Every year, after I take the Christmas tree down, I’m faced with that lifelong quandry: what to do with the leftover candy canes? Not one to waste perfectly good confections, I opt to sneak them into baking projects throughout the year (luckily candy canes have a looooooong shelf life). These rich brownies are one of my favorite ways to use up that peppermint-flavored tree candy. The base is a chocolaty (but not too chocolaty) brownie, while the topping is a rich, peppermint-infused white chocolate ganache that’s topped with a generous sprinkling of crushed candy canes. Though I kept it simple, you can also drizzle the bars with some melted white or dark chocolate.

Makes 16 large brownies or 25 small ones



  • 2/3 cup (87 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (18 grams) cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed), sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (108 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Peppermint Ganache Topping

  • 6 ounces (170 grams) good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup plus 2 2/3 tablespoons 1 teaspoon (93 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/8 plus 1/16 teaspoon peppermint extract


  • 3 tablespoons crushed candy canes


Make the brownies

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, letting it overhang about 2 inches on 2 opposite sides (this will make it easy to remove the brownies from the pan). Lightly spray the paper with non-stick cooking spray.
  1. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk gently to blend well. Set aside.
  1. Melt the chocolate, either over a double boiler or in a microwave (use 50% power and stir every 15-20 seconds). Set aside.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the white and brown sugar with the melted butter until blended. Whisk in the eggs and the vanilla and blend well. Whisk in the melted chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until no traces of white remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool the brownies completely in the pan set on a wire rack while you make the topping.

Make the ganache

  1. Put the heavy cream in a Pyrex or other heatproof glass measure and microwave it until hot and bubbling, about 20-40 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it stand for about 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Stir with a rubber spatula from the center out until the mixture is blended and the white chocolate is completely melted. Blend in the peppermint extract. If you have an immersion (stick) blender, blend the ganache until very smooth and emulsified. If not, you can whisk the mixture gently by hand. Cover the ganache with plastic wrap, letting the plastic touch the surface of the ganache. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes (but not longer), just until slightly thickened.
  1. Pour the thickened ganache over the brownies in an even layer. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly on top. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until the ganache is set. Cut into squares or rectangles to serve.


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Tish Boyle
Tish Boylehttps://pastryathome.com
Tish Boyle is the Managing Editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, a food writer and cookbook author with expertise in baking, desserts and chocolate. A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Tish has written several dessert and baking books including Chocolate Passion, Diner Desserts, The Good Cookie, The Cake Book and Flavorful. Co-writing credits include Payard Desserts and the Grand Finales series of books.

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