frosting is thoroughly mixed, spread it in an even layer on your cooled brownies. Let these brownies rest until the frosting has fully set – 1-2 hours, or overnight. I let this rest in our cold sunroom for about 3 hours, as I was working on other projects.
The final step is your chocolate topping. If you’d like to be fancy, you can make a true ganache; I went the simple route and made this hard chocolate topping.
Just like we did for the brownies, melt together chocolate chips and butter. You are welcome to use a microwave for this step, but I chose to use the stove (medium heat), as I had an easier time ensuring all of the chocolate chips had broken down completely. You don’t want a chunky topping for these brownies.
Once all of the chocolate chips have broken down, pour the chocolate sauce over the frosting layer of your brownies. Use a knife or an offset spatula to smooth this into an even layer. Once again, let this rest until the chocolate layer has hardened completely, about 2 hours or overnight.
Once your brownies have hardened completely, cut them into 1.5″ squares using a sharp knife. If you want to maintain the crisp stratification lines between layers, slice with a warm knife and clean it between each cut.
These brownies will stay fresh in an airtight container for approximately one week – if they last that long without being eaten!
Mint Layer Brownies
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
- ¾ cup flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 drop green food coloring optional
- ½ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Melt together chocolate chips and butter in the microwave, stirring after each 30-second increment.
- Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes. While you are waiting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13 pan with parchment or aluminum foil.
- Pour your chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl and whisk in sugars.
- Whisk in eggs one at a time.
- Gently fold in flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain.
- Pour brownie batter into prepared 9" by 13" dish.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F; the brownies are done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Once the brownies have cooled in the pan for 10 minutes, remove them brownies from pan using the parchment paper lining. Place them on a cookie sheet to cool completely, for 1-2 hours.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
- Add milk, food coloring, and peppermint extract, then slowly stir in the 2 cups of powdered sugar.
- Apply frosting to brownies that are completely cool. Place frosted brownies in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before adding the chocolate topping.
- Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate chips are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. (Alternately, you could melt this in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments. I prefer to use the stove for this section, as it helps the chocolate chips break down more completely.)
- Pour this topping over the chilled, frosted brownies. Spread in an even layer and allow to cool completely (at least one hour, up to overnight) before slicing.