santa hat brownies

Santa Hat Brownies | daisysworld.netAren’t these Santa Hat Brownies just so cute?  Thanks to Erica’s Sweet Tooth for the inspiration.  I was looking for a fun and simple holiday treat and I ran across a recipe on her website. They’re so good and easy to make, especially since I bought Trader Joe’s Ready to Bake brownie mix (just pour the ready-made brownie batter in an 8-X 8-inch pan and bake for 22-25 minutes). You can use ready-made brownie bites or bake a pan of your favorite brownies. I whipped up some vanilla-mascarpone buttercream to simulate the white trim on the hats.  Voila!  A festive dessert to get everyone into the spirit of the holidays.  It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!


Update: November 17, 2013

This year, I plan to bake these Santa Hat Brownies and other holiday treats to give as gifts to friends and co-workers.  Since I will be making homemade gifts, I thought it would be a great idea to make the gift tags too.  I want to make recipe cards so I can easily share the recipe and it could double as the gift tag as well.  The card below is the one I designed for the Santa Hat Brownies using Picmonkey, an online photo editing tool.  Pretty neat, huh?  I love Picmonkey and already use it to add text and overlays to the photos on this blog.  For my recipe cards/gift tags, I am going to print the photo of the food on one side and the recipe on the other.  This is going to be a real fun project!

Santa Hat Brownies recipe card |

Note: I have been paying for Picmonkey’s monthly Royale Plan for the past year.  Picmonkey provided me with a free month’s membership ($4.99 value) to use them to make these recipe cards. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own. (Product Review Disclaimer).

Santa Hat Brownies
Yields 12-16 brownies

1 pan of your favorite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (I used a round cutter)
12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled
vanilla-mascarpone buttercream (recipe below)

Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and salt.  Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth.  Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.

To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie.  Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place.  Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the santa hat.

Adapted from this recipe found on Erica’s Sweet Tooth

© Daisy’s World, 2011-2012. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

489 thoughts on “santa hat brownies

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  113. I literally make these for every party I go to and people love them!!! My recipe is a tad different, but the “experience” is just as yummy. People request it now, lol. I make it year round and ad the “ball on the hat” during Christmas.

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  120. I just made these for a cookie party- they were a HIT!!! The size and strawberries make them taste so light compared to most holiday desserts and they are so adorable, thank you for combining creativity and incredible taste!!! Merry Christmas!!

    • Hi there! I want to make the buttercream today. I will be putting it together tomorrow. It would be okay to refrigerate the buttercream frosting right?

      • Hi Daniela! Yes, definitely put the buttercream in the fridge. That’s what I do and assembly is easy when everything has been prepped ahead. Merry Christmas!


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    • i am wondering the same thing!! Can’t wait to make them for a party tomorrow. Please let us know if they can be refrigerated overnight or if it’s better to make them early a.m.!

      • I always make them as close to serving time as possible. I don’t like refrigerated brownies and piping the buttercream too early makes them droopy and sometimes, it gets “weepy” and separates.


    • Sharon,

      I have never assembled these ahead of time because I don’t like refrigerating the brownies. I have made the components ahead of time – baked the brownies, cut them, washed and hulled the strawberries, and made the buttercream, but I always assemble close to service time. That way, they look their best.


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  141. This are the cutest! I’m planning to make them for a holiday party this weekend. One question: could you please let me know what size round cutter you used? I’d like mine to look as cute as yours. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Hi Karen! I think I used 2-inch cutters. I don’t have those cutters anymore, but I’m pretty sure they’re 2 inches. I bought my strawberries and tried to use all the same sized ones for the photo. I used the size of the strawberries to gauge what size the brownies were going to be. I hope that helps.


      • Thank you for giving us your tips, it’s really nice from you & it’s going to help us make a wonderful cooking on Christmas;-) Thank you so much;-) your Santa Brownies are the best!!!;-) 😉 😉 Thanks Daisy;-) I’m Véronique from Paris, France;-)I’m a fan of your cooking;-)

  142. Hi Daisy, as soon as I saw these adorable morsels I had to go to the shops to buy the ingredients. Just a question, I allowed the butter and mascarpone to come down to room temperature but found that after making the marscarpone buttercream, it looked curdled. Have I overbeaten it? I use a KitchenAid mixer and will be giving them another go soon. Many thanks, a fan from Sydney, Australia 🙂

    • Hi, Caroline! Thanks for visiting my blog. I have had mascarpone buttercream curdle one time on me, too. I did the exact same steps as I had done three times before, and it curdled. I might have left the butter and mascarpone out too long and they were too soft and perhaps beaten them too long. In my case, I was just making it for me, and it still tasted ok so I left it. I was reading later than perhaps dipping the bowl with the buttercream in hot water and then beating again might revive it. I wish I read that when I had the curdled buttercream so I could have tried it.

      Good luck on your next attempt.


      • That’s great advice, thanks Daisy. Come to think of it, the butter and mascarpone were left out for a few hours and it was a hot day here in Sydney. My husband still ate them all and thought they tasted great. The next batch will be awesome. Thanks for your time 🙂

  143. Hi Daisy! can you put the recipe of the brownies? I’m sorry i don’t speak english very well… I live in south america.
    I love your blog it’s fantastic!

    • Thanks for visiting my blog, Valentina. I just used a brownie mix for this particular recipe. I have 2 brownie recipes on the blog. Just type in “brownies” in the Search box and they recipes should come up.


  144. I’m planning to cheat … Bought Cream Cheese frosting and Bakers Icing in the tube for cotton Ball dollup! Found adorable red on white and white on red polka dot mini cupcake papers at Micheal’s I’m using too!

    • Debbie, your shortcuts sound good as well! I’m sure they’ll be adorable with the red polka dot liners. I am such a proponent of customizing food to individual tastes. We also have to customize based on the time we have to complete the baking project, the number we need to make, and the money we want to spend. These brownies are so perfect for that since we can all make it to our own taste.

      Good luck with your baking this season!


  145. Question … I put brownie mix into mini cups pan .. how long do i bake mini cupcakes? The full 25 minutes like a pan of brownies? Seems like that may be too long …since they are smaller individually…HELP! Christmas Cookie Swap is tomorrow and I’m making 7 dozen of them today…

    • Hi, Debbie! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment. I would start by baking the brownies for 10 minutes and see if they are cooked through by inserting a toothpick in the center and checking to see if it comes out clean. Without knowing your batter and the size of your cupcake liners, etc. I can only give you a little helpful hint.


  146. today I made these. Let me give you some tips from my personal experience. Melt a little of the chips at a time, preventing hardening. Make a rim of white chocolate around the brownie edge BEFORE putting on the strawberry. It does take practice, I will tell you that straight up front. They did come out, just some were pretty messy.

    • Hi, readers and Santa Hat Brownie fans! Paula has given us helpful tips for working with white chocolate. I am not that patient so the recipe I provided here uses buttercream since I found it was easier to pipe and holds its shape without drooping. White chocolate is a delicious alternative for those of you who do not want to fuss with making the mascarpone buttercream.

      Thanks for the tips, Paula!


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  151. Hi there daisy,

    I am majoring in design at Syracuse University. I am to make a baking magazine for the holidays. I am looking for permission to possibly use your image as the cover. Is there a different way I can get into contact with you? Thanks.

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    • BakeryMommy, thanks for visiting my blog! I don’t recall any of the strawberry juice leaking. I washed and hulled the strawberries and dried them. Once I placed on them on top of the brownies, they were fine and didn’t leak.


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  154. These are cutest things ever! Any suggestions on how to transport them to a Christmas party?? It seems the frosting would mess up if they rubbed together during the car ride.

    • Hi, Sandy! Thanks for visiting my blog. I haven’t transported these by car. I’ve usually made them at home to serve to my guests. Is it a possibility to assemble them once you get to your party? You can put the buttercream in a piping bag with a tip covered in plastic. If you wash, hull, and trim the bottom of the strawberries, you can quickly put them on top of the brownies and quickly add the buttercream “fur” around the strawberry “hat.” The buttercream is pretty stiff and if you’re strawberries are not too big, maybe they’ll stay on. Good luck!


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    • Andy, I had some leftover chocolate ganache that I wanted to use up. Didn’t really add anything more to the brownies as it was very chocolatey already do I left it out of the recipe. By all means, add more chocolate!!


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  159. I made these last year when we had family in town. I put them on a lovely cake stand and they were such a hit with both adults and the kids. Very easy and VERY yummy!

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  175. Experimented with these little gems on co-workers, they loved them. Then made them for a dinner party of 20+….huge success. Guests help assemble at the last minute and they were gone lickity split. Used small prebaked circular brownies you can by in most groceryt stores. Will definitely keep this in my recipe box. Thank you so much.

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  190. would you say a standing mixer is neccesary? my friend has borrowed mine….and im stuck inside due to blizzard conditions. can I use my hand mixer?

    • Yes I think a hand mixer would work for the buttercream. You just really need to cream the butter and sugar and then mix the mascarpone in well. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. If you read the comments, someone actually suggested that a hand mixer works better. I don’t own one so I have never used it to make buttercream.


      • Your reply here about the buttercream is different than your original recipe?! You say to “cream the butter and sugar” and “mix in” the mascarpone. I made the frosting two times and both times I followed the recipe instructions to “beat the butter and mascarpone cheese” and “add” the sugar. Both times the mixture curdled before i could add the sugar? I had the ingredients at room temp as indicated, mixed less than the two minutes indicated, and it didn’t cream! I ended substituting a frosting, the brownies were still a hit, but I wanted the buttercream flavor! AND, I spend all those extra dollars for the mascarpone cheese for nothing!! What did I do wrong?

        • I’ve done this recipe both ways and it’s worked out for me. The last time I did this, however, the butter and mascarpone “broke” and was grainy. I went ahead and made the buttercream. It still tasted ok but was not smooth at all and it was very grainy. I put it in the fridge and the next day I put it back in the stand mixer and processed it for a couple of minutes and added a bit more sugar and it smoothed it out. I’m not sure about food science and how ingredients all work, so I can’t explain why it curdles and separates.

          Also, if you look closely at the photo, the mascarpone buttercream is not completely smooth. It’s my experience that it’s how it is with mascarpone.

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  197. I made these for my son’s teacher holiday lunch at his school today. They were a HUGE hit! I would recommend using clear vanilla so that the frosting stays a more pure white. I also would recommend using a hand mixer vs. a big electric mixer, i think you will get better results. I used two boxes of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix and still had extra frosting left. If the brownies are difficult to cut out, throw them in the fridge for a while.

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  215. these are soo cute but i can’t find any fresh strawberrys anywhere this time of the year and i dont think frozen ones will look good when they thaw 😦

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  220. Pingback: Santa Hat Brownies — Moms Need To Know ™

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  226. I made these for my office luncheon today. They were a hit! I was stopped before I even got to the dessert table. My mascarpone icing was a little soft (and I used a whole box of confectioners sugar), but I put them in the refrigerator over night and the icing stayed on them thru the lunch at least. Thank you so much for the idea!

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  228. LOVE these….I made them last night for my work’s “cookie exchange” – I felt the need to change it up with brownies instead!! I didn’t do your frosting…just used plain vanilla store-bought frosting instead, still super yum! Blog post to come!

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  240. I’m not able to get the Mascarpone Cheese. Can I just make a thicker butter cream frosting than normal and leave out cheese altogether, or do you think I should follow one of the Mascarpone Cheese Substitute recipes I’ve found and add it to the frosting?

    • Ellen, the beauty of this recipe is that it is so simple and adaptable to your taste preferences and what ingredients you have on hand. By all means you can omit the mascarpone or use the mascarpone cheese substitute. Or you can make your favorite frosting, as long as it’s white to resemble the Santa hat trim. I’ve also seen this recipe written using white chocolate and also with whipped cream. It’s up to you and what you think sounds good. I happen to like mascarpone cheese and it’s readily available where I live so I use it quite a bit. I hope this helps…daisy

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  243. Have just finished icing and putting the strawberries on! Thanks for this they look divine and will be taken to work with extreme care. Can anyone help me what I can do with the left over icing as made way too much. How long will it keep in the fridge in an airtight container?

  244. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks! 156697

    • When you originally posted your comment and subscribed to the email notification, you had to confirm your email address. On that email, there was a link to manage subscriptions. Click that link and there is an option to unsubscribe.

      I just Googled it and I found that answer so please try it. I can’t unsubscribe you myself, at least I haven’t found a way to do it.

  245. Yum, have made the brownies. Used a Donna Hay recipe. Just going to make the buttercream tomorrow night as have morning tea on Tuesday! Thanks for the great idea ; )

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  250. Just made these for a cookie exchange. Pretty easy and cute! Hardest part for me was squeezing the frosting out of the pastry bag. I got the hang of it, though.

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  252. These are crazy cute! but not too cute that I wouldn`t gobble them up!!

    Thanks for the great idea.

    I`m thinking if someone is in a super rush then
    they can just buy a bag of two bite brownies, some strawberries and a jar
    of frosting and it would be super quick, but definitely only half as tasty.


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  256. Cause i cant eat cheese, iam gonna change the receip, chantilly cream instead of cheese, it’ ll be so sweet, to do and to eat.
    Greetings from Chile


    pdt : Forgive my english if it is not so good.

  257. I made these brownie Santa’s with the mascapone Buttercream and they were terrible! The frosting was way too sweet and runny! I wished I used whip cream from a can! It was very disappointing. I made these for my daughter to take to school for her birthday.

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  261. How clever! 🙂 Your strawberry Santa hats seem to be making Christmas sweeter for so many people this year, I hope *you* have happy holidays too. 🙂

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  272. Aah, so cute 😀 I really wanna make this :< But I cant really find the measurements on google for grams and such, seeing im Dutch and we dont work with cups here :'(. Do you have any idea? 😀


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  279. These will be awesome at my Ugly Sweater party. They will be so festive, especially paired with the Dirty Girl Scouts (Peppermint Schnapps and Hot Chocolate… with a Candy Cane for Garnish)!! Thanks for the idea.

  280. Pingback: Holiday Gift Ideas: Santa Hat Brownies « What's 4 Dinner Solutions

  281. Hi Daisy! I just found your site via Neatorama, and I just love your blog! And those adorable little santa hats! I am absolutely going to make these for our Christmas party this year! Where do you find the mascarpone cheese? I have never found any at our store before….

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  285. oh so cuteee… easy to make these….I will make them for Christmas… thank you for sharing… Merry Christmas to everyone and enjoy…Rebecca Forinash

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  292. I’m halfway through making these and want to know, if I make these and construct them tonight, will they hold in the fridge in airtight container till the morning?

    Btw love the idea, just gorgeous

  293. hi!

    i’m from south africa and just love this! thanks for the awsum recipe!!!! just a quick question… what is powdered sugar? just normal sugar?

    thanks! looking forward to making these!

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  296. I just made them for my get-together tonight! They look great! I didn’t have a round cookie-cutter so I used a tomato paste can. Worked out nicely. Thank you for the wonderful idea! My kids have been eyeing them since they got home from school 🙂

    • Strawberries in abundance down here in the Southern Hemisphere 🙂
      You get to enjoy a white Christmas though, something I’ve never experienced. Have a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

      • You know, I thought I’d cheat and buy a Sara Lee uniced chocolate cake as I have so many people to “feed”. If I can find a slab cake that is!

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    • Emely

      Mascarpone is carried by most major grocery stores, it just not something you normally look for. If not try an Italian specialty store, its sold by the tub, kind of about the size of the philly whipped cream cheese, and usually about $4-5 a tub. If you can’t find it regular cream cheese wild do.

      Cheers Dennis

      • Emely, You’ll find it in the fridge section, probably near the cream, cream cheese and cottage cheese sections.
        Also, give it a really good beating (ha!) because some Mascapones can be a bit on the grainy side.

    • Sarah,

      Honestly, I don’t know. I had them out for about 30 minutes, and they were all gone! They didn’t last very long. You can also substitute the mascarpone buttercream with white chocolate, if you’ll be leaving them out for a while.


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  300. More than a treat to the palate…they are a feast for the eyes too. They make the Christmas celebration extra special. You are totally creative! I love your idea.=)

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  303. Thanks for all the Santa Hat Brownie love. Although I can’t take credit for coming up with the idea, I think these are absolutely fab! They were sooo good and a big hit!!

  304. Aw, these are way too cute! I love how festive occasions (I say “festive occasions” because Halloween, Valentines, St. Pat’s aren’t actually holidays) inspire people to do fun things with their food!

    Normally I’m a bit of a “bah, humbug!” kind of person, but I think my little cousins would flip out if I brought some of these to Christmas dinner. 🙂


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