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Date-Sweetened Peppermint Bark (w/ 'candy cane' topping) (Vegan, Paleo, Nut-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

A Christmas without peppermint bark just doesn't feel like Christmas. Which is why for those of you fellow non-sugar-consuming, gluten-free vegans I've created a recipe for vegan fruit-sweetened peppermint bark, so you don't have to feel left out from all that chocolatey, peppermint-y goodness. Even better? This peppermint bark is paleo and nut-free (but not coconut-free). Plus it has a DIY "candy cane" topping that's free of sweeteners, yet doesn't sacrifice on the crunch, peppermint flavor, or red color characteristic of crushed candy canes. The melt-in-your-mouth consistency of this bark combined with rich white and dark chocolate and peppermint flavors won't disappoint. So light those holiday-scented candles, pour a mug of (vegan) hot chocolate, throw on an ugly sweater, and get ready to do some (easy) holiday baking!



This peppermint bark broken into shards would make the perfect gift for the holidays for your health-conscientious or diet-restricted friend or family member. Just be aware that it needs to be kept refrigerated because it melts very easily at room temperature. It can make a great garnish for cupcakes, brownies, cakes, or cheesecakes.


This recipe is the first in my holiday series of recipes for 2022. Keep posted for the others..


This peppermint bark is 100% vegan, paleo, gluten-free, date-sweetened (w/ whole dates), natural, and nut-free (but it does have coconut). The "candy cane" topping is made by toasting shredded/desiccated coconut till crispy, letting it cool, then mixing it with beet juice (or natural red food dye) and peppermint extract. So you get: crunch + peppermint flavor + red color = the ultimate crushed candy cane dupe.



I'm keeping this post short like usual. Because why wouldn't we want to get to the recipe sooner?


This peppermint bark is soft and fudgy at the same time, sweet as can be, and has loads of that glorious peppermint flavor. What makes this peppermint bark unique, aside from how healthy it is, is how melt-in-your-mouth supple it is. And it's extremely simple to make!


You can make this peppermint bark as thick or as thin as you want, it's really all about personal preference. Thinner is more ideal for using it is as a garnish whereas a thick peppermint bark is better if you want to enjoy it as a dessert on its own (it will be more like a thin fudge in this case).


By the way keep reading for a sneak peek of a new recipe coming to The Dimpled Date soon that uses this Peppermint Bark as a garnish..



This is my Raw Peppermint Bark Cheesecake (maple- and date-sweetened) that I made based off of the knowledge and skills I gained from my raw vegan pastry course and is incredibly delicious! The texture is out-of-this world good and the flavor is spot on. I am currently trying to make a date-sweetened-only version of this cake, but in the meantime this Raw Peppermint Bark Cheesecake recipe will be one of the next on The Dimpled Date, and is a part of my holiday series of recipes. Stay tuned for this recipe.



This recipe for peppermint bark is a low-sugar healthy alternative that you'll be making on repeat, vegan or not. So what are you waiting for? Go make it!


For more of my holiday series of recipes and sneak peeks of cakes I'm working on, keep posted for the latest and greatest.


Happy Holidays!


As Always,

Enjoy! <3

-K.



Date-Sweetened Peppermint Bark (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened, Nut-Free, Natural)


Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Chill Time: up to 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes

Servings: 2 to 3 sheets of thin peppermint bark or 1 sheet of thick, fudge-like peppermint bark


Ingredients:


-single batch my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate (the plain version) OR 1/2 batch of my Silky Smooth White Chocolate (as written out in my Healthy Citrus Cakesicles post, except DON'T color this white chocolate)*

-5/8 tsp PLUS a few drops peppermint extract (I use peppermint flavor which is peppermint oil + sunflower oil)


For the "candy cane" topping:


-1/4 cup unsweetened desiccated/finely shredded coconut

-few drops peppermint extract (to taste)

-few drops vegan/natural/sugar-free red food coloring (like Supernatural) OR enough beet juice to achieve desired shade of red (start w/ 1/4 tsp and add in 1/4 tsp increments until desired color is reached)


Directions:


1. Make a single batch of my Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate as per the directions in that recipe post. Then, pour it into a silicone chocolate bar mold, a rectangular silicone mold, or even the top of a tupperware lid will work. If you don't want large shards of peppermint bark, you may use any small-cavity silicone molds, such as mini hearts to make peppermint bark bites. Fill the cavity halfway from the top, then tap on the counter a few times to even out and release any air bubbles. Place in the fridge for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until set and solidified.


2. While the dark chocolate layer is setting, make the candy cane topping: spread out the desiccated coconut onto a lined baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven or in a skillet on the stove until lightly golden and crispy (for the oven, this can take up to 5 to 10 minutes at 325 degrees F, but definitely can be done sooner. If the coconut is a light golden color and fragrant before 5 minutes, remove from the oven). Transfer the toasted coconut to a bowl/plate immediately to cool completely. Once cool, stir in the peppermint extract to taste and add enough natural red food coloring OR beet juice until your desired shade of red is achieved and stir (be mindful of measuring out a tiny bit of peppermint extract out on a spoon first and then dripping in the extract a couple drops at a time and taste, so as not to overpower the coconut with peppermint flavor. Also be careful and only add little bits of beet juice at a time, as you don't want to impart a beet flavor. Start w/ 1/4 tsp beet juice and increase in 1/4 tsp increments until you're happy with the color. The beet juice can be from a can). Set aside.


3. Make a single batch my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate OR Silky Smooth White Chocolate (from my Citrus Cakesicles post) as per the directions in that recipe post. While the white chocolate is still liquid, stir in the peppermint extract to incorporate. Remove the set dark chocolate from the fridge and pour the peppermint white chocolate overtop of the dark chocolate layer just shy of the top of the mold(s)/tupperware lid, trying to use the same amount of white chocolate as you did the dark chocolate to have even layers. Tap on the counter a few times to even out and release any air bubbles. Sprinkle the "candy cane" topping overtop of the liquid peppermint white chocolate layer, until you're satisfied with how it looks. Place in the fridge for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until set and solidified.


4. Once set, remove the peppermint bark from the mold(s)/tupperware lid (this can be achieved by pushing from the bottom of the mold and working around the edges to loosen the bark before it releases from the mold). Using a sharp knife, cut into shards of your desired size (or simply leave as is if using small-cavity silicone molds, like mini hearts). Wrap up a couple of shards in little bags with fancy ribbons as a holiday gift for friends or family, use as a garnish on top of cupcakes, frosted brownies, cakes, cheesecakes, ice cream, or possibly even as a cocktail garnish, and/or serve with a peppermint white mocha, a mug of vegan hot chocolate, your favorite seasonal cocktail, or of course you can serve it on its own (just remember to store all leftovers in the fridge! This stuff melts easily!). Enjoy and Happy Holidays!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Or, in the freezer in an airtight container for longer storage.


*You may have leftovers if making the Silky Smooth White Chocolate


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