This Chocolate Peppermint Bark is a healthier twist on the holiday classic! It has a layer of dark chocolate topped with minty homemade vegan white chocolate and a sprinkling of crushed peppermint candies. You’ll adore this gluten-free, paleo and vegan peppermint bark!
Peppermint bark is one of those classic holiday treats where it just doesn’t feel like the holiday season until you break into a metal tin of the stuff, right? The minty layers of dark chocolate and white chocolate, with a sprinkling of crushed peppermint…it just sings holidaaaaays !
So I wasn’t overly surprised when I got more than a few requests for a healthier homemade chocolate peppermint bark – one that wasn’t full of refined sugars or dairy, but still satisfied the peppermint bark craving that could only be satisfied by crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth layers of minty chocolate.
To make this recipe, you have two options for your dark chocolate layer. You can do as I did for the chocolate you see in the photos, which is melt down your favorite dark chocolate and spread it in an even, thin layer. I used my favorite Santa Barbara Chocolate – their coconut sugar sweetened dark chocolate is my absolute favorite, and it’s free of refined sugars! (This isn’t sponsored, but if you’re interested in ordering, you can use the code BAKERITA for $10 off.)
Alternatively, if you can’t track down any refined sugar free chocolate and don’t want to order any, you can also make your own dark chocolate! I do this for a whole bunch of my recipes, like my peanut butter cups and chocolate peppermint cups, and it’s so easy. Just stir together the right ratio of melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, and maple syrup – and voila, you’ve got melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate.
Once your dark chocolate is chilled, we’re ready for the white chocolate, which was certainly the trickier part of developing this recipe! On the low down, I have been working on a homemade paleo and vegan white chocolate recipe for a while now. I’ve been testing and tweaking, trying to find a stable recipe. It’s coming along nicely, but not perfect quite yet.
However, one of my tests was perfect to use here. Although you can’t bake it into some white chocolate chunk cookies (what I’m working on making happen without the white chocolate dissolving), it works amazingly as a white chocolate for this peppermint bark.
The key ingredient to getting that white chocolate flavor is cacao butter! This is one of the ingredients of cacao mass – when you take out the cacao powder, you’re left with cacao butter. It gives white chocolate it’s inherent chocolate-ness and subbing anything else here just wouldn’t be the same. You can find it at most health food stores or order it on Amazon.
Maple syrup is added to the cacao butter to sweeten, along with a tiny bit of cashew butter to give a creamy richness to the white chocolate. Vanilla extract adds some depth, and of course, we’ve got to have peppermint extract!
The white chocolate is spread over the dark chocolate, sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies and/or cacao nibs, and left to set. That’s all! Once it’s chilled, you can either cut piece or break them up into rough pieces with your hands. Either way, a pile of these in a gift box is the perfect gift. Enjoy!
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
For the dark chocolate
- 6 oz. dark chocolate chopped
OR make your own dark chocolate
- ½ cup refined coconut oil melted
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup to taste
For the white chocolate
- 4 oz. (132g) edible raw cacao butter chopped
- 2 tablespoons (48g) refined coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon (16g) smooth natural cashew butter
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Line a 9x9” baking pan or small baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between each, until smooth and melted. Alternatively, whisk together the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, and maple syrup until smooth. Pour chocolate onto the prepared pan and place into the refrigerator or freezer to set.
- While the dark chocolate sets, make the white chocolate. In a medium-sized heat-safe bowl, place the cacao butter and coconut oil. Heat indirectly by creating a make-shirt double boiler. Place the bowl over small pot of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Allow the cacao butter and coconut oil to melt, stirring occasionally. The mixture will be thin.
- With the mixture still over the simmering water, add the cashew butter and mix to combine. Add the maple syrup, salt, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Remove the bowl from the pot and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before adding the peppermint extract and whisking again to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Once the white chocolate is slightly cooled, pour over the set dark chocolate. If desired, sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies or cacao nibs. Return to the refrigerator to set for about an hour. Break up with your hands or cut into pieces with a knife.
- Keep stored in the refrigerator or freezer.