It was a loooooong weekend, and, frankly, I’m happy it’s over.
Though I love the holiday season, I’m not a huge fan of all the social gatherings that accompany it. Unlike most of you, my family is rather divided and both Thanksgiving and Christmas end up feeling more like a series of root canals than the joyous, tinsel-saturated memories that should be experienced.
My favorite moments end up happening on the days when no actual holiday exists. I love decorating our house and tree, drinking hot chocolate and biting into candy canes, baking and decorating Christmas cookies, and buying presents for my little girls, who are now finally able to appreciate more than just the box the gift comes in (hence, the unending demands for this little bauble).
One of my favorite holiday treats has always been Peppermint Bark. Last year, I created my own healthy version, which I love, and this year, I wanted to put a new twist on it.
While my Peppermint Bark is delicious, I love the soft brownie layer mixed with the crisp and creamy peppermint coating. Because my favorite combination is mint and chocolate, this is the best of both worlds!
- BROWNIE LAYER:
- ½ c. pecans or walnuts
- ½ c. oats (or another ½ cup of nuts if paleo or grain-free)
- 10 dates
- ¼ t. sea salt
- 3 T. cocoa powder
- ½ t. peppermint extract
- 1 T. water
- BARK LAYER:
- 6 T. coconut butter
- 4 T. coconut oil
- 2 T. maple syrup (or 4 t. maple syrup + 6 drops liquid stevia)
- 1 t. peppermint extract
- pinch sea salt
- 1 candy cane, crushed into small pieces
- FOR THE BROWNIE LAYER:
- Process the nuts into a meal.
- Add dates and process until they form a paste.
- Add back the nut meal and the rest of the ingredients.
- Process until well-combined.
- Press into a small baking dish (I used a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
- Set in the fridge while you make the top layer.
- FOR THE BARK LAYER:
- Heat the coconut butter and oil on low just until they liquify.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients (except for the candy cane) until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour atop the brownie layer.
- Set in the fridge for about 10 minutes until the top layer sets a bit.
- Top with the crushed candy cane (you can top it before, but this keeps the candy cane on top and makes it look prettier).
- Set in the fridge (or freezer if you want it faster) to set.
- Cut and enjoy!
Adapted from this recipe
In the original recipe, I use cocoa butter in place of the coconut oil, but I have since had a bit of allergy trouble with the butter, and the oil works just as well.
Two great things about November and December are that my little girls (Jade and Natalie) turn four and two, respectively. Jadie had her birthday party last month, and I just wanted to pay a little tribute to her…
…happy birthday baby! The best day of my life was seeing you for the first time. I love you!
What is your favorite holiday treat?