Peppermint Bark Cookies

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PEPPERMINT BARK BROWNIE COOKIES! Easy to make brownie cookies with chunks of peppermint bark and a sprinkle of crushed peppermint. These cookies are ultra fudgy AND easy to make! via chelseasmessyapron.com

These fudgy and rich Peppermint Bark Cookies make the perfect seasonal treat. They’re loaded with chopped peppermint bark, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. For these cookies, we’re using a boxed brownie mix to keep the process as easy as possible during the busy holiday season. 

 

Overhead image of Peppermint Bark Cookies, fresh out of the oven.

Peppermint Bark Cookies

These Peppermint Bark Cookies are a holiday lifesaver. They are seriously simple to make and certainly not lacking on the flavor!

What makes these cookies so simple? Brownie Mix! We use a brownie mix as the base, which makes these cookies actually taste like brownies. They are the soft and chewy, slightly crisp on the edges, and downright chocolatey.

Beyond the brownie mix, there is also pudding mix, which results in a soft and chewy center–and an even more intense chocolate flavor. And as if brownie mix + pudding mix isn’t enough, we’re loading these cookies with chopped peppermint bark, milk chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips. Yes, these are the holiday cookies we all need this year!

Process shots-- images of the wet and dry ingredients being prepped and added together.

Let’s talk peppermint

While these are Peppermint Bark Cookies, the peppermint flavor is subtle–not overwhelming. There is a bit of peppermint extract (see “quick tip” below) and a chopped peppermint bark bar.

If you’d like to amp up the peppermint flavor, I’d recommend increasing the amount of peppermint extract and even adding a crushed candy cane or two into the batter. Another option is to coarsely chop up a candy cane and sprinkle it on the cookies right out of the oven. The candy will stick to the wet chocolate chips and add a nice peppermint crunch to the cookies.

QUICK TIP

Make sure to grab peppermint, not mint extract; the mint extract will make these cookies taste like toothpaste. I have nothing against toothpaste, but I don’t want that flavor in my treats! The actual strength of the peppermint extract will also depend on the brand (some are more potent than others), so be sure to taste and adjust to personal preference, adding more for a stronger peppermint flavor.

Process shots-- images of the chopped peppermint bark and chocolate chips being added to the dough and the dough being rolled into balls.

Peppermint Bark Cookie Ingredients

  • Butter: I recommend unsalted butter since brownie mix and pudding mix both have salt in them– and you don’t want salty cookies. Room temperature or slightly softened butter is best for these cookies.
  • Cream Cheese: For optimal flavor and thickness, I recommend full-fat brick-style cream cheese. Avoid Neufchâtel or reduced-fat cream cheese.
  • Large egg
  • Vanilla and Peppermint Extracts: These extracts both add flavor and vibrancy to the cookies. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of peppermint extract in the cookies depending on personal preference. If you’d like a more strongly flavored peppermint cookie, increase the peppermint extract to 1 teaspoon.
  • Brownie mix: I have tested these cookies with several different brownie mixes and taste testers agreed the Betty Crocker Delights Brownie Mix (Supreme Chocolate Chunk) was the absolute best (Not sponsored, just sharing taste test results).
  • Chocolate pudding mix: Make sure to get regular instant chocolate pudding mix and filling — not sugar-free and not cook-and-serve pudding.
  • Chocolate chips: We like milk chocolate best, but semi-sweet or dark will work just as well. Depending on the peppermint bark bar used, I like to use a contrasting flavor (if using a dark chocolate peppermint bark bar, I add milk chocolate and if using a milk chocolate peppermint bark bar, I add dark chocolate).
  • Peppermint Bark Bar: I love the bars made by Ghirardelli® (not sponsored), but a cheaper alternative to a peppermint bark bar is a candy cane chocolate bar (made by Hershey’s).
  • White chocolate chips: This chip addition is optional but enhances the overall peppermint bark flavor since there isn’t a whole lot of white chocolate in these cookies.

Images of the fresh-out-of-the-oven Peppermint Bark Cookies stacked on top of each other.

Peppermint Bark Cookie Tips

  • Use an electric mixer – hand or stand will work! This is an extremely thick dough, and it will be hard to achieve the best results without an electric mixer.
  • The dough is thick and sticky, but if it is too hard to work with, refrigerate it for ten minutes. This will help the dough to firm up and make it easier to roll into balls.
  • Roll wide, flat discs. These cookies are fairly resistant to spreading, so it’s important to roll the dough balls flatter so you aren’t left with a thick ball of baked dough.
  • Line the sheet pan. These cookies turn out best being baked on a silicone liner. Without a lined tray, the bottoms brown and crisp up too quickly.

QUICK TIP

Err on the side of under-baking rather than over-baking. When under baked, these cookies will be chewy and delicious, but when over baked, they are tough and hard. Don’t ask me how I know that!

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Peppermint Bark Cookies

5 from 5 votes
These fudgy and rich Peppermint Bark Cookies make the perfect seasonal treat. They're loaded with chopped peppermint bark, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. For these cookies, we're using a boxed brownie mix to keep the process as easy as possible during the busy holiday season. 
Print Recipe

Peppermint Bark Cookies

5 from 5 votes
These fudgy and rich Peppermint Bark Cookies make the perfect seasonal treat. They're loaded with chopped peppermint bark, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. For these cookies, we're using a boxed brownie mix to keep the process as easy as possible during the busy holiday season. 
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Peppermint Bark Cookies
Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 28 minutes
Servings 28 -30 cookies
Calories 54kcal
Cost $6.23

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces (113g) cream cheese full-fat, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup; 113g) butter unsalted, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract optional
  • 1 package (3.9 oz.; 111g) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix (unprepared) not cook-and-serve
  • 1 package (18 oz.; 510g) fudge brownie mix (we like Betty Crocker Delights Brownie Mix, Supreme Chocolate Chunk best!)
  • 3/4 cup (113g) peppermint bark (1, 3.5 ounce bar),coarsely chopped (Ghirardelli is a great brand)
  • 3/4 cup (136g) milk chocolate chips
  • Optional: 1/3 cup (60g) white chocolate chips

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside. Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature by either leaving out for 1 hour or by microwaving the (unwrapped) cream cheese in increments of 5-10 seconds until soft and separately microwaving the butter for 5 seconds, flipping to the other side, and microwaving for another 5 seconds. Be careful to not melt or overly soften either ingredient.
  • CREAM BUTTER: In a large bowl fitted to a stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until completely smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and optional peppermint extract. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: Add in the dry pudding mix and brownie mix. Beat to combine. (The dough will be extremely thick and takes a while to get a dough to form. This is intended. Just keep mixing and it will all come together even though it seems like it won't.)
  • ADD-INS: Coarsely chop the peppermint bark candy. Stir in the chopped peppermint bark, chocolate chips, and optional white chocolate chips.
  • FORM DOUGH BALLS: Measure each cookie dough ball to be a full 2 tablespoons of dough (43 grams). Knead the dough ball to get the chocolate chips to stick into the dough and then roll it into a ball. Shape dough balls into wide, thick discs about 2 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. You should get about 28-30 cookies from this batter. Place 6-8 cookies on the prepared cookie sheet, giving cookies ample room to spread.
  • BAKE: Bake each batch for 10-14 minutes. Slightly under-baking these cookies gives them an awesome taste and texture like ultra fudge-y brownies, so err on the side of slightly under-baking. Remove from the oven. Sometimes the edges have a tendency to leak out; simply use the back of a spoon or metal spatula to press the edges in towards the center of the cookie right out of the oven. If desired, add some additional chocolate chips and/or chopped peppermint bark on top of the cookies. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: While we like these cookies best hot out of the oven and the same day they are made, they will store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 1 week in the fridge.
Note 2: If you love these cookies warm as much as I do, you can put a cooled cookie in the microwave for 8-10 seconds 🙂
Note 3: If you won't be eating all the cookies right away, I recommend freezing the unbaked cookie dough balls. No need to thaw when baking, simply add 1-3 minutes to the baking time.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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44 Comments

  1. I love recipes that are actually easy but turn out to be so tasty and fancy that I look like a chef! These cookies absolutely fit the bill so as soon as I can get a brownie mix, they’re on! Thanks.

  2. These look delicious! But I’m confused about amounts. Only 1 oz each of the instant pudding mix, brownie mix, and peppermint bar??

    1. No, sorry!! The way my recipes are displayed just changed, and there are a lot of fixes needed. This recipe is now updated! 🙂

  3. These look delicious! Do you think they will work as a bar cookie instead? I need as many shortcuts as I can find this year!

    1. Thanks Denise! 🙂 Unfortunately I think they might get too hard as a bar — I would stick with cookies!

  4. I found this while searching for holiday cookies, these look wonderful, and a nice change to the usual sugar cookies this time of year, thank you for sharing this!

    1. Don’t prepare the brownie mix, use it as part of the recipe (with the cream cheese, eggs, and other listed ingredients)

  5. 5 stars
    These are sooooo AMAZING! I made them for Christmas and New Years, and everyone loved them! AND they are easy to whip up. They are delicious warm and second day, I can’t imagine they’ll last any longer than day 2. Thanks so much for sharing this, it will be a go to recipe for a long time to come!! I just wish Ghirardelli peppermint bark was not limited to Christmas time…

    1. Awe thank you so much Kate! I’m so happy these were a hit 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment. And I know!! I wish they sold it year round!

  6. 5 stars
    I made these using Peppermint Andes (that was all I could find) and they were delicious. Slightly undercooking is the way to go. Will definitely make again next year. My only comment is about the prep and cooking time listed at the top of the recipe: It took much less than 1hr 20 prep time, and more than 8 min cook time. For me prep was more like 25 min and I baked each about 13 as suggested in the instructions.

    1. I’m so happy you liked these! I’m not sure why the prep and cooking time was listed so weird; I changed to a new platform that hosts my recipes and it did mess up a few of the prep times on some recipes. Thanks for pointing that out for me to fix it!

    2. Would it be ok to use the Ghirardelli Peppermint Chunks (they are like chips) instead of the peppermint bark?

  7. Curious if this would work with the dark chocolate peppermint bark?
    Also, is milk chocolate vs semi-sweet for the chips important?

    1. Sure! 🙂 And you can use milk or semi-sweet; it won’t change the structure of the cookies — just flavor (so if you prefer semi-sweet definitely use that!)

  8. I can’t find chocolate fudge pudding mix! I’ve looked at two stores. They have either chocolate pudding mix or sugar free chocolate fudge pudding mix. Have you ever made it with one of those?

  9. 5 stars
    These cookies were AMAZING. Making another batch for neighbors and family this weekend!
    For those without a stand mixer: I started making this recipe before realizing I needed a stand mixer, which I didn’t have. My hand mixer seriously flopped, but I was determined to make these! I ended up using a fork and a lot of arm strength for mixing the first part and toward the end when the brownie mix was added to the batter, I used my hands. All in all, the batter mixed very well and cookies turned out delicious! So, an alternative for those currently w/o a stand mixer!

    1. Oh my gosh you are amazing! Also what a win, win, hahaha you get delicious cookies and a little workout! Haha! I’m so glad you enjoyed! Thanks Shana! 🙂

  10. These are amazing and SO easy to make. A big hit at holiday parties.
    Question- do you think if I make the batter about an hour ahead of cooking it will mess with the consistency and shape of the cookies? We have our family cookie baking party and the more prep I can do before going, the better!

  11. Super upset. Added all my ingredients and it says 3.9 oz of pudding mix and I’m pretty sure it should be 1.4 oz. I’m going to save the mix bc I used an entire box of brownie mix and all that. If you know how I can fix it, please let me know.

  12. I can’t wait to make these later in the week! I’m prepping lots of cookie dough for holiday dessert trays for my neighbors. Any chance these can be refrigerated over night? Have you tried doing this before? Thanks!

  13. These are exactly the recipe I’m looking for. Once they are made, how should they be stored? Do they need to be refrigerated because of the cream cheese? Thank you!

  14. Do you have this recipe using everything from scratch – i.e brownie mix and pudding mix?
    I live in Brazil and we don’t have mixes like that – would love love to make these cookies… please help!

  15. This looks so good! Chelsea, what brand of brownie pudding do you use? I didn’t see that flavor on my grocery store’s pudding/Jello aisle.

    1. Hey Kathy!! I just use the store brand, I’ve found it at Kroger stores (Smith’s) Hope that is helpful! Regular chocolate pudding will work too as long as the ounces are the same. Enjoy and happy holidays!

  16. Correction: Chocolate fudge pudding mix, not brownie pudding mix. Sorry, late Saturday night/early Sunday morning for Mrs. Claus here. 🙂

  17. I notice when I click to print the recipe some of the ingerdients change. It adds 1/4 cup flour, but the recipe up above doesn’t list it. Do I need it or not? I’m making these for a cookie exchange and want them to be perfect.

      1. Thank you so much for responding so quick! I’m making a quadruple batch tonight and this was important info!

  18. Was wondering how you think they would freeze? Have to make them 5 days before Christmas and don’t want them to go bad. Thanks!!

    1. Hey Megan! I love making the dough up ahead of time, rolling the balls out, and freezing the dough balls! You can just pull out the prepared dough the day of and bake them right up! They bake for an extra minute or two frozen. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

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