Love brownies and blondies? Now you have the best of both worlds, with double decker brownies that also feature chocolatey M&Ms candies woven through the batter! Soft and delicious (no dry brownies here), this dessert is sure to delight.
Double Decker Brownies
I love brownies, but sometimes they seem to come out sort of dry and crumbly. Not so with these soft, double decker M&M brownies! They aren’t overwhelmingly rich either, with a perfect balance of chocolate. The added candies in the top layer make this dessert recipe super fun and delicious!
This double decker M&M brownies recipe features a blondie layer atop a traditional brownie cocoa layer. The top layer has M&M candies stirred in, and is then studded with more of the colorful candy. The combination of moist and flavorful brownies with a crispy crunch of M&M candy is just too good!
Recipe for Double Decker Brownies with M&M Candy
I discovered this recipe back in high school, from a compilation cookbook in my home ec class. Students contributed a favorite family recipe and then sold the cookbooks to earn money for supplies. This double decker brownies recipe was literally the only recipe I ever used from that entire cookbook. As a teenager, these double decker M&M brownies were a weekly treat for me to prepare for my parents. And now, I’m making the recipe for my kids!
My teenage son, noticing the up-tick in dessert baking lately, asked if I’m trying to fatten him up, Hansel & Gretel style. I laughed and just said that with all this time together at home, seems like dessert every night is appropriate! Coming off the holidays, we baked our favorite Tart & Sweet Cranberry Cake quite a bit! Before that, lots of Everything Cookies were made. If we’re honest, nobody is complaining. And based on how quickly these Double Decker Brownies with M&Ms disappeared, looks like I need to order another bag of candy for grocery pick-up!
How to Make Double Decker Brownies Fun for Each Season
I’ve always loved how the M&Ms on top of the brownies can be customized in color to coordinate with holidays or themes. The flavor doesn’t change but the seasonality of using various colors is cute. Dark and light green for St. Patrick’s Day, green and red for Christmas, pastel candies for Easter, etc – you choose the color scheme you want to use! We went with red and pink plain M&Ms for our special Valentine’s Day family love-fest. If you’re looking for additional ways to celebrate this February 14th, see our awesome at-home party ideas for Valentine’s Day at home with kids.
Baking Double Decker Brownies
Making the batter for these double decker brownies with M&M candies is basic and simple enough for beginning cooks. I’ll offer a few baking tips here that will make your brownies come out spectacular!
I use a Pyrex glass baking dish so that when I cut the brownies with a knife I’m not worried about scratching a non-stick surface. Plus the dish has a lid to cover the cookies in between snack sessions. Use a cooking spray like Baker’s Joy to create an non-stick surface inside your 9 x 13″ pan.
Whenever you’re baking, you’ll want to cream the butter extremely well to ensure that the brownies will be fluffy and not dry. Use a stand mixer, like a Kitchenaid, with a paddle attachment. Beat softened butter very well, stopping to scrape down the sides occasionally. The butter should be soft and smooth before you add the sugar.
Add the sugar and continue to cream, beating up to 10 minutes until it’s puffy and light. Add the eggs (room temperature eggs will make your baked goods even more fluffy!) then the vanilla, continuing to beat until well mixed.
Beating the sugars, butter and eggs extremely well is important (and takes longer than you think!) Once you add in the dry goods, you’ll want to mix as little as possible. Notice that the recipe calls for the flour to be divided (a small amount will be mixed into just the blondie layer).
Dividing the Batter
This is when the double decker part comes into play! Divide the dough in half as best as you can, separating one half into a medium sized bowl. To the mixer with half the batter, add the melted butter and sifted cocoa powder. Get a good, high-quality cocoa, you won’t be sorry!
Blend just until combined. It’s important to sift the cocoa to break up any large chunks of cocoa powder. This batter will be extremely thick and difficult to combine. You don’t want to risk over-mixing (and making the batter dry), so only mix until the cocoa and butter are combined.
To the second half of the batter in the separate bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of M&M candies. Carefully stir together with a wooden spoon, just until combined.
Spread the cocoa brownie batter into the prepared baking pan, using a rubber spatula to carefully work the dough up to the edges.
Dollop the M&M blondie batter on top of the brownie batter, taking care not to mix the two batters together. Carefully use a rubber spatula to spread the blondie batter up to the edges, completely covering the brownie batter.
Baking the Brownies
Use 1/2 of the M&Ms to decorate the top of the dough. You can choose to just scatter the candies across the batter or carefully lay them out. I usually space the candies 1/2″ apart in rows to help aid me in cutting the brownies after baking.
Bake until edges begin to pull away from the pan (or by checking with a toothpick inserted into the center). Cool after baking on a rack, then cut into squares. Leftovers (if there are any, ha!) can be stored in a covered container.
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups flour (with additional 1/4 added later)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1 cup M&M candies, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray 9 x 13" baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Add in sugars, creaming well (up to 10 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until just combined.
- Divide the batter in half, moving half of the batter into a medium sized bowl.
- To the mixing bowl with half the batter, add melted butter and sifted cocoa powder. Mix with paddle attachment until completely combined.
- Spread brownie layer into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to carefully smooth the batter fully to all edges. Set aside.
- To the second half of the dough (the "blondie" layer), use a wooden spoon to mix in remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup of M&M candies. Stir just until combined.
- Dollop blondie dough on top of brownie batter. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top layer across, careful not to combine the two layers.
- Spread the remaining candies across the top of the batter.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges begin to pull away from the pan (or check in the center with a toothpick for doneness).
- Cool completely on a baking rack then cut into squares.
- Store leftovers in an air tight container.
Sweets for Your Sweethearts
We’re making these Double Decker Brownies for Valentine’s Day, along with some other sweet desserts! My friend Cam at Big Crazy Life has a bunch more Valentine’s Day Treat Ideas for all-ages.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be an expensive celebration, especially when you make your own loving gifts and crafts in this round-up of 50+ Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Budget.