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Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies combine rich brownies with a ribbon of cream cheese flavored with peppermint. These are wonderfully fudgy and delicious!

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies stacked on a red-rimmed white plate

Peppermint Brownies with Cheesecake Filling

Chocolate and peppermint are a classic flavor combination, and one that always makes me think of snowy winter days. There’s just something about that combination of rich chocolate with a hint of refreshing peppermint that conjures visions of curling up near a fire while the snow falls outside.

With that flavor pairing in mind, I couldn’t resist adding a cream cheese twist to fudgy brownies, swirling a simple cheesecake mixture into them. This recipe is adapted from Bourbon Cream Cheese Brownies, which are one of my most requested brownies. This recipe doesn’t stray very far from that one, with the main difference being the addition of peppermint.

The brownies on their own are fairly traditional. The burst of peppermint flavor comes in with the cheesecake filling that’s nestled between layers of rich chocolate brownies. You can either go with smooth layers or swirl them together. The ones you see in these photos were swirled ever so slightly, but you can go further if you like.

These rich, fudgy peppermint brownies have just the right amount of peppermint flavor. If you’re a fan of chocolate and peppermint, these aren’t to be missed!

If you love chocolate and peppermint treats, try Chocolate Peppermint Cake and Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies, too!

two Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies on a square white plate

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make these peppermint brownies.

  • Dark chocolate – I recommend either bittersweet or semisweet chocolate in the neighborhood of 70% cacao.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar – You’ll need sugar for both the brownies and the filling.
  • Light brown sugar – Using a little brown sugar makes the brownies nicely soft. I don’t recommend using dark brown sugar here, as the flavor may be overpowering.
  • Eggs – Let the eggs come to room temperature before mixing. You’ll need 3 for the brownies and another for the cheesecake filling.
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour – Measure by weight for best results. Otherwise, use the spoon and sweep method. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
  • Salt
  • Cream cheese – Let the cream cheese come to room temperature for easier mixing and a smooth filling. Full-fat cream cheese works best.
  • Peppermint extract
  • Candy canes – Crushed candy canes are the perfect way to dress up these brownies!

How to Make Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two opposite sides. Lightly grease the paper with a cooking spray or butter.

Melt the chocolate and butter. Place them in a large microwave-safe bowl, and heat at half-power in 30-second increments. Stir after each heating, and repeat until melted. Stir until smooth, and let the mixture cool briefly until it’s still warm but not hot.

Mix the brownie batter. Stir 1 & 1/4 cups of the sugar and the brown sugar into the melted chocolate mixture. Next, add three eggs and the vanilla, and mix well. Finally, add 1 cup of flour and salt, and mix just until combined.

Make the filling. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 egg, and the peppermint extract until well-mixed and smooth.

Assemble the layers. Spread half of the brownie batter in the prepared pan. Next, pour the cheesecake filling over that layer of brownie batter. Then, top with the remaining brownie batter. Finally, use a thin knife or icing spatula to swirl the layers together. Alternatively, skip the swirling and leave the layers as they are. Sprinkle the top with crushed peppermint candies if you like.

Bake. Place the pan in the heated oven, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool. Place the pan on a wire rack. If you want to add more crushed candies, do that now. After the brownies have cooled completely, use the overhanging parchment paper to lift them from the pan onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

overhead view of two Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies on a square white plate

Tips for Success

  • Use a light-colored metal pan. Your brownies will bake more thoroughly and evenly.
  • Line the pan. It will make removing the brownies from the pan a cinch.
  • Garnish with crushed peppermint candies. If you bake the brownies with the crushed peppermints on top, they’ll melt into the brownies a little bit as they bake. To keep the candies more intact, you can instead opt to sprinkle the candies on top when the brownies come out of the oven. Or do a little of both, which I think gives them a nice look.

How to Store

After the brownies have cooled completely, place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. They should keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Bring servings to room temperature just before serving.

How to Freeze

Wrap the cooled brownies in plastic wrap, and wrap again in aluminum foil or place in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Properly stored, the brownies should keep in the freezer up to 2 months, although you may find they’re at their best within a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

Yield 16 2-inch brownies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes

Rich, fudgy Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies are a delicious combination of chocolate, cream cheese, and peppermint.

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies stacked on a red-rimmed white plate

Ingredients

For the brownies:

  • 4 ounces (113g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped*
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter
  • 1 & 1/4 (250g) cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 8 ounces (237g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons crushed candy canes, for garnish**

Instructions

To make the brownies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that it overhangs by a couple of inches on two opposite sides. Lightly grease the paper.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave at half-power until the butter has melted and the chocolate melts when stirred. Stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Combine the cooled chocolate mixture with the sugar and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Add the flour and salt. Mix just until combined.
  5. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan.

To make the cheesecake filling:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, and peppermint extract until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  2. Pour over the brownie batter in the pan. Top with the remaining brownie batter. Use a thin knife to swirl together or leave as layers if you like.
  3. Sprinkle the top with some or all of the crushed candy canes.***
  4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  5. Place the brownies on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle the top with the remaining crushed candy canes.***
  6. When the brownies are completely cooled, use the parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into squares.

Notes

*I recommend a chocolate with about 70% cacao content.

**You can, of course, crush candy canes for this, but I've also used store-bought crushed candy canes for this recipe.

***The candy canes will melt a bit as the brownies bake. If you prefer, you can sprinkle the candy canes on top when the brownies come out of the oven. I did a bit of both, using about half before baking and the other half afterwards.

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    4 Comments on “Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies”

  1. I just have to tell you that I made these brownies  yesterday subbing the peppermint extract with vanilla extract, and they went over VERY WELL at my new year’s eve party. People were raving about them!! I will definitely be making them again!!

  2. Made these and I will say the amount of peppermint is perfect! (I hate when it’s too much and starts to taste toothpaste-y) Unfortunately I didn’t have a 9×9 so I went with my 8×8… which was a mistake. The batter was so thick and even with an extra 20 minutes in the oven, the middle never got fully cooked through, and the edges are too tough (from extra oven time I’m sure). I hope these go better for the next person, DO NOT use an 8×8!! Happy Holidays y’all 🙂 

    • I’m glad you liked the flavor, Rachel! Changing the pan size can have more of an effect than we think it will. Also, a non-metal pan can give you different results than a standard metal baking pan.

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