Whether you need a treat for your cookie platter or goodies for Santa, these Christmas Tree Brownies feature delicious brownies, cream cheese frosting, and candy cane "trunks" for a fun and festive holiday treat!
I can't tell y'all how excited I am about how today's recipe turned out! I mean, how cute are these Christmas Tree Brownies?! And even though they make look a bit on the fancy side, they were so easy to make. Decorating these guys would be such a fun holiday activity with the kiddos!
I started with my favorite brownie recipe EVER (I can never thank you enough for your brilliance, Ina Garten), which is almost entirely concocted of butter and chocolate. It's the holidays, right? They are to-die-for and, while I only make them a few times a year, they are exponentially worth every calorie.
As a bonus, these brownies are made in a big 12- by 18-inch sheet pan, which not only results in a ton of brownies (enough to enjoy and share!), but they're also the perfect depth for cutting out with cookie cutters, should you so desire.
How to Make Them
So after baking up a pan of chocolate decadence, I cut my brownies into tree-like triangles. I started out using a Christmas tree cookie cutter but quickly determined that I liked the look of simple triangles much better.
Then it was time to whip up a batch of my favorite frosting ever -- cream cheese frosting, which has the perfect amount of tang to balance out these rich, sweet, fudgy brownies.
I scooped the frosting into a gallon-sized freezer plastic baggie, snipped about ½-inch off of one corner, and used it as a piping bag to quickly and attractively frost my brownies.
How to Frost Them
I found that I got the best results by turning each tree upside down, starting at the long flat side, and then frosting back and forth across the brownie, all the way down to the tip (the end where the star would go).
You could just as easily use a knife to frost your brownies, but I think that this plastic bag method is actually quicker, less messy, and ends up looking nicer.
The Final Touches
Finally I broke off the straight side of a mini candy cane to use as the Christmas tree trunk, and then I went to town with a variety of holiday sprinkles!
You could choose to tint your frosting green, but I decided to leave mine un-dyed and instead bring in color using sparkling sugar, sprinkles, Sixlets, and whatever festive little candies I had in the pantry.
The final result? Brownie pops that will be the star of the Christmas cookie platter!
And if you decide to leave a few for Santa? Well, in return, he might just stuff your stocking extra full this year. 😉
More Christmas Ideas & Recipes
Christmas Tree Brownies
For the brownies:
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 28 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, DIVIDED
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I use Baker's chocolate squares)
- 6 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, DIVIDED
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
Mini candy canes, the straight sides broken off
Assorted sprinkles & mini candies, for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a rimmed 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan.
- In the top of a double broiler (or in a large, heat-safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water), melt together the butter, 16 ounces of chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate, stirring until smooth. Set aside to slightly cool.
- In a large bowl, blend together eggs, instant coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Slowly and gradually stir the warm butter/chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend into chocolate mixture until just combined. In a small bowl, toss remaining 12 ounces chocolate chips with remaining ¼ cup flour. Stir into chocolate batter and spread into prepared sheet pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf or counter to remove any trapped air bubbles. Bake for 15 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, taking care not to overbake. Allow to cool completetely.
- Once brownies are cool, cut into Christmas tree-shaped triangles. Use a thin metal spatula to remove from cookie sheet onto a platter.
- To decorate, insert a straight piece of mini candy cane into the base of each tree.
- Scoop Cream Cheese Frosting (or your favorite frosting) into a gallon-sized freezer baggie. Push frosting into a corner of the bag and cut off a ½-inch piece to create a hole. Use as a piping bag to pipe frosting onto each brownie. Place brownie upside down, start at long, flat side, and pipe frosting back and forth going down the brownie, all the way to the tip (where the star would go).
- Use a variety of sprinkles, leftover crushed candy canes, and small candies to decorate the trees. Store refrigerated in a tightly covered container.
- The instant coffee granules give the brownies a deeper, richer, chocolate flavor, as opposed to making the brownies taste like coffee. You may reduce the amount used if you wish, but when I've tried doing so, I didn't think the brownies tasted as decadent.
- If you prefer nuts in your brownies, you may add 3 cups chopped walnuts (or your favorite nut) to the step where you toss the remaining chocolate chips with the remaining flour.
- You may tint your frosting with green food coloring, if you wish.
- You will have lots of leftover brownie scraps from cutting out the trees. I'm sure you will think of some way to dispose of them... 😉
Outrageous Brownies recipe from Ina Garten