Best day ever – Part 2!!! I told you of my baking day with my kids, they each picked a treat they wanted to help me with.  This is an interesting choice and one I probably would have overlooked, however, I was totally surprised with the outcome and will definitely make it again – a keeper for me. This is Julia’s (Scott’s girlfriend) pick for the 2017 Christmas Treat #8 – No Bake Peppermint Brownies.

Now I’m not a big fan of peppermint which is why I would have overlooked this treat.  And while internally I wanted to cut back on the peppermint extract in the ganache, I’m glad I didn’t. The combination of coconut milk, chocolate and mint is actually quite nice. Best of all, this is a vegetarian/vegan treat picked by Julia (Scott calls them Hippie Brownies – well not quite yet, but next Christmas woohoo :)) – yes she is very much into healthy eating but indulges once in a while when she comes here. She saw the recipe on an episode of Marilyn and wanted to make it here. It has dates, ground almonds, cocoa powder, coconut oil – how healthy is that. No eggs, no flour – be still my arteries.  Remember to dip your knife in warm water and dry it before cutting through the brownies, that you can get clean cuts that just add to the visual of the brownie.

This is exactly what I was looking for to add to my repertoire of 2017 Christmas Treats. I seem to be running into more and more people who are either vegan through choice or have been forced that way due to allergies developed later in life. Not saying this is the right choice to make, but in some cases, the reason to switch has been made for them. Give this a try, I know there is someone you know who will be at the sweet table longing to eat something, this will be it. Vegan and gluten free – come on! Think of how happy they will be when they see this, you might just have to keep the others away. As always – enjoy!

3 cups soft dates, pitted – there are approximately 12 dates to a cup – I know, a useless fact you will never have to remember unless you are making sticky toffee pudding!
1 cup almond flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp peppermint candy canes, crushed

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (my favorite brand is Aroy D)
½ tsp peppermint extract
3 tbsp peppermint candy canes, crushed

In a food processor, puree the dates until they reach a thick paste (please note you can also buy date paste at most Middle Eastern stores, I prefer this as I know what is going in the paste)
Add in the almond flour, cocoa powder, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla
Process until well combined then mix in the crushed candy canes
Line a 9″ square baking dish with parchment paper and press the ground mixture into it firmly – it must form a solid base so your brownie cuts well – refrigerate
Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium high until boiling
Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate
Stir gently until the chocolate has melted
Remove the brownie base and pour chocolate all over the brownies
Sprinkle liberally with the remaining crushed candy canes
Refrigerate for a couple of hours before cutting into pieces – mine were about 1” square so I got a lot of pieces. Remember I have at least 12 treats I want my family and friends to try and although they won’t make it to 12 (I think), at least they will try more than one or two