Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Do you like holiday baking?

… But would love a recipe that’s not over-the-top high in sugar?

… And, as a bonus, is incredibly low-maintenance?

As happens annually, I am possessed by my December creative baking impulse. But I wanted to create something that wasn’t overly-indulgent – and didn’t send Gabriella bouncing off the walls on a sugar high.

So I made a little addition to my trusty applesauce brownie recipe (which is featured originally in this post).

Creamy frosting. Bright, refreshing peppermint. Fudgey chocolate. And at only about 170 calories (and 8 grams of sugar) per serving, you can enjoy them again and again.

And oh man… are they good. I didn’t even realize that the candy canes would melt a little into the frosting in the fridge, and I find the final creamy, pepperminty result to be absolutely heavenly.

By the way, you don’t need to make holiday treats healthy… but it doesn’t hurt. Especially when you compare this recipe with this chocolate-peppermint brownie recipe from Food and Wine, which clocks in at 700+ calories per serving. Lighter holiday treats mean you don’t have to make an “exception” to enjoy a delicious, festive dessert.

Next up, I would like to experiment with swapping out some of the flour and cocoa powder for chocolate protein powder to make them even higher protein (because I just can’t help myself), but that’s for another day…

Until then, here’s the recipe for 2021!

Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Recipe

Ingredients for Brownies

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 8 dropper-fulls liquid stevia
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown rice flour (or your flour of choice)
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for Frosting/Topping

  • 1 8-oz package reduced-fat cream cheese (you could go fat-free, too)
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 packets granulated or powdered stevia (you can buy a confectioner’s sugar style, but I didn’t)
  • 8 crushed mini candy canes

You can make the brownie part ahead of time, so that you can let it cool. Combine all brownie ingredients and bake in a sprayed pan at 350 for about 20-30 minutes (I use a Pyrex glass baking pan). Allow to cool, and then store covered in the refrigerator.

To make the frosting, use a mixer (I used a hand mixer on low speed) to combine the cream cheese, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and stevia. Spread onto the cool brownies with a spatula. Sprinkle candy cane topping.

When I say this dish is low-maintenance… it is low-maintenance. You really can’t mess it up. Gabriella helped me with every aspect of the process, from mixing the brownies to crushing the candy canes, and there was definitely some material loss! But it didn’t affect the recipe even a little bit.

It’s also one of those desserts that tastes better as it sits in the refrigerator! Enjoy!

Full Nutrition Facts – 8 servings

  • Calories – 170
  • Protein – 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 22 grams
  • Fiber – 3 grams
  • Sugar – 8 grams
  • Fat – 8 grams
  • Saturated fat – 4 grams
  • Cholesterol – 66 mg
  • Sodium – 129 mg