These Christmas Star Brownies are a fun and festive holiday treat, perfect for friends and family or for bringing to a holiday cookie exchange.
Today’s post is so fun – I’m sharing one of my favorite holiday treats as part of a virtual cookie exchange! These cute Christmas-y brownies are one of our favorites, and one that I’ve made during many holiday seasons.
The combination of chocolate and peppermint flavors are perfect and always a big hit!
These brownies consist of a layer of fudgy brownie, a layer of chocolate ganache, and then a crunchy sheet of peppermint candy on top. The mix of flavors and textures; rich, chewy and crunchy, is amazing!
These are really special. The peppermint candy really makes them like no other.
Kids love them (of course), but I always get rave reviews from adults I’ve served or gifted them to as well!
Two chocolate layers make them special, too. There’s cocoa powder in the brownies and of course, the ganache is made with melted dark chocolate and cream (how bad could that be?!)
And if you’ve never made ganache before, it is life-changing!! Seriously. So. Good.
The method for creating the candy top is the same as for creating stained-glass for gingerbread houses. The candies are set on a cookie sheet and then baked until they melt into a flat, glassy star.
And any inexpensive round starlight mint works fine. I bought these at Walgreens but I’ve also used Brach’s brand from the market.
Even as I was making these my daughter was asking how long it would be before I’d be done photographing them so that she could eat them! 😉
The original recipe also had variations in place of the peppermint. So even if mint isn’t your thing, you can make these delicious brownies and substitute crushed toffee, peanuts, raspberry jam, or white chocolate for the topping!
- 10 TBSP. butter, plus more for pan
- 6 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into large chunks
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 80 hard, round red-and-white peppermint swirl candies (17 oz. bag)
- 1/2 lb. semisweet chocolate, chopped or semi sweet chips
- 1 cup whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. In a medium saucepan, stir butter and bittersweet chocolate together over very low heat with a heat-proof spatula until just melted (do not let simmer or boil). Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Slowly pour chocolate-butter mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly so eggs don't scramble.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined.
- Spread batter evenly in baking pan. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until brownies are slightly firm and a toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few crumbs clinging to it. Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300°. Line a rimmed 11 1/2 x 16-inch baking sheet with parchment. With a pencil, draw a grid of 1 1/2-inch squares on parchment (roughly 5 rows of 8). Turn parchment over. Place a mint in the center of each square. Bake 15 minutes or until completely melted into 1 large sheet.
- Immediately score peppermint squares with a paring knife or pizza cutter, using pencil lines as your guide. If scored lines don't hold, rescore quickly. Let candy cool completely. Gently break into squares along score lines. Then arrange, bake, and score remaining candies the same way (you'll have extra squares; pick the prettiest ones.)
- To make ganache, combine semisweet chocolate and whipping cream in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cook, stirring often, until melted and blended. Remove from heat and let ganache cool for a few minutes.
- Pour ganache over brownies in pan and allow to set until firm, about 2 hours at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Place peppermint squares bottom side up on ganache, leaving enough room between squares to cut brownies. Cut brownies into squares, wiping knife clean between cuts.
- Cover with plastic wrap, making sure wrap doesn't touch peppermint tops, and refrigerate 3 hours (to soften candy a bit). Serve slightly chilled.
Any supermarket brand of peppermint candies is fine, such as Brach's.
Here’s to the beginning of the best season of the year! Though a lot of our celebrations won’t look like they normally would, we can still enjoy baking and all the other traditions the holidays offer.
After all we’ve been through this year, I’m looking forward to tucking in with my family and doing just that. Baking, playing games, having family movie nights, listening to carols, and of course, eating too many sweets. 😉
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*affiliate links added for your convenience*
*adapted from Sunset magazine
Be sure to visit some of the other delicious cookie recipes being shared below!
Gingerbread House Mug Toppers // Modern Glam
Christmas Linzer Cookies (Gluten Free ) // Satori Design For Living
Mini Gingerbread House Mug Hugger Cookies // The Ginger Home
Linzer Cookie Recipe // Jennifer Maune
Norwegian Krumkake Cookies // Finding Lovely
Christmas Cookie Wreath // My 100 Year Old Home
Gluten/Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe // Zevy Joy
Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe // Happy Happy Nester
Swirly Chocolate Meringue with Cream // Lemon Grove Lane
Light and Fluffy Sand Dollar Cinnamon Cookies // Twelve on Main
Christmas Star Brownies // Maison De Cinq
Molasses Gingersnaps // My Sweet Savannah
Candy Cane Frosted Swirl Cookies // Tatertots & Jello