These dark chocolate peppermint brownies are rich, fudgy, and loaded with Oreo pieces, pretzels, and crushed candy canes for a sweet, salty, and minty spin on brownies. This recipe is made in a loaf pan for a smaller yield but can easily be double (or tripled).
Sometimes you just need to take your go-to recipe for small batch brownies, peruse your cabinets, grab a few things down, and kick those same classic brownies up a few notches.
Not that they need kicking up per se, but with Christmas approaching, it's hard to resist the temptation to make dessert extra merry this time of year.
In these peppermint brownies I used exclusively melted dark chocolate in the batter, stirred in chopped up pretzels (yum) and Oreo cookies (double yum), and topped them off with crushed candy cane pieces. These brownies are also insanely fudgy and feature the quintessential brownie crinkly top layer.
If you can see it beneath all these fun mix-ins. 😉
All the classic FUDGY brownie ingredients are used here, including unsalted butter, chopped up chocolate, sugar, an egg, vanilla extract, flour, and salt.
While not necessary for this recipe to work out, instant espresso powder makes a wonderful addition to chocolate desserts. Just a little bit amplifies the chocolate flavor in the best way. And don't worry it'll make your brownies taste like coffee or anything, rather it plays a supporting role here. If you don't have it or don't use coffee products you can just omit it.
I was on the fence about whether or not to include peppermint extract in the batter, but decided less was more and went with folding in crushed candy canes. Peppermint extract brings the perfect amount of mint to peppermint mocha pudding where we want the end result to be super smooth, but a little crunch is welcome in these peppermint brownies.
While you can stop right there and have perfectly wonderful brownies, I took the "loaded" theme to heart and also stirred in chopped Oreo cookies and pretzel pieces. A little bit minty, sweet, crunchy, and salty.
We start by melting together the butter and dark chocolate. I'm a broken record on every brownie post on here but it's too good a factoid to leave out. With all other ingredients the same, melting the butter and chocolate as the first step will yield fudgy brownies. Creaming together softened butter and sugar will yield cakey brownies.
Since I'm all about fudgy brownies, I go with melting for these peppermint brownies. Then whisk in the egg, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Next come the dry ingredients: flour, instant espresso powder, and salt. Once those are in add the Oreo cookies and pretzels.
Pour out the mixture into a parchment-lined 9" x 5" loaf pan, then bake for around 35 minutes, stopping 20 minutes in to scatter the candy cane pieces over top. As with many bar desserts, let cool before slicing and serving.
We're a household of two, so larger scale sweets tend to be a dangerous thing around here. This brownie recipe is made in a 9" x 5" loaf pan to yield about ten average-sized brownies. While ten brownies doesn't seem like a small batch anything, it's half the standard brownie recipe I use when more than two people will be responsible for making them disappear.
That said, you can easily double the ingredient quantities in the recipe card below and use an 8" x 8" baking dish.
If you'd rather use peppermint extract instead of adding candy canes, I'd add ⅛ teaspoon, maaaaybe ¼ teaspoon. A little goes a long way with it and it's easy to overdo.
- Leftover add-ins also make a delicious topping to Oreo peppermint bark!
- Semi-sweet or a combination of semi-sweet/dark/milk chocolate all work here.
Loaded Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup chopped Oreo cookies
- ¼ cup chopped pretzels
- 1-2 tablespoon crushed candy canes
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, add butter and dark chocolate chips and heat in 30 second increments on half-power, stirring well after each increment, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Whisk in sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until combined. Add flour, espresso powder (if using), and pinch of salt and stir to combine. The mixture will be a little bit shiny.
- Stir in chopped Oreo cookies and chopped pretzel pieces.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and level the top with a spoon or spatula so it's of an even thickness throughout.
- Bake for 20 minutes, and then remove from oven and scatter candy cane pieces over top. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or so, or until the top is crinkled and a tester inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- Let cool completely before lifting the brownies out of the loaf pan by the sides of the parchment paper and slicing.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer