Easy peppermint mocha brownie bites mini brownies made with box mix and decadent, from scratch peppermint mocha frosting swirled on top!
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There is something wonderful about a mini cupcake, isn’t there? Where you can simply unwrap it and pop it in your mouth. Plus there is the added bonus of basically a 1:1 ratio of cake to frosting, which, imo is the best way to do it. Especially frosting that tastes as amazing as this peppermint mocha frosting. The buttercream is really the star of this show.
Pro Tip: if you include these brownie bites on a holiday cookie plate (and I 100% think you should) store them separately until the it’s time to eat them
For the peppermint mocha buttercream:
- butter-as the backbone of our buttercream. I like to use salted. If you use unsalted, add a pinch of salt into the buttercream at the end of mixing.
- powdered sugar-because it blends nicely. We don’t want the grainy texture of granulated sugar.
- heavy cream-when whipped into our buttercream, the heavy cream adds a light, fluffiness to our frosting.
- espresso powder-to add a pop of coffee flavor. You can use instant coffee in a pinch, but you’ll need a little bit more to pack the punch.
- cocoa powder-what is left when chocolate is processed to remove almost all the cocoa butter. Cocoa powder gives you a deep, rich chocolate flavor in your baked goods because most of the fat is removed and only the cocoa solids remain.
- peppermint oil-only a little bit. Peppermint oil is much stronger than peppermint extract so a little goes a long way.
- hot water-we’re going to mix our espresso powder and cocoa powder with a couple tablespoons of hot water to activate their flavors.
Are peppermint oil and peppermint extract the same thing?
No. Extracts are made by steeping the ingredient (in this case peppermint) in alcohol to “extract” the flavor. Peppermint oil is the essential oil of the peppermint plant. Peppermint oil is more concentrated and therefore much more potent. We use half the amount of peppermint oil as we would peppermint extract (i.e. if you use 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, use no more than 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil).
Where can you buy peppermint oil? I typically buy my peppermint oil from Amazon but any place that sells food safe oil is fine. Since essential oils are so popular right now, make sure you search for “peppermint oil for candy making” so you don’t have to weed through a bunch of other peppermint oils. You can usually buy peppermint extract in the grocery store in the baking aisle if the peppermint oil seems like too much hassle.
What’s the difference between peppermint extract and mint extract?
Gosh, this was sooo confusing to me when I first started baking. Especially because I almost always called things that were actually peppermint, “mint.” However, when I used mint extract in my recipe, it totally wasn’t peppermint.
Mint extract is a combination of spearmint and peppermint extracts, where peppermint extract is only peppermint. When making holiday “mint” desserts, you typically want to use peppermint extract or oil because it goes best with chocolate.
Best way to crush candy canes
They make a candy cane crunch that you can buy, which is a super easy way to get your crunched up candy canes. However, I can’t bring myself to pay $8 for something that would cost me less than a quarter and allows me to vent a little stress.
Place unwrapped candy canes in a ziploc bag and seal the bag. Take a hammer or the end of your rolling pin and go to town. You’ll get odd sized pieces with this method, which I personally like the look of, but if you don’t, you can take your candy canes for a spin in the food processor. It will make short work of crushing your candy canes.
If you don’t have a mini muffin pan…
You can easily make these in a regular sized muffin/cupcake pan or even just make them in a regular 9×13 cake pan and slather the peppermint mocha buttercream on top.
Peppermint Mocha Brownie Bites
- Mini Muffin Pan
- 1 9×13 brownie mix I like Pilsbury
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder optional
Peppermint Mocha Buttercream
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil
For the brownies
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a mini muffin pan with mini muffin papers.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together brownie mix, oil, water, eggs and espresso powder if using.
- Scoop batter into mini muffin pan. Fill only 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely and frost.
For the buttercream
- If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together hot water and espresso powder. Allow to cool a bit.
- Beat butter until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until combined.
- Add heavy cream and peppermint oil to buttercream and beat to combine.
- Add in espresso powder and water and beat to combine.
- Beat buttercream for 2-3 minutes on high speed to get the heavy cream nice and fluffy.
- Frost cupcakes as desired. Top with crushed candy canes.
Did you make this recipe? Tag me @bakincareofbusiness on Instagram so I can see what you made!