When I read Jillian‘s recent post about 24 Healthy Ways to Relax Everyday, I was immediately inspired by numbers 13 (get in the kitchen) and 14 (indulge a little). The consequence may have not have been perfectly healthy, per se, but we’ll call this candy recipe healthy-ish – an improvement compared with the status quo, anyway.
We all have moments of weakness when we eye our favorite sweet, right? Well, York Peppermint Patties are my kryptonite. Something about the soft, chewy mint center, covered in dark chocolate speaks to my deepest sugar fiend. When self control fails me and I buy a bag of the bite-sized treats, I toss them in the freezer, partly to keep them out of sight but also to make them even more delightful. The middle becomes chewier the mint even more refreshing. It almost sends a chill down my back – kind of like those awesome commercials from the 80s. Luckily, it only takes one piece to satisfy my craving. (Okay, two.)Now, I know these candies are loaded with refined sugar, unpronounceable chemicals, and artificial flavors, but I’ve always been willing to let that slide. And I truly wasn’t seeking out an alternative when I happened upon a Paleo version of the peppermint patty. Natural ingredients cut out the refined sugar and artificial additives. Coconut flakes and oil, maple syrup, and mint extract made up the chewy center, which was then dipped in melted dark chocolate. Holy Kryptonite!
Nothing could stop me from trying this recipe immediately – except that I had no dark chocolate in the house. I rummaged through the freezer and uncovered two small milk chocolate bunnies from last Easter; melted down with a handful of chocolate chips, I had enough dipping chocolate for an experimental (non-Paleo) batch. Within a half hour, I was utterly won over by a dozen minty patties that were chewy, chocolaty, and exploding with mint. With all its sugar, the milk chocolate didn’t make them completely guilt-free, but substituting dark chocolate, as my recipe below does, helps reduce the total sugar content.
The fact that a mere six ingredients could produce such a wondrous treat means that there will always be a stash of them tucked away in my freezer. After making a few tweaks from the Paleo recipe to suit my own tastes, I was ready to move this recipe into my “make regularly” file. They’re the perfect sweet to be slowly savored during a quiet pause (see numbers 1 and 8 on Jillian’s relaxation list) during the day.
Peppermint Patty Cheats
3 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract (add a drop more if you really like mint)
1 cup 85% dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate baking squares
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Line a plate or small baking tray with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the desiccated coconut, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla and peppermint extracts. Stir until the ingredients form a cookie dough–like texture. You may want to use your hands. The coconut oil will soften as its worked into the coconut.
Using a teaspoon or melon baller, form a small ball of dough between your hands then flatten it to make a patty shape. Place onto the parchment-lined tray. You should get 20 – 24 half dollar–sized patties.
Place the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, place the dark chocolate and remaining tablespoon of coconut oil into the top pan of a double-boiler, or into small metal or glass bowl. Place atop a pot of water and bring the water to a low rolling boil over medium-low heat and melt the chocolate. Stir to incorporate the oil. Once the chocolate is melted, turn off the heat so it doesn’t separate and become grainy.
Dip the peppermint patties one at a time into the melted chocolate to coat both sides. Gently shake off excess chocolate then return the patty to the parchment-lined tray. You can do this using two forks or tongs, though I used a toothpick pierced into the center of the patty. Once it was fully coated, I used a second toothpick to push it off. A tiny indent may be left behind where the toothpick was, so once all the patties were coated, using a spoon I filled in the hole with a drop of melted chocolate.
Place the chocolate patties back in the freezer or fridge till hardened then enjoy the fresh blast of flavor and imagine the wind whooshing through your hair!
READ MORE: Peppermint Snowdrop Meringues