Want to know my favorite thing about the month of March?
It’s everywhere! From Shamrock Shakes to Thin Mints, flavors of green-tinted peppermint are all over the place this time of year. I love it!
Even better than mint by itself is mint paired with chocolate.
Mint chip ice cream? Amazing. Mint Oreos? The best.
And these classic layered mint bars? A time-honored dessert indulgence.
Ever since I was a little kid, these are the bars I would hand-pick from bake sales, church picnics, and Christmas treat trays. Who can resist three layers of chocolate and peppermint?
Although most everyone has some variation of this recipe, I adapted this from my coworker Julie’s version, coupled with my childhood memories of fluffy mint buttercream and thick chocolate coating. Julie’s been making this recipe for so many years that she doesn’t even have it written down – she just listed off the estimated amounts she uses when I asked if she’d be willing to share her formula.
I’ve always thought the best part of these bars is the minty middle. I don’t get too excited over thin, barely discernible filling; I like my mint buttercream to be thick and bold! Smeared across fudgy brownies and topped with hardened chocolate, the mint flavor shines here.
Most layered desserts tend to be pretty high-maintenance, but I was feeling rather impatient, so I sped up the whole process by freezing my bars between each layer.
I let the brownies cool a bit after baking, froze them until they were cool to the touch (It doesn’t take long!), covered them in frosting, froze them again, and poured my chocolate on top. Since I could hardly wait to taste the finished product, I froze the bars once more to firm them up for good, and before long, they were super easy to slice up!
And said perfect slices were then shoved directly into my waiting mouth. Yummmm.
Another plus about these brownies? It doesn’t really matter what they look like fresh out of the oven. If they’re crackly or dented or imperfect in any way, no one will be the wiser by the time they take a bite of your finished product.
I’m notoriously bad at baking brownies, but these beauties are like magic – they’re soft and chewy every time, and they always look impressive once they’re frosted, regardless of how they might appear at any other stage!
Basically these brownies are a major #win.
If you need a treat to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the month of March, or just life in general, these have your name all over them!
Happy March – and happy spring!
- 1 cup butter
- 4 oz. semisweet chocolate
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp. fat-free milk
- 2 tsp. peppermint extract
- 3-4 drops green food coloring or a dab of green food gel
- 1/2 cup butter
- 11 oz. (1 bag) semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place 1 cup butter and 4 oz. chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave for 60 seconds; stir. Continue melting for 15-second intervals and stirring until chocolate is smooth.
- Add sugar, flour, and eggs to melted chocolate; mix until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
- Allow brownies to cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator or freezer until chilled.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cream, peppermint extract, and food coloring on low speed until just combined. Increase speed to high and whip frosting until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes.
- Once brownies are chilled, evenly spread mint frosting on top using a spatula. Return pan to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or freeze for 5-10 minutes until the bars are once again chilled.
- Place 1/2 cup butter and 11 oz. chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave for 60 seconds; stir. Continue melting at 15-second intervals and stirring until smooth.
- Use a spatula to spread chocolate topping over chilled brownies.
- Return to the refrigerator or freezer until bars are completely chilled. Before serving, slice chilled brownies into squares with a knife.
You can use any type of chocolate you prefer, but I like semisweet in this recipe to contrast with the mint flavor and sweet buttercream.
Substitute heavy cream or half-and-half for the milk if you'd like. It definitely won't detract from these brownies! :)