I love chocolate with just about anything. With peanut butter, with cherries, with sea salt, with caramel, and with dulce de leche. With bacon. The chocolate + mint combo doesn’t usually send me running for the kitchen but there’s just something about this time of year that temporarily wins me over.
It’s 70 degrees today but I didn’t let that get in the way of a little Christmas-inspired baking. I opened the windows, cranked up the Christmas music, and hit the kitchen to bake brownies. And if you happened to walk by my house during O Holy Night, I apologize. I don’t really have that kind of range… and I don’t really let it stop me 🙂
These bad boys consist of a chocolatey brownie that is swirled with a cheesecake mixture flavored with peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candies. It’s rich. It’s sweet. And it’s chock full of holiday spirit.
Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies
The perfect holiday treat: moist chocolate brownies swirled with peppermint cheesecake.
- For the brownies:
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- For the peppermint cheesecake swirl:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 10 peppermint candies, unwrapped and finely crushed
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Spray an 8- or 9-inch square pan with baking spray and set aside.
- To make the brownies, place butter and chocolate in a large bowl and microwave for 1 minute.
- Stir and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Add sugar and mix to combine.
- Add eggs one at a time, whisking in between.
- Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, and mix just until all dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour into the prepared pan and spread the batter to cover the bottom of the pan but don't worry about it being even.
- To make the cream cheese mixture, beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar together until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add sugar, egg, and flour and mix.
- Add the peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candies to the mixture and mix until evenly distributed.
- Using a spoon or rubber spatula, create wells in the top of the brownie batter. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into the wells. Use the tip of a knife to swirl the chocolate and peppermint cheesecake together. (The two batters have slightly different consistencies so use a swirl-and-fold motion to bring the chocolate swirl to the top.)
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, ~45 minutes. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before cutting into 9-16 squares and serving.
- Leftovers will keep in a covered cake plate for 3-4 days. They can also be wrapped and frozen.
Yields: 9-16 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes