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These chocolate mint brownies are made with a layer of rich chocolate cake brownie, followed by a fluffy minty buttercream layer, all finished with decadent chocolaty smooth ganache topping made with coconut cream and vegan chocolate chips. This easy vegan brownie recipe is 100% egg-free and dairy-free, and 100% delicious!
Okay, veggie fans. I’m just putting this out there right now: this is NOT a health food. There is no hidden kale in the fluffy minty buttercream layer. No chickpeas in the creamy smooth chocolate ganache.
There! Now that we’ve got that little detail out of the way, I will just tell you that these chocolate mint brownies are the best you are going to eat – vegan or non-vegan!
Looking for some other decadent vegan brownie recipes? Check out my Easy Vegan Brownies post for all the best brownie recipes Veggie Fun Kitchen has to offer.
I used to call this brownie a “grasshopper brownie” when I was younger. There was a little bakery in the town I grew up in that had two specialty items – this mint brownie, called a grasshopper brownie, and a giant triangular cream-filled pastry called an alligator jaw. And no, I haven’t veganized that one yet; but, I did want to share my mint brownie recipe with you – in all its rich decadence!
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The base of this brownie recipe is the same as used in my Brownie Cake with Fudge Frosting recipe. But instead of frosting the brownies with chocolate fudge frosting, we make an easy mint buttercream frosting and then top it all off with a layer of creamy smooth chocolate ganache.
(At the bottom of this post there is a handy printable recipe card with all the exact ingredients, measurements, and instructions.)
For the wet ingredients:
- unsweetened plant milk of choice – I use what I have on hand, either almond or oat
- white vinegar
- vanilla extract
- light tasting oil such as refined coconut oil (melted) or canola oil
For the dry ingredients:
- all-purpose flour
- organic white sugar (granulated)
- unsweetened cocoa powder (the kind used for baking)
- baking powder, cornstarch, and salt
For the minty buttercream frosting:
- vegan butter sticks (I use country crock plant butter)
- powdered sugar
- mint extract
- plant milk of choice
- green food coloring
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)
- the cream from a can of full-fat coconut milk.
Some vegan ingredient hacks for brownies and other baked goods
Vinegar and plant milk:
Guess what? We are making buttermilk! Vegan buttermilk…kind of.
This is actually a hack I learned when I was a little girl, baking with my mother. When we needed only one cup or so of buttermilk for a recipe, it was too cost-prohibitive to buy a whole carton of buttermilk for such a small amount used. Adding vinegar or lemon to milk turned it sour and gave it the same properties as buttermilk.
As it turns out, this homemade buttermilk hack also works with plant milk. Simply add the vinegar to the plant milk and let it sit for a few minutes until you start to see it coagulate and change. You now have sour vegan (undrinkable) “buttermilk”!
Why use buttermilk in baked goods? Combined with baking soda, it will help your brownies rise. We do not use eggs in vegan brownies and so miss out on that benefit. Read this very informative article by Taste of Home to learn more about using buttermilk in baked goods as well as the vinegar/lemon hack.
You might wonder why we are using cornstarch in our vegan brownies. Well, again because we are not using eggs, we miss out on their great binding power. We can substitute in other items such as ground flax or chia to help bind the ingredients. This particular recipe uses the combo of sour “milk” and cornstarch to better bind and help the vegan brownies hold together.
Making the minty buttercream
It’s important to use a stick butter for the frosting – not a softer tub butter or your frosting won’t set up as well.
The recipe calls for room temperature butter. Try to remember to put it out on your counter to soften while the brownies are baking. I go ahead and unwrap the butter stick, place it in the bowl I will be using and lightly cover it with the wrapper.
The reason I unwrap my butter stick while it’s softening is to avoid the goopy mess of a wrapped and fully softened stick of butter. If you end up with that mess then make sure to carefully scrape every bit of vegan butter from the wrapper into your bowl. And good luck.
If you forgot to soften your butter on the counter, very carefully microwave on a low setting for only 30 seconds at a time. You don’t want your vegan butter to actually melt in the microwave.
I beat my minty buttercream till it’s light and fluffy and then add in the green food coloring. I start with 4 drops and add drop by drop till I get my desired color. Unless I’m making a special seasonal brownie as in for St. Patrick’s Day, 4-5 drops are enough to give the mint buttercream a pleasant light green color.
Then just go ahead and glob the mint buttercream onto your fully cooled brownie. You don’t have to be fancy with this because it will be covered with the chocolate ganache. Just spread the frosting evenly.
Making the chocolate ganache
You should actually start making the chocolate ganache at least 30 minutes before you want to use it because it should be fully cooled before pouring it onto the buttercream layer. If you pour the ganache on when it is still warm, it will melt into the buttercream and you won’t get that nice layer. Typically chocolate ganache is made with heavy cream and chopped chocolate. We use (unsweetened) coconut cream for this recipe and vegan chocolate chips.
If you buy your vegan chocolate chips at the grocery store, make sure to read the ingredient label because sometimes even dark chocolate contains milk. I prefer using the Enjoy Life brand and buy mine on Amazon.
What is coconut cream?
Coconut cream is simply the fat from the coconut. It is considered a whole-f0od fat because it does not have added processed oil. It is certainly still fat though! You might find canned coconut cream at the grocery store. I just use the full-fat coconut milk and skim the cream from the top, leaving the clear liquid behind.
Read this post about my coconut milk whipped topping experiment. You’ll learn how to make whipped topping out of a can of coconut milk and which milk is best to use. You will definitely want to use full-fat coconut milk for the chocolate ganache!
The best (only) way to skim the cream from the top is to refrigerate the can for several hours – even overnight. This will cause the cream to float to the top and harden with the liquid left underneath it.
If you are like me and make impulse dessert decisions, you might not have time to properly refrigerate your canned coconut milk. No problem, just pop it in the freezer while you are making the brownies.
Then when you open it, it will be super easy to dig out the cream part. Just put the coconut cream directly into a glass measuring cup so that you can microwave it. I find that my canned coconut milk has almost the exact 3/4 cup of melted coconut cream I need for the recipe – perhaps a little more.
Pour off what you don’t need for the recipe. If you are concerned about wasting any leftover coconut milk, simply freeze it and use it in your next smoothie.
Microwave the coconut cream for about 1 minute and then test to see how hot it is. It should be very hot to the touch. Put the chocolate chips into a bowl while the coconut cream is microwaving. When the coconut cream is melted and hot, pour it over the chocolate chips.
Give it a little stir and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. It might take that long for the chocolate chips to melt.
Continue stirring and allow the ganache to cool to room temperature. It will be dark and glossy and your kitchen will smell beautiful! If you are impatient with waiting, go ahead and put the ganache into the refrigerator to fully cool. Be careful though that it does not start to harden. You need it to be very liquidy when pouring on top of the mint buttercream layer.
After pouring on top of the mint buttercream layer, carefully smooth the ganache layer trying not to disturb the mint layer. Unless you have a very cool spot in your kitchen and the patience of a saint, pop the finished mint brownies into your fridge for about an hour to fully firm up the ganache.
If you choose to let it harden on your countertop then again, please make sure your kitchen is quite cool and lightly cover the pan without touching the ganache topping. Be prepared to leave it for hours and hours – like even overnight. (Did I mention that I impulse bake? And so no patience here!)
Cutting and serving the mint brownies:
After the ganache has set up, carefully cut into 12 pieces. I find using a few plastic knives works best for a smooth cut. If you don’t use plastic, make sure you keep a wet towel handy and keep your knife clean.
Then carefully life the first brownie out of the pan. The first one might be a “sacrifice” and not be so pretty – it will go easier after that:) I like to use a silicone 8×8 pan for this recipe. It really makes it easier to pop out that first brownie!
How to serve these brownies:
Because of the ganache layer, these mint brownies are best served on a plate and eaten with a fork. Yes, I’ve eaten mine in hand before – but if you serve to others, please offer a pate and fork!
I sometimes even cut these brownies in half to plate and serve. They are quite rich and a little goes a long way. You could also pair with a scoop of your favorite vegan ice cream. In that case, you do want your brownie pieces smaller. Don’t attempt to cut them in half while in the pan and then take them out in one piece. It’s better to take out the larger piece and then carefully cut.
And now for the recipe!
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Chocolate Mint Brownies (Vegan)
- 8x8 pan
- 3/4 cup oat milk or plant milk of choice
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup oil see notes
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ cups granulated (white) sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
MInty Buttercream Layer
- 1/2 cup vegan butter stick I use country crock plant butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
- 2 Tablespoons plant milk I used oat milk
- 4-5 drops green food coloring to desired color
- 3/4 cup coconut cream see notes
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips vegan
- Preheat oven to 350° Prepare 8x8 baking pan by spritzing with cooking spray or oiling.
The Wet Ingredients
- Add vinegar to plant milk and let sit for about five minutes or until it starts to sour. It will begin to coagulate a little. Add in vanilla and set aside.
- If using coconut oil, melt and set aside. If using other oil, measure out and set aside.
The Dry Ingredients
- Add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cornstarch to a medium/large sized mixing bowl.
- Stir well so that all cocoa powder is broken up. Sift if necessary. I used a fine mesh strainer to sift. (See post above for photos and instructions.)
- Add soured milk mixture and oil to dry ingredients all at once. Mix by hand until all dry ingredients have been moistened. Do not overmix.
- Turn out into prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Set 8x8 pan on a larger baking sheet and put in oven. Bake for 27-32 minutes. My oven cooks this brownie recipe perfectly at 30 minutes.
- You will know the brownies are done when they are slightly firm to the touch in the middle. Do not overcook or they will be hard. They are undercooked if they are jiggly in the middle.
- Allow to thoroughly cool in pan on rack before frosting.
The Minty Buttercream Frosting
- While the brownies are baking and cooling, set the vegan butter on the counter to come to room temperature.
- Add the room temperature vegan butter, powdered sugar, mint extract and plant milk to a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the drops of green food coloring and mix to see the color it turns. I use 4-5 drops.
- When brownies have totally cooled, frost the tops with the minty buttercream. Allow to set and somewhat harden for about 30 minutes while you are finishing the chocolate ganache.
- To get the coconut cream, freeze a can of full-fat coconut milk. You can do this right before you start making the brownies. It will be hardened enough when you are ready to make the ganache.
- Open the can and carefully scoop out 3/4 of the hardened coconut cream. You will use almost all of it. Be careful to not use any of the coconut liquid - only the cream.
- Measure out the chocolate chips into a small/med sized bowl.
- Heat the coconut cream in the microwave for about 1 minute. It should be melted and hot to the touch. If it is not hot enough, continue microwaving for 30 seconds.
- Pour melted coconut cream over the chocolate chips and stir until smooth and chocolaty.
- Let cool on the counter for about 30 minutes. You can place in the fridge to help if necessary - but check it often. so that it doesn't get too hard. You need to be able to easily pour the ganache.
- Pour the cooled (but still liquidy) ganache over the top of the minty buttercream frosted brownies. Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set and harden.
- Use a light-flavored oil such as canola oil or (refined) melted coconut oil.
- 1/2 cup is one stick of vegan butter. My vegan butter of choice is Country Crock Plant Butter. Use a stick butter only for the mint buttercream - not tub butter.
- To get coconut cream, use a full-fat can of coconut milk (not the lite coconut milk, nor the carton of coconut milk). Refrigerate for a few hours or freeze for 30 minutes. Open the can and remove the solid white cream layer.