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Gluten-Free Peppermint Crunch Brownies

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Our Gluten-Free Peppermint Crunch Brownies are made with layers of chewy gluten-free brownies, peppermint frosting, an easy chocolate ganache & crunchy bits candy cane–the perfect gluten-free brownies for the holidays.

gluten-free peppermint crunch brownies cut into squares

We’re rounding out our gluten-free holiday cookie exchange series with…a brownie recipe!

I’m all about the gluten-free Christmas cookies during the holiday season (I’m looking at you Ginger Cookies & Crinkle Cookies!), but there’s something absolutely delightful about a good holiday brownie!

These Gluten-Free Peppermint Brownies definitely deliver! With 4 layers of delicious flavor and texture, this holiday treat is a total delight in every bite.

But, don’t be fooled! Despite their impressive appearance, these delicious brownies aren’t hard to make. In fact, the ingredients are super simple…

hand holding a gluten-free peppermint brownie to show the 4 layers--brownie, peppermint cream cheese frosting, chocolate ganache, and crushed candy canes

4 Layers To Love

Before we dive into the ingredients list, let’s take a look at the 4 layers that make up these gluten-free peppermint brownies:

  1. Chewy Brownies. First, we’re starting with our go-to chewy brownies. They have crinkly tops, and a chewy, fudge center that’s the perfect texture middle ground between a true fudgy gluten-free brownie and a cakey brownie.
  2. Peppermint Frosting. Adding half a teaspoon of peppermint extract to this easy frosting gives the brownies a delicious, candy cane-like minty flavor that’s PERFECT for this time of year.
  3. Chocolate Ganache. I wanted these frosted brownies to be easy to cut into, so instead of using just melted chocolate (which can get hard & crack when chilled), we’re using a fudgy ganache that stays soft when chilled. (It’s also LOADED with chocolate flavor, adding a touch of elegance and a luxurious texture that’s tough to beat.
  4. Peppermint Candy. Last, but not least, we channel that crunchy peppermint bark vibe by adding bits of crushed candy cane or crushed peppermint candies (like Starlight mints) to the top of these peppermint brownies. The extra layer of flavor and crunch is perfect for peppermint lovers!

The end result is a beautiful combination of textures and flavors in every bite. Not only do they look beautiful, but they taste amazing. The perfect brownies for the holidays!

ingredients for gluten-free peppermint brownies
making frosted gluten-free peppermint brownies, layer by layer

Simple Ingredients For Peppermint Crunch Brownies:

  • Our Chewy Brownie Recipe. We start with a delicious chewy gluten-free brownie recipe made from simple ingredients, like butter, chocolate chips, eggs, vanilla, gluten-free flour, Dutch-processed cocoa powder, and salt. All pantry staples you’re likely to have on hand!
  • Butter. Next up, you’ll need some softened butter for both the peppermint frosting and the ganache on top. Unsalted butter helps you control the salt, but you can definitely use salted butter, too.
  • Cream Cheese. We tried this peppermint frosting recipe with and without cream cheese, and the cream cheese made a HUGE difference to us in both flavor and texture. You only need 2 oz. for this recipe!
  • Powdered Sugar helps give the peppermint frosting body so it can easily spread over the cooled brownies.
  • Peppermint Extract. We’re using pure peppermint extract NOT spearmint extract in these brownies. Peppermint extract tastes like candy canes and gives these brownies amazing peppermint flavor. (Spearmint tastes like gum or toothpaste!)
  • Heavy Cream. A tiny splash for the peppermint frosting, then the rest goes into the luxurious chocolate ganache. I don’t recommend substituting milk or half-and-half here. You just won’t get the same texture!
  • Chocolate or Chocolate Chips to finish the chocolate ganache. If you’re using chocolate chips, I recommend high-quality brands without added stabilizers (which can make it hard for the chocolate chips to melt smoothly). Guittard is a great brand!
  • Peppermint Candy or Candy Canes. Last, but not least, some crushed peppermint candy or candy cane bits to go on top! This adds the final layer of texture and flavor in these gluten-free peppermint crunch brownies. There’s just nothing like that satisfying crunch to go with chewy brownies, creamy frosting, and chocolate ganache!

Can I Make These With A Gluten-Free Brownie Mix Instead?

Yes! While we LOVE the flavor and texture of our easy homemade gluten-free brownies, boxed brownie mix can definitely still get the job done when making gluten-free peppermint brownies! In our experience, not all gluten-free brownie mixes are created equal, so choose a high-quality mix, like King Arthur Gluten-Free Brownie Mix (our top pick in a taste test!)

two gluten-free peppermint brownies with candy cane stacked on a white plate

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Peppermint Brownies

Don’t Over-Bake. Friends don’t let friends eat dry brownies! Look for set edges and a center that doesn’t wobble when you gently wiggle the pan. If you’re still not sure if the gluten-free peppermint brownies are done, you can try the toothpick test: insert a toothpick in the center of the brownies. It shouldn’t come out with any thin, liquid batter. You want it to look more like thick melted chocolate. If you’ve reached the moist crumbs stage, you actually likely over-baked! Keep in mind that the residual heat in the pan will keep cooking the brownies, even after they come out of the oven.

Cool The Brownies Completely Before Frosting. I know it’s annoying to wait, but it’s essential here if you want pretty layered brownies. If you frost warm brownies, any residual heat will melt the peppermint frosting. Let the brownies cool first!

Can I Make These Vegan? I haven’t yet. You can try, though you’ll need to make many modifications. You can try our Gluten-Free Vegan Brownies as the base, then use vegan butter & vegan cream cheese in the frosting, dairy-free chocolate, and coconut cream or coconut milk for the ganache. They’ll be more dense and more rich than my version, but that’s where I’d start if I wanted to make vegan peppermint brownies.

squares of gluten-free peppermint brownie on a white background

🌟 Leave a star review below when you try our Gluten-Free Peppermint Brownies recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!

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gluten-free peppermint crunch brownies cut into squares

Gluten-Free Peppermint Crunch Brownies


  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1620 Brownies 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These gluten-free peppermint brownies have 4 delicious layers of flavor–a chewy brownie base topped with peppermint frosting, fudgy chocolate ganache, and crunchy crushed candy canes. They’re packed with delicious flavor in every bite!


Ingredients

Scale

For The Brownies:

  • 1/2 cup butter (113 grams/8 Tablespoons
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (4 oz./113 grams
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk (save extra egg white for another use)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free measure-for-measure flour, weighed or scooped and leveled (90 grams
  • 1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (28 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (4 oz./113 grams

For The Peppermint Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature (57 grams/4 Tablespoons)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature (57 grams/4 Tablespoons)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (240 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (use 1/4 teaspoon for milder flavor)

For The Ganache:

  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips, (6 oz/170 grams
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (160 mL)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter (optional)

To Finish:

  • 24 Tablespoons crushed peppermint candies or crushed candy canes

Instructions

Start With The Brownie Layer:

  1. Preheat The Oven & Prep The Pan. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8″ metal pan with parchment paper and set aside. (Use a METAL pan here, or the brownies won’t bake the same)
  2. Combine The Dry Ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the gluten-free flour blend, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Melt The Butter & Chocolate. In a medium saucepan, melt and 2/3 cup chocolate chips over low heat. Stir until the butter chocolate chips are melted and remove from heat. Let the mixture cool slightly while you mix up the eggs and sugar. (You can also melt the butter/chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, if preferred)
  4. Whip Sugar, Eggs & Egg Yolk. In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugar, eggs and egg yolk 2-3 minutes or until lighter in color, about double in volume, and the sugar is mostly dissolved. (A hand mixer helps this job go faster!) Don’t rush this step–it helps give your brownies the perfect fudgy, chewy texture & signature crackly tops you’re looking for!
  5. Mix Chocolate Mixture Into Egg Mixture. Slowly pour cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and mix in the vanilla extract. 
  6. Stir In The Dry Ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just a few small pockets of powder remain.
  7. Fold In The Chocolate Chips. Add the second 2/3 cup chocolate chips, and fold in with a spatula until just evenly distributed and no more powdery spots remain. Transfer the brownie batter to your prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly.
  8. Bake The Brownies. Pop the brownies in the oven and bake for 25-27 minutes or until the surface no longer jiggles in the center and the brownies look set around the edges. (Try not to over-bake, as this will dry the brownies out a bit.)
  9. Cool Completely. Then, let the brownies cool completely. If they’re even a little bit warm, it will melt the frosting. (Popping the pan in the fridge on a wire rack once it’s cooled somewhat can help speed this step up) 

When The Brownies Are Cool, Make The Peppermint Frosting Layer:

  1. Combine. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, combine softened butter, softened cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Beat with a paddle attachment or hand mixer 2-3 minutes, or until it is well combined and creamy. (At first, it may seem powdery and shaggy–just keep mixing! As long as you softened the butter & cream cheese, it WILL come together!) 
  2. Finish The Frosting. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add cream and peppermint extract. Whip the frosting on medium heat 1 more minute, or until light, fluffy, and easy to spread. 
  3. Check The Texture. You want the frosting to be easily spreadable, but not liquid. If your frosting seems too stiff to spread, add 1/2 teaspoon of cream at a time until it loosens back up. If it’s too loose and doesn’t hold its shape, add 1-2 Tbsp. powdered sugar at a time until it’s spreadable and holds its shape.
  4. Frost the cooled brownies. Dollop the peppermint cream cheese frosting around the top of the brownies and smooth into an even layer. (an offset spatula makes this easy!)
  5. Chill. Next, place the brownies in the refrigerator to chill while you make the ganache layer.

Finish With The Ganache Layer:

  1. Heat The Cream To Steaming. Heat 2/3 cup heavy cream on the stove over medium heat (or in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments) until steaming. It should be near boiling or it won’t be hot enough to melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat. 
  2. Add Chocolate & Stir To Melt. Immediately add the chocolate and 1 Tablespoon butter to the hot cream and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Let the ganache cool just slightly so it’s not hot to the touch. (You don’t want it to melt the frosting!) 
  3. Spread Over Brownies. Pour the ganache over the peppermint frosting layer and smooth into an even layer with a spatula. You can gently tap the pan on the countertop to pop any bubbles & smooth the ganache. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy now or set a timer and add it in 10-15 minutes when the ganache has set a bit more. 
  4. Chill To Set. Return the brownies to the refrigerator and chill until the ganache layer is fully set. 
  5. Slice & Serve. Chill the finished brownies uncovered until you’re ready to serve. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve within 2 hours of keeping them out at room temperature. I like to cut the brownies into 9 large squares, then cut the squares in half for 18 small rectangles. These brownies are rich! 
  6. Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the fridge 2-3 days or freeze brownies in a freezer bag up to 2 months. 

Notes

  • For The Cleanest Cuts, use a long, sharp knife to slice the brownies when cold, and wipe the knife off between cuts for best results. I promise it makes a difference in these layered brownies!
  • Gluten-Free Flour. We recommend King Arthur Measure-For-Measure Gluten-Free Flour blend for this recipe (and all our cookies & brownies!) If using another brand (like Bob’s Red Mill), make sure your flour blend contains xanthan gum, or the brownies will not turn out properly. Do not substitute almond flour, coconut flour, or oat flour in this recipe. 
  • Boxed Brownie Mix. If desired, you can substitute your favorite boxed mix brownies for my homemade brownies recipe. Make the brownies as directed in an 8×8 pan. 
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Chill Time: 2 Hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten-free peppermint brownies, gluten-free peppermint bark brownies, gluten-free peppermint crunch brownies

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3 Comments

  1. I’m sometimes hit and miss with peppermint and chocolate, but in life’s great Battleship game these are an absolute “HIT! You sunk my battleship!” Which is to say… I liked these a lot






  2. These brownies are SO delicious! One question though: my frosting layer separated from the brownie layer when I cut the brownies, any tricks for keeping that from happening?






    1. Oh, man! Are you cutting them cold or room temperature? I find that sometimes if they’re super cold I run into that problem, but letting them warm up a touch usually fixes it for me. (I’m SO GLAD you enjoyed them Betsy!)