Delightful Santa Hats made with brownie mini-muffins and strawberries are sure to delight young and old. This festive dessert is fun to make and impressive to serve. The brownie mini-muffins can be made ahead of time and topped with the strawberries and frosting right before serving. This way, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating the holiday season with family and friends.
The brownie mini-muffins can be made with a store-bought mix or your own special recipe.
Slice off the stem end of fresh strawberries ahead of time and let them sit on paper towels that will absorb excessive moisture.
Use the awesome cream cheese frosting described below or store-bought frosting to decorate Santa’s hat.
They are absolutely delicious and the perfect dessert for the festive season especially because they look like Santa’s Hats.
Imagine how impressed your family and friends will be with these little treats that take no longer than 15 minutes to make to put together!
Ingredients for Santa Hats
You’ll only need a few simple and easy ingredients to make these adorable desserts;
- Brownie Mix – I like Ghiradelli Triple Fudge Brownie Mix made according to the package directions, but you can use whatever brownie mix you want.
- Fresh Strawberries – Look for bright red strawberries that are about 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- Frosting – I like to make my own cream cheese frosting with confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, heavy cream and a little bit of salt. However, you can make your own frosting or use store-bought frosting.
Making the Brownie Mini-Muffins – Step by Step
You want to make sure that your brownie mini-muffins easily come out of the pan. So as a first step, spray the mini-muffin pan well with non-stick spray. I like to use something similar to Baker’s Joy that I got at Williams Sonoma. Stuff just pops out of the pan!
I made the brownie batter according to the directions on the back of the package.
First, I mixed together an egg, water and vegetable oil (Photo 1). Then, I added the brownie and the fudge mix to the egg mixture (Photo 2). Next, I stirred all of the ingredients together using a wooden spoon (Photo 3). Finally, I used an ice cream scoop to fill the cups of the mini-muffin pan with the brownie batter (Photo 4).
I popped the brownie mini-muffins into a preheated 325°F oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the brownies were perfectly cooked. I removed them from the oven and allowed the brownies to cool for 5 minutes before taking them out of the pan.
I placed the brownies on a wire rack to cool completely. While they were still warm, however, I pressed the top down. The reason for doing this was that I wanted the top to be as flat as possible to hold the strawberry.
Once the brownies were completely cooled, I placed them in an air-tight container until I was ready to use them.
Preparing the Strawberries
About an hour before I wanted to put the Santa Hats together, I removed the strawberries from the refrigerator. I wanted them to be at room temperature when I placed them on the brownie.
I washed and dried the strawberries.
Then, I sliced off the stem end of the strawberries (Photo 5). This formed the bottom of the hat. Next, I placed the strawberries, but cut-side down on paper towels (Photo 6). The reason for doing this was to draw out excess moisture.
Preparing the Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cream cheese frosting, I started by beating together the cream cheese, cream and salt (Photo 7). Then, I added the confectioners’ sugar, a cup at a time and beat the mixture until it was smooth and creamy (Photo 8).
I knew that I was going to pipe the frosting, so I made sure that it was at the proper piping consistency – not too thick and not too thin.
Putting the Santa Hats Together
I started by placing the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a #21 star tip. Then, I piped a bit of frosting into the center of a brownie (Photo 9). Next, I placed a strawberry, cut-side down onto the top of the brownie (Photo 10).
After that, I piped frosting stars around the base of the strawberry (Photo 11). I finished the Santa Hat by piping a frosting star onto the tip of the strawberry (Photo 12).
What Can Be Done in Advance
One of the positive features of these Santa Hats is that the brownies, strawberries and frosting can be made ahead of time.
The brownies can be made several days in advance. I store the brownies in an air-tight container until I’m ready to use them.
For the strawberries, the main prep is slicing off the stem end. I usually do this about an hour before I’m ready to assemble the Santa Hats.
The frosting can be made up to a day in advance and stored in a sealed container. I don’t bother to refrigerate it, but rather let it sit on the counter.
How Long Will They Last
The Santa Hats are best assembled right before they are served. The reason is that any remaining moisture in the strawberries can color the frosting. Also, the strawberries don’t last very long when kept at room temperature.
While your helpers are clearing the table, you can be putting the Santa Hats together!
The Santa Hats
This recipe can make up to 24 Santa Hats. They never cease to bring a smile to the faces of young and old. Santa Hats make a perfect dessert to end your holiday feast. Yum!
Other Christmas Treats
If you’re interested in other amazing Christmas Treats, check out:
- Christmas Surprise Lemon Bundt Cake
- Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- Pecan Praline Morsels
- Toasted Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Chocolate Pecan Toffee Clusters
- Chocolate Christmas Mice
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 18 ounce package Brownie Mix (See Tip 1)
- 24 fresh strawberries
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 Tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature (See Tip 2)
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (See Tip 3)
- ⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 24 cup mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray. (See Tip 4)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, water and vegetable oil. Add contents of brownie mix. Stir with wooden spoon until well mixed.
- Fill cups of mini-muffin pan ¾ full with brownie mixture. (See Tip 5)
- Bake in preheated 325°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove brownies from pan to a wire rack. Press tops with fingers to flatten. Allow brownies to cool completely. (May be made in advance up to this point)
- An hour before assembling the Santa Hats, wash and dry strawberries. Cut stem end to produce flat surface. Place cut side down on paper towels to draw out excess moisture.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat together cream cheese, cream and salt. Add confectioners' sugar a cup at a time. Beat until smooth and creamy. If needed add additional cream to achieve desired piping consistency.
- Transfer cream cheese frosting to piping bag fitted with #21 star tip.
- Pipe a small amount of frosting onto top of brownie. Place strawberry, cut side down on top of brownie. Pipe stars around bottom of strawberry. Pipe a star on tip of strawberry. Repeat with remaining brownies and strawberries.
- Yield: 24 Santa Hats.
Chula's Expert Tips
- I used Ghiradelli Triple Fudge Brownie mix, but you could use whatever brownie mix you like. You could also use home-made brownies.
- I used full fat cream cheese, but reduced fat cream cheese would also work.
- You may need to add a bit more cream to achieve the desired piping consistency. If you do add more, add small amounts. A small amount of cream can make a huge difference in the consistency of the frosting!
- I use a non-stick spray that's similar to Baker's Joy. Just be sure that the cups of the mini-muffin pan are well greased. Otherwise, the brownies will stick.
- I always use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups of the mini-muffin pan. The one that I use doesn't have a number on it, but has a diameter of 1 ½-inches.