Peppermint Bark done differently without white chocolate or candy canes. It’s the perfect last minute holiday treat or gift (made a little healthier!)
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In true almost Christmas fashion, I am writing this post very last minute. I also went to the post office earlier today and stood in a long line with all the other holiday procrastinators, so last minute is just my MO right now. Isn’t that what what the middle of the month of December is supposed to be – a hurry scurry to get done all the things you put off at the beginning of the month when the 25th felt so casually far away.
I will never agree that the holidays are more stress than joy. I love the twinkly lights and positive energy that comes with this time of year. I love being able to ask anyone you meet what they are doing for the holidays and get a tiny glimpse into their traditions. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling at least a little overwhelmed right now with just 5 days to go. Excited too though! For a break from the usual and especially for seeing family. I love living further away from family now becuase it makes going home that much sweeter.
There are so many more holiday recipes I wanted to share this year but just couldn’t squeeze in. Instead of lamenting the ones that didn’t happen, let’s celebrate the delicious ones that did:
- Hot chocolate you can’t drink…fortunately
- The perfect frosting/sprinkle canvas of a cookie
- Sorry cinnamon rolls, this is Christmas morning done right
- A cookie for the coconut flour fans
- A cookie for the cutest cookie fans (my personal favorite!)
- Gingerbread without a face
- Or in case you are all cookie-d out…fudge
And you better believe my list for next year is already quite lengthy. And titled very explicitly Christmas Recipes 2018 so hopefully I can actually find it on my hard drive 11 months from now.
Now for the last Christmas recipe of this year: PEPPERMINT BARK. Because its a classic. And easy. Minimal effort = last minute perfect.
My intention with this recipe was to create a still minty, still snappy, still festive peppermint bark without candy canes or white chocolate. Without any of the stuff that makes vegan homemade peppermint bark tricky. There are brands of vegan candy canes and vegan white chocolate, but neither is easy to find and you’ve got better last minute things to be doing.
Can I just say…HOLY CANDY CANE! Did this stuff ever turn out amazing. Minus the fact that you won’t get tiny hunks of hard sticky candy caught in your teeth, it’s so so reminiscent of the original.
So here’s what’s happening…
Dark chocolate. I like bittersweet or at least 60% cacao because it contrasts really well with the sweet mint. My go-to chips are these dark chocolate ones because the ingredient list is super simple. If you wanted to make this bark truly refined sugar free then you could make your own homemade chocolate with maple syrup, cacao powder, and coconut oil like this.
Coconut butter. Okay not the easiest to find ingredient in the world, but MUCH easier to find than vegan white chocolate. I chose not to sweeten this layer for a couple of reasons: 1) the bark is sweet enough with the natural sweetness of coconut butter plus the sugar in the dark chocolate 2) adding a liquid sweetener can cause coconut butter to seize up and we want it creamy and smoooooooth.
This layer is where the peppermint happens in the form of two teaspoons of peppermint extract. You could bump it up to 3 if you are really serious.
Red sprinkles. This small but essential detail was the trickiest part. Natural red that isn’t actually pink? I can tell you many things that DON’T work (ahem cranberries, pomegranates, and cherries) But beets finally pulled through for me. Why didn’t I start there?
These sprinkles are made of shredded coconut tossed in the beautiful beet juice and then toasted until dry and crisp. I used one third cup coconut shreds to about four tablespoons beet juice and that was a bright not-pink shade of red.
P.S. There was no peeling and cooking of beets in my kitchen – Trader Joe’s > produce section > steamed baby beets > winning.
And then it’s just a simple matter of melting, layering, chilling, and cracking into deliciously imperfect pieces.
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For gifting or sharing or fueling your own personal, pre-holiday, why-did-I-procrasinate? adventures – happy Peppermint Bark making to you!
Peppermint Bark done differently without white chocolate or candy canes. It's the perfect last minute holiday treat or gift (made a little healthier!)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Finally chop (using a knife or blender) the beets. Use a nut milk bag to squeeze out as much juice as possible.
In a mixing bowl, combine the shredded coconut with 3-4 tbsp beet juice until you have a bright red color.
Spread out the coconut on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Toast the coconut for approximately 10 minutes at 350F stopping to stir halfway through so the outer pieces don't burn. It should be lightly brown around the edges and dry to the touch.
Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Melt the chocolate chips.
Spread the chocolate into a rectangle on a lined baking sheet. Be careful not too spread it too thin.
Place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. Don't chill for too long or the coconut butter layer will not "stick".
In a bowl, stir together the melted coconut butter and the peppermint extract.
Spread the coconut butter on top of the chilled chocolate.
Top with the red coconut sprinkles.
Place in the fridge or freezer until firm.
Break apart into pieces and enjoy! Keep in the fridge.
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