These adorable little Christmas tree brownie bites are made with a brownie mix and topped with homemade vanilla buttercream. Easy, fun, and perfect for parties!
Why you’ll love it: They are pretty darn cute and taste as great as they look.
How long it takes: about an hour and 15 minutes, including cooling time
Equipment you’ll need: mini muffin pans, pastry piping bag with star tip
Servings: 36 brownie bites
Aren’t these mini Christmas trees adorable? I just love them. They look so cute on a Christmas platter: a miniature forest of baby Christmas trees, each one in its own chocolate brown pot, decorated with tiny colored lights and a bright golden star. Very festive and pretty!
I hear some of you saying, But are they any good to eat? Do they taste as good as they look? Or are they just decorative like a gingerbread house? No knocks against gingerbread houses but really, you use all that good gingerbread and candy and then pretty much make it inedible. Does anyone really eat gingerbread houses? Maybe your dog, if you don’t put your creation out of reach.
Good news about these confections – not only are they edible, they are delicious! A moist and chewy brownie cup filled with luscious buttercream frosting is not just for decoration, let me tell you. Your Christmas tree forest will disappear in a hurry or shall I say, a flurry!
Boy, I hope Santa doesn’t punish me for the bad puns. Maybe I can appease him with a plate of these Christmas tree brownie bites. Ho, ho, ho!
About this Recipe
Brownie bites are really popular and with good reason. They are easy to make because they start with a brownie mix. They’re the perfect snack: just a couple of bites, easy to pop into your mouth, and great for lunchbox treats.
Christmas tree brownie bites are a bit fancier with a tower of buttercream frosting all decorated for Christmas. However, this recipe is easy to adapt if you’re thinking of a different holiday or you just want an everyday snack. The brownie bites are good unfilled too, or you can put just a dab of frosting in the center of each one (and maybe some colored sprinkles, too!).
I’ll get you started here with lots of extra tips. If you prefer, the printable recipe card can be found near the bottom of the post with complete instructions and nutrition information.
What you’ll need
- Brownie Mix: Use your favorite box brownie mix, just the plain variety. You don’t want a mix with any extras like caramel or chocolate chunks. The yield will depend somewhat on which brand you use. If you prefer, use your own homemade brownie recipe.
- Eggs, Oil, Water: The brownie box directions will tell you how much you need.
- Butter: You’ll want unsalted butter, at room temperature. It’s for the buttercream frosting.
- Powdered Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar): Also for the buttercream frosting.
- Heavy Cream: You won’t need much but beating heavy cream into buttercream frosting makes it light and fluffy, almost like whipped cream but with much more substance.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: For vanilla flavored frosting!
- Green Food Coloring, Holiday Sprinkles: The coloring and sprinkles are what you need to make adorable little Christmas trees. Decorate your trees just the way you like!
How to make Brownie Bites
The first step is making the base of the trees. It’s basically individual brownies in muffin pans. They’re very easy to make. You’ll need a mini muffin tin and a brownie mix. Spray the tin with cooking spray and simply make the brownie batter as directed on the package.
Fill the tins about two thirds full. You should get between 32 and 36 brownie bites. You may have to bake them in batches if you don’t have enough mini muffin tins.
Bake them until the edges are firm but the brownies are still a little soft in the centers. You don’t want to overbake them or they’ll be too hard.
Remove the brownies from the oven and immediately use a measuring teaspoon or something similar to make a round indentation in the middle. Just press it right into the center of each soft brownie to make a small hollow.
Let the brownies cool about ten minutes in the pan and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. Use a table knife or paring knife to nudge them out of the tin if they are sticking a bit.
Next up is the vanilla buttercream frosting. Add the softened butter to a mixing bowl and beat it until it’s smooth and creamy. If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. If you are using a hand mixer, use the beaters.
Add the powdered sugar and cream alternately, a bit at a time. Continue beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and a pinch of salt. If the frosting seems too thick, add more cream. If it’s too thin, add more sugar. Tint it with green food coloring. Beat the frosting well, about two minutes. The heavy cream will add volume and lightness to the frosting.
Now it’s time to trim the Christmas trees. Cue up your favorite Christmas tunes! Put the frosting into a pastry bag with a large star tip and start filling the brownie cups, twisting back and forth to get a Christmas tree look.
Immediately decorate each tree as you frost it. The frosting hardens pretty quickly and if you wait until all the trees are filled, the first ones will be impossible to decorate. The sprinkles will bounce right off and you’ll be feeling like the Grinch.
That’s all there is to it! Aren’t they pretty? And they taste as good as they look! They look really cute on platter along with these adorable snowman Oreo pops.
Yes, they are the same exact thing.
Well, I thought hard about this question, did a little research, and came to the conclusion that there really isn’t a good substitute for a mini muffin pan.
If you bake a lot, you’ll find a lot of uses for your mini muffin pan. Any muffin or cupcake recipe can be baked in it and who doesn’t love little muffin bites or baby cupcakes?! You can also use your mini muffin pan to make pecan tassies or bite-sized quiches.
I’m not sure about just water but those of you who prefer not to use eggs and oil in their brownie mix can add soda (any flavor) to the mix and bake as directed. Substitute soda for the total amount of liquid called for, figuring 1/4 cup for each egg and equal amounts for the oil and water. The brownies will turn out more cake-like and crumbly.
NOTE: I haven’t tested this method and I wouldn’t try it for brownie bites, because they would be too crumbly.
Make It Your Own
Brownie bites don’t have to be reserved for Christmas. There is a wide array of food coloring and sprinkles available. Customize your brownie bites to fit the occasion.
- Fill the brownie bites with a smaller amount of frosting, if you like. They don’t have to be Christmas trees. Or enjoy them unfilled.
- Tint the frosting a different color and use coordinating sprinkles. For example, tint the frosting pink and top with red and white sprinkles for Valentine’s Day. Tint the frosting green and top with green and white sprinkles for St. Patrick’s Day. The frosting could be tinted orange and topped with chocolate or black sprinkles for Halloween. Make game day brownie bites to match your school’s colors. The possibilities are endless!
- Need something a little faster? These Easy Christmas Tree Rice Krispie Treats are a cinch to make! Rolo pretzels, with only three ingredients, may be even easier, and they are really super good (just Rolo candies, pretzels, and either pecan halves or M&Ms).
Make Ahead Ideas
The brownie bites can be made a day or two ahead and stored in an airtight container. It won’t take long at all to whip the frosting and fill them later.
Store the Christmas tree brownie bites in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to five days. If your kitchen is pretty warm, store in the refrigerator.
- 1 box brownie mix
- 2 large eggs (follow package instructions)
- 1/2 cup oil (follow package instructions)
- 3 tablespoons water (follow package instructions)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar (more if needed)
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream (more if needed)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Green food coloring
- Holiday sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease mini muffin pan well with nonstick spray; set aside.
- Prepare the brownie mix according to the box directions and fill each cavity about ⅔ full with brownie batter.
- Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes until the edges are firm but the center is still slightly soft (but not gooey).
- Remove from the oven and use the back of a round measuring teaspoon to indent the center of each of the brownie cups. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Use a paring knife or table knife to help pop them out of the pan and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting (about 30 minutes).
- While they are cooling, cream the butter on low speed with a paddle attachment until pale and creamy.
- Slowly add in 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons heavy cream a little at a time, alternating between each, while mixing on low over the course of about 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add more powdered sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add more cream.
- Add vanilla, salt, and food coloring and whip on high speed for 2 minutes.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the frosting. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled brownie bites, twisting back and forth slightly to make a Christmas tree shape.
- Top with sprinkles and star immediately before frosting sets. You will want to add sprinkles as you finish filling each bite since the frosting will start to set and make it hard for the sprinkles to stick.
- I use Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Mix which is 18 ounces and makes about 36 bites. Any mix works but might make a little more or less.
- Follow the package directions when making the brownies. Your package may call for a different amount of eggs, oil, and water.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- An electric hand mixer may be used to make the frosting instead of a stand mixer.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.