Thick and fudgy brownies layered with sweet mint frosting and easy chocolate ganache. The classic mint chocolate combination!
Recipe #3 of the Christmas Cookie Palooza combines the mighty forces of mint and chocolate. I’m aware that brownies aren’t technically cookies but sometimes dessert just doesn’t have to make any sense. Like a recipe using cookie dough and salty pretzels and a dip in chocolate. No sense. But who cares? PS: make those.
I remember making these brownies for a Christmas party years ago. When I was a single lady without a food blog because food blogs were (are?) nerdy and weird. Along with myswirled chocolate covered pretzels (one of the first recipes published on my blog!), these classic mint chocolate brownies disappeared. Shocking.
I decided to make the mint chocolate brownies again this year for three reasons. I mean three people. Me, Kevin, and my friend Katy who is turning 30 this weekend. We are serious mint chocolate lovers and I know you are too. Common, I know you’ve eaten this mint chocolate frosting with a spoon before too. Or is that just me?
Let’s get down to the mint-brownie-nitty-gritty. These classic mint chocolate brownies are made completely from scratch; no brownie mix in sight. In a pinch, you may absolutely use a box mix instead. But baking brownies from scratch really isn’t that difficult at all! In fact, the brownie layer is all mixed together in one bowl and doesn’t require many ingredients. Just your typical chocolate, eggs, sugar, and flour.
A little more on the chocolate: Brownies can be made with cocoa powder or solid chocolate. If using all cocoa powder, you’ll typically need more fat in the batter because cocoa powder does not contain the cocoa butter that solid chocolate does. My brownie recipe uses both cocoa powder and solid chocolate, which makes them extra chocolate-y. I prefer mint brownies with semi-sweet chocolate, though milk chocolate would be just fine if you want a sweeter brownie. (They’re plenty sweet as is!) I don’t suggest using unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate unless you love deep, dark chocolate.
A little more on the eggs: Eggs do about 1 million things in baking recipes. For brownies? Eggs give, what I call, the “rich factor.” For rich, tender, and dense brownies, make sure you’ve got some quality eggs. I always bake brownies with Eggland’s Best Eggs. Recently, I explained that not all eggs are created the same. Did you know that? Eggland’s Best eggs reign superior in baking– and this is something I’ve known long before the company knew who I was. These eggs will help yield the richest brownies, the moistest cakes, and the most tender cookies. A baker’s dream ingredient.
A little more on the sugar: New readers might find this weird, but I’m sure you regular dessert lovers know how much I love brown sugar. It’s my favorite ingredient not only for its robust molasses flavor, but for all the moisture it brings baked goods. And it does the same for brownies! Brown sugar in brownies isn’t very typical, so if you think this is odd– it totally is. I use a mix of white sugar and brown sugar here. These combined sugars sweeten the brownies, while also enhancing their moist, fudgy texture.
A little more on the flour: I’ve typed this about 100 times in all my brownie recipes over the past 3 years. But let me repeat it real quick in case you’re new. More flour = a more cake-like brownie. Less flour = fudgier brownie. I prefer my brownies chewy and fudgy. So dense, it’s like eating fudge. Cakey brownies just aren’t my thing, so I use as little flour as I can without having the brownie fall apart.
These brownies are incredibly rich, fudgy, and moist. I know most of you hate that word.
Let’s move onto the other layers. I promise I’ll make the rest short. I can’t believe how much I just typed about brownie ingredients.
Once the brownies are completely cooled off (–> completely cool! that’s important.), frost them with a simple mint chocolate frosting. I use just over 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract in the frosting. If you like things a little more minty, feel free to add a little more. But be warned! Peppermint extract is incredibly potent; you don’t want the frosting to taste like toothpaste. I add 1 drop of green food coloring to give the frosting a very light mint green color, but feel free to leave the mint frosting layer completely white. After frosting the batch of brownies, make sure you set the whole thing in the refrigerator so the frosting can set. This makes for neater cutting.
Speaking of cutting! I’m a little psycho about this. I’m convinced that anyone who says they can cut these mint layered brownies perfectly with absolutely no smears is lying. I’ve been making these for about 8 years now and there is no way around a few messy spots. Unless you know a secret? If so, please share. All I do is make very quick cuts, using a very sharp large knife, and wiping the knife off with a paper towel between cuts. And this is what the brownies looks like. But, it’s good enough for me.
Ok, so the chocolate layer. It’s two ingredients. Chocolate chips and butter. I normally urge you to never melt chocolate chips, but this is an exception. Chocolate chips make the chocolate layer so easy. I combine them with butter because you want a softer chocolate topping. As opposed to a hard, heavy chocolate layer on top. The soft chocolate is easier to cut without messing up the frosting underneath.
Finally! I’m done. Please go make these classic mint chocolate brownies. And grab a glass of milk while you’re at it. They’re devilishly rich.
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
- 4 large Eggland’s Best eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup + 3 Tablespoons (85g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
MINT FROSTING LAYER
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 1 drop liquid or gel green food coloring (optional)
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
- 1 heaping cup (around 200g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the brownies: Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Or melt in a medium microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring after each, in the microwave. Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and allow to slightly cool for 10 minutes.
Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan* with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
Whisk the granulated and brown sugars into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the salt, flour, and cocoa powder. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-36 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs when the brownies are done. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on them after 30 minutes and use the toothpick test to see when yours are finished. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides. Place the whole thing on a baking sheet as you make the frosting. Do not cut into squares yet.
For the mint frosting layer: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and milk. Beat for 2 minutes on low speed, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 additional minute. Add the peppermint extract and food coloring (if using) and beat on high for 1 full minute. Taste and add a drop or two more peppermint extract if desired. Frost cooled brownies, that you placed on the baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator. This allows the frosting to “set” on top of the brownies which makes spreading the chocolate layer easy. Keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
For the chocolate layer: Melt the butter and chocolate chips in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Or melt in a medium microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring after each, in the microwave. Once melted and smooth, pour over mint layer. Gently spread with a knife or offset spatula. Place the brownies, that are still on the baking sheet, in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour (and up to 4 hours or even overnight) to set the chocolate.
Once chilled, remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares. For neat cutting, make very quick cuts, using a very sharp large knife, and wiping the knife off with a paper towel between each cut. Brownies are OK at room temperature for a few hours. Cover tightly and keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For freezing: I recommend freezing the baked brownies, then thawing overnight in the refrigerator, then frosting with the mint and then the chocolate topping. I do not suggest freezing with all three layers.
*You’re probably wondering what else I could possibly write about brownies, but I want to let you know that this brownie recipe is a combination of these browniesand these brownies, only made into a larger batch for a bigger pan. If you’d like to make today’s recipe in a 9×9 or 8×8 size square baking pan, please halve the frosting and the chocolate topping. Then use this brownie recipe as the bottom layer.