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One of the “treats” I really miss since I have been on the autoimmune protocol are the peppermint candies and candy canes that pop up around the holidays. While I am not about to go near the food dyes, processed sugar and chemical flavorings found in the conventional ones, I thought it might be nice to try and recreate that flavor with ingredients that are safe for those on the elimination diet.
This peppermint bark is made out of a base of coconut concentrate and coconut oil, along with honey and peppermint extract that have been cooked down a little bit (mostly to get the alcohol in the extract to burn off since it is an autoimmune protocol no-no). I use freeze-dried raspberries for an added crunch and to add that festive red color to the bark. Since they are made mostly of coconut concentrate, they have a softer texture than traditional peppermint bark or brittle – these are more like a fudge (and much easier on the teeth!).
About the coconut concentrate – my favorite is this product, but you can either make your own or find it in your local market (sometimes it can be called coconut manna, coconut cream, or coconut butter). It is NOT the stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk – if you use that your recipe will not turn out! For the peppermint extract, you are looking for a product with the only ingredients being alcohol and peppermint oil (like this one). Be sure to read the ingredients carefully, as many contain soybean oil, cottonseed oil, or glycerin (among other things!). Lastly, be sure to use whipped honey – regular honey is much more runny and the consistency will not come out hard enough.
I give this disclaimer every time I post a sweet treat recipe – I do believe that having too many sweets or treats on the autoimmune protocol will hinder your progress. That being said, I don’t believe that is reason to deprive yourself, especially at holiday parties or events with family. I like to have a stash of these in my freezer, and I might break off a 1/4 of one for a little nibble after dinner – similar to what others would do with a square of chocolate. Since changing my diet to include almost no concentrated sugar, stuff like this is overwhelmingly sweet to me and I can only tolerate it in small doses. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t recommend making a whole batch and eating it quickly!
- Place the honey, coconut oil, and peppermint extract in a small saucepan and heat on medium-low as you stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and let cook, stirring, for 8 minutes. It should get very bubbly, and you may have to turn the heat down to keep it from bubbling over.
- Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
- When it has cooled a little bit, place into a high-powered blender or food processor with the coconut concentrate and filtered water. Blend/process on high until fully incorporated. If it seems as though some of the liquid is not incorporating with the coconut, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time and blend until you get a thick, uniform paste.
- Pour onto a small cookie sheet (or anything else flat that will fit in your freezer - use two vessels if you have to) lined with parchment paper and spread out with a spatula until it is ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle the raspberries over top, gently pressing down on them so that they stick to the bark.
- Place in the freezer for 2 hours to set. Use a knife to slice them into any shape you like, and store in a sealed container in either the refrigerator or the freezer.