I bought some peppermint essence some time ago but it had stayed in the pantry unopened. To tell the truth, I was a little afraid of it. I had a bad experience with peppermint essence once when experimenting with it as a kid….suffice to say that I think I learned the hard way that “less is more” as far as peppermint essence is concerned.
The other night though, I was thinking about it (particularly after Sarv’s comments about chocolate and mint combinations) and decided to face my fears head on and make my cocoa with some peppermint essence in it. It was great! And it woke up the taste buds and brought back memories of enjoying Peppermint crisp bars with my Grandmother and my mum when I was a little girl.
These are my recreation of that memory. They may not taste the exactly the same but they are inspired by the peppermint crisp chocolate bar of my childhood.
Warning: These take a little bit more effort than my usual freezer slices do but I think you will find it worth your while.
CHOCOLATE – note alternative which makes a firmer slice*
- 2 cups pitted dates (soaked overnight in water to cover)
- enough of the soaking water to achieve thick melted chocolate consistency
- 1-2 tsp coconut butter
- 1 cup (or to taste) cocoa
Blitz all ingredients in food processor until thick and smooth
- 1/2 cup pitted dates (soaked as above – just soak them all together)
- 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight if your blender isn’t super strong – discard water)
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional but makes it green). NOTE: (if you don’t care if it isn’t green then just leave it out – if you don’t have it and like it green you could sub in some spinach or you could even use mint if you have it and use less or no peppermint essence. Use food dye if you don’t care about the chemicals) –
- 1 (or more or less to taste) tspn peppermint essence
- enough of the soaking water from dates to blend mix to thick consistency (I do this in the mill)
- 1/4 cup buckwheat groats and 1/4 cup white quinoa (lightly toasted until quinoa starts to pop) – you could leave this out but it provides the crisp bit so I wouldn’t leave it out!
Blitz everything except the groats / quinoa in food processor / mini chopper or mill until smooth
Mix in toasted seeds.
* CRUST – firmer version for chocolate layer (makes enough for this slice recipe and extra to make peanut butter one or cherry ripe one)
- oats (about 2-2.5 cups)
- dates (about 1 -1.5 cups) – depends how sweet you like things
- desiccated coconut (about 1 cup)
- cocoa (about 1/2 -3/4 cup) – depending on how chocolately you like things
- coconut butter (about 1 rounded teaspoon)
- water (just a little to help it meld together) – if you like you could presoak the dates and reserve the water adding a little bit at a time as needed. I was too impatient to soak anything!
Blitz all ingredients in the food processor until they form crumbs that stick together or a ball of dough depending on your intention (for a slice go for crumbs and for a dough / pastry go for ball).
- In a slice tin lined with baking paper, spread (or press) half of the chocolate mixture in an even thin layer, smoothing with a spatula.
- Freeze for about 30 minutes so it is firm enough to spread the mint without it mixing.
- Freeze again for 30 minutes until firm and then spread over the rest of the chocolate. Cover carefully with baking paper and
- Freeze for a few hours or overnight until solid. (I was impatient so cut when the fudge was not that hard – still tastes nice this consistency but I would recommend overnight).
- Cut into small squares and store in freezer or fridge until ready to eat. (Put some away hidden in the depths of the freezer for friends so your family don’t eat them all.)