The weather is cooling down, the holidays are quickly approaching, and what’s better than a cozy mug of hot cocoa topped with marshmallows? Peppermint Hot Cocoa Brownies! These super rich chocolate brownies are flavored with peppermint extract and topped with a simple homemade peppermint marshmallow. In other words, forget about hot cocoa (for now) and indulge in one of these festive babes instead!
For this recipe I used my favorite base brownie recipe from Running with Spoons and paired it with a slightly altered version of Alton Brown’s Homemade Marshmallow Recipe. I’ve made marshmallows using a different recipe in the past and found myself disappointed with the taste. But this marshmallow topping has no funky gelatin flavor, isn’t too sweet, and has the perfect marshmallow texture! You can eat the brownies as-is or pop one in the microwave for a warm, gooey marshmallow brownie experience – this was my favorite way to eat these. And if you’re not a fan of peppermint, feel free to leave it out completely, replacing it with extra vanilla extract (or your extract of choice!).
Some of the ingredients I like for this recipe:
Coconut sugar is my go-to baking sweetener. It’s low GI, unrefined, and makes for a perfect substitute for white granulated sugar. And it tastes nothing like coconut! For a sweeter (less rich) brownie, feel free to use regular, white granulated sugar instead.
Chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) lend moisture and lots of chocolate goodness to these brownies.
Eggs make for the perfect brownie texture. Trust me, I’ve tried multiple egg replacements in this recipe, and they do not work. So don’t even try.
Instant coffee granules are totally optional but will deepen the chocolate flavor and richness in the brownies. I highly recommend adding it if you’re looking for a rich brownie!
Arrowroot starch thickens the brownie batter while also keeping it free of grains and gluten – perfect for GF and non-GF eaters alike since the taste is undetectable!
White granulated sugar is necessary for the marshmallow topping! I don’t recommend any substitutes since this topping has been tested as-is and works as-is.
Agave makes for a better alternative to corn syrup, which is what most marshmallow recipes call for. It also has a very low GI, which is great considering the higher GI of the white sugar you’ll also be using.
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, measured as a solid (or 6 Tbsp olive oil)
- 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional)
- 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp arrowroot, tapioca, or corn starch
- 1/2 cup water, divided
- 1 1/2 packets of gelatin powder (~3 1/2 tsp)
- 1 cup white cane sugar
- 1/4 cup agave
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the brownies: preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare an 8x8" baking dish with non-stick spray. Then line your entire pan with parchment paper. I like to cut two long strips of parchment that criss cross over each other on the bottom of the dish. Bring your eggs to room temperature by placing them in a glass of warm water for around 10 minutes.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together the coconut oil and chocolate chips. Stir in the instant coffee and cocoa powder; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the eggs and sugar. Whisk on medium-high speed until thick and light in color. Whisk in the peppermint and vanilla extracts. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the sugar and eggs. Add the salt and arrowroot starch and gently mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out slightly gooey - you don't want to over bake! Allow brownies to totally cool.
- Make the marshmallow: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the gelatin and 1/4 cup of the water. Give it a little stir and then allow it to thicken while you heat up your sugar.
- In a medium or large saucepan, add the sugar, agave, salt, and the other 1/4 cup of water. Gently swirl the pan to ensure sugar is totally saturated. Set heat to medium-high (or medium for a gas range) and bring the mixture to a boil. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the sugar's temperature. If your mixture begins to boil too high up the pan (as mine did) you can use your thermometer to gently swirl the mixture back down/hold the pot up and over the heat. I recommend using a large pot. When the mixture reaches 240°F immediately remove from the heat.
- With your stand mixer running at low speed, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin. Turn the speed to high and whisk until mixture becomes white, thick, and fluffy. I like to wait until I see soft peaks. Immediately whisk in the peppermint and vanilla extracts.
- Spread the marshmallow over the cooled brownies, using an offset icing spatula to spread and swirl it over the brownies. Top with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or crushed peppermint candies.
- Allow marshmallow to set for at least 4 hours before slicing. Run a butter knife along the edges of the brownies and use the parchment paper to lift the brownies up and out of the dish. Slice into 16 squares.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature. I highly recommend popping the brownie into the microwave for a few seconds before enjoying!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 23mg Sodium: 103mg Carbohydrates: 47g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 29g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g