Looking for festive holiday brownies? Look no further! These Peppermint Mocha Brownies from my first cookbook are just what you need!
This post is sponsored by Crate & Barrel®. All opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for continuing to support the brands that help make ‘Mike Bakes NYC’ possible!
Table of contents
Peppermint Mocha Brownies
These Peppermint Mocha Brownies are your favorite holiday latte in dessert form—as in brownies loaded with a hint of coffee and peppermint flavors shining through each bite, all decked out with crushed bits of striped candy canes sprinkled on top. ’Cause when it’s the holidays, nothing screams FESTIVE quite like something sweet and totally, unapologetically over the top.
I used my favorite slate blue 9x13-inch baking pan from Crate & Barrel to make these brownies (as well as a slew of their other products like these mixing bowls, this whisk, these plates, these measuring cups, this oven mitt, and even this festive dish towel); I can always count on them to have whatever kitchen tool or gadget I need!
Ingredients for Peppermint Mocha Brownies
These peppermint mocha brownies don't require a ton of ingredients; here's what you'll need!
- Butter: The one and only.
- Cocoa powder: I recommend using a Dutch-processed cocoa for that deep, chocolatey flavor although your regular unsweetened cocoa powder will work just fine!
- Espresso powder: This is different than instant coffee! Espresso powder not only further brings out the chocolate flavor, but also gives us our mocha flavor. This is the espresso powder I use.
- Boiling water: You'll use just a little to make a sort of espresso paste that you'll stir into the brownie batter!
- Sugar: This recipe uses both granulated and dark brown sugar for the ideal brownie texture; you can use light brown sugar instead of dark brown if that's all you have on hand!
- Vanilla: Leaving it out will result in brownies that taste a little bland.
- Peppermint extract: Be careful with this stuff; too much and your brownies will taste like toothpaste… no one wants that.
- Salt: Brownies made without salt taste a little plain, so don’t skip it.
- Eggs: Four large (room temperature) eggs are all you need.
- All-purpose flour: Only 1¼ cups (150g) of all-purpose flour is needed!
- Crushed peppermint candy (optional): Who doesn't love a good garnish? I like to crush a few candy canes, but normal peppermints would work as well!
Peppermint Mocha Brownies Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
PEPPERMINT MOCHA BROWNIES: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I reduce the sugar?
I wouldn't recommend it, no. It’s doing more than lending a sweet flavor; it’s actually helping with the overall structure and texture of the brownies.
Can I halve this recipe?
Yup, you can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8×8-inch pan… you’ll just want to watch the bake time. I’d start by checking for doneness around 20 minutes and every 2 minutes afterward until you achieve moist crumbs on a toothpick. You can adjust the 'servings' slider from 24 to 12 to get the proper metric measurements.
How can you tell when the brownies are done baking?
A toothpick is your best friend when testing brownies for doneness. You’ll want to remove these brownies when your toothpick is covered in moist crumbs. The residual heat of the pan will continue to cook them to perfection, however, so make sure to let them cool completely in the pan.
Can I freeze leftover brownies?
You can absolutely freeze these brownies! To do so, individually wrap any leftover brownies in two layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. (The aluminum foil will prevent the bars from absorbing any other flavors or odors in the freezer.) Freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer the brownies to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before serving. You can eat the brownies straight from the fridge, or rewarmed in the microwave.
PEPPERMINT MOCHA BROWNIES: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My brownies are dry. What did I do wrong?
If you used cup measures as opposed to weight measures, your ingredients were probably a little off. As weird as this sounds, measuring cups aren’t as accurate as you think. For example, somebody who scoops the measuring cup into the flour will have way more than somebody who uses a spoon to scoop the flour into the same sized measuring cup (and the person who spoons the flour into the measuring cup will probably still have more than the needed amount). This is why you should really be measuring by weight with a kitchen scale instead—it’s much more reliable and completely eliminates any inconsistencies.
Alternatively, if you measured your ingredients by weight and the brownies still came out dry, you might have overmixed your brownie batter or overbaked the brownies. Overmixing the batter will allow air to get trapped in the batter and will result in dry, cakey brownies. Overbaking is pretty self-explanatory; make sure you remove the brownies when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs sticking to it. If it comes out clean, you’ve probably overbaked them!
Help! My peppermint candy melted into the top of the brownies. What went wrong?
Some brands of peppermints/candy canes hold up better under the heat of the oven than others. If you find that yours are melting into blobs on top, try adding your crushed peppermint on top of the brownies during the last 5 minutes of bake time so they'll still stick to the brownies but not have time to melt!
Peppermint Mocha Brownies
- 15 g boiling water
- 9 g espresso powder
- 85 g unsweetened natural or Dutch process cocoa powder
- 220 g dark brown sugar
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 230 g unsalted butter melted
- 4 large eggs (≈200g)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 150 g all-purpose flour
- Garnish: crushed peppermint candy optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 x 13–inch (22 x 33–cm) pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease the parchment with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then set it aside.
- To a small saucepan, add approximately ½ cup (120 ml) of water and bring it to a boil. In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the boiling water. Add the espresso powder and stir it to combine until a thick liquid or paste forms, then set it aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the melted butter and espresso mixture and whisk until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat the mixture in between each addition. Then stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the salt and flour until just combined, and then spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, sprinkling the crushed peppermint candy, if using, on top of the brownies about halfway through baking. Test the brownies with a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan. If it comes out with wet batter, the brownies are not done. If there are only a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done!
- Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan before cutting them into squares. Cover and store leftover brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
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