Biscuit Based Brownies with Marzipan and Cranberries

What a brilliant idea – brownies with a biscuit base. Big, bold, and beautiful, these chunky treats certainly pack a punch. They have a great flavour combination -Marzipan and Cranberries – so especially good at Christmas time.

Makes: 16 chunky pieces

Time: 25 minutes preparation. Around 50 minutes baking. Cooling time then time to decorate as or if desired.

Level: Fairly easy

Use: A 20cm (8”) square tin, ideally non-stick. (Could be loose-bottomed, but not essential)



  • 200g/7oz digestive biscuits (or other biscuits of your choice)
  • 75g/2.5oz melted butter
  • 25ml/1fl oz golden syrup


  • 175g/6oz unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for the tin
  • 175g/6oz dark chocolate, chopped or use chips
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g/7oz light brown sugar
  • 75g/2.5oz plain flour
  • 40g/1.25oz cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp milk (if required)
  • 50g/1.75oz Marzipan* + about 20g/0.75oz reserved to decorate
  • 50g/1.75oz Dried cranberries + about 20g/0.75oz reserved to decorate
  • 100g/3.5oz Milk or dark chocolate, roughly cut into chunks.

*Making your own marzipan is very quick and easy. See my Christmas Scone recipe if you want to know how:

To decorate:

  • 75g/2.5oz dark or milk chocolate
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • The reserved marzipan and cranberries


1. Butter the tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.

2. Make the base by whizzing or bashing the biscuits into crumbs and mixing with the melted butter.

3. Press the mixture firmly into the tin* and place in the fridge while you make the brownie mixture. (*A plastic dough scraper works well here.)

4. Heat oven to 180C / Fan 160C / 350F / gas 4.

5. Melt together the butter and chocolate, either in a bain marie or use short bursts in a microwave, stirring regularly. Leave to cool a little.

6. Beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar together until thick enough to leave a trail. Gently fold in the cooled melted chocolate, followed by the flour, cocoa and salt.

7. Break off small pieces of marzipan, roll into balls and fold these into the mixture with the cranberries and milk chocolate chunks. If the mixture is thick and stodgy, stir in the milk to loosen it.

8. Pour the brownie batter into the tin, then tap the tin firmly a couple of times on the work surface to settle the mixture.  Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 45-55* mins. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes, then turn it out. At this stage you could just cut it and it will be finished, or you could decorate as shown next.

*Towards the end, keep checking with a skewer. Personally, for these I’m happy with quite solid brownies rather than over-squidgy ones.

9. Melt the chocolate and butter then pour and brush it over the brownie slab. Add the reserved marzipan and cranberries, either randomly or so that when cut every piece will have a similar amount.  

10. A sharp serrated knife is ideal for cutting the slab into brownies. 4 x 4 gives you 16 chunky brownies, or 3 x 5 gives 15 slightly bigger ones. Even the 20 you get when cutting 4 x 5 yields brownies of a reasonable size. Your choice.

I hope you make these brilliant brownies. Christmas will be here soon, so make them as an early Yuletide treat.

I’d love to hear from you if you do make them, so please get in touch via the contact page. Or click here to go to my home page.

Finally, here are three more of my Christmas favourites that I’d love you to try:

Mincemeat Marmalade Cake

Chocolate Wreath

Christmas Pudding Baked Cheesecake

Happy Baking and Happy Christmas