Coconut Oil Peppermint Bark
Happy Monday! Where are our chocolate lovers at?! We are so excited to be sharing our recipe for Coconut Oil Peppermint Bark. It’s simple to prepare, perfect for the holiday season, and made with ingredients you can feel good about. Deep chocolate flavor with melt-in-your-mouth richness – what more could you want?!
This past weekend we enjoyed our first holiday party of the season! Being lovers of wine and cheese, we experienced this classic duo in quite the unconventional way. Have you ever heard of an edible cheese shot glass?? It’s exactly as it sounds (which is amazing), and so much more! A sip of red wine and a nibble of cheese, until the shot glass is no more. We are all about balance, but as dietitians, we can’t advise you do this too often (tehe).
Settling into our new positions as clinical dietitians, our lives don’t always allow for decadent recipes requiring lots of time, preparation, and ingredients. With more holiday events on the horizon, we are thinking of simple, yet beautiful and nourishing dishes to share. Five ingredients, one pot, and a spatula; this recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes and is bound to impress.
Vegan, gluten- and nut-free. This recipe is great for everyone!
The base of this bark is coconut oil and cocoa powder that is lightly sweetened with maple syrup. We gave it a holiday spin by adding peppermint essential oil and topping it with crushed candy canes. You can easily customize this recipe and create your own chocolate pairings. For a little inspiration on how to deck out the simple base, we’ve included some tasty ideas below.
Let’s take a moment to talk about coconut oil. From cooking and baking to skincare routines, it is quite the trendy fat in the health and wellness community. Coconut oil has its place in a balanced diet, yet there is conflicting evidence on the extent of its beneficial properties.
Coconut oil is a plant-based fat that is composed of roughly 90% saturated fat. How does it compare? Coconut oil has a higher percentage of saturated fat than butter (64%), lard (40%), beef fat (40%), olive oil (14%), and canola oil (7%). A diet high in saturated fat typically raises LDL cholesterol levels which can increase the risk for heart disease. Interestingly, coconut oil has been found to increase HDL cholesterol levels as well, which is associated with heart health. Want to learn more about the differences between HDL and LDL cholesterol, along with their health implications, click here. For the 411 on coconut oil and how it may be incorporated into a fully nourished lifestyle, read below.
NUTRITION SIMPLIFIED | COCONUT OIL
- Coconut oil and heart health – where does the research stand? Part of a heart healthy diet involves limiting the amount of calories you consume from saturated fats. Recent reviews (here and here) indicate that health benefits for heart disease associated with coconut oil are still not supported by scientific evidence.
- How do medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) fit into the picture? Coconut oil contains a high percentage of MCTs, which have been associated with many health claims including increased energy expenditure, fat loss, and weight management. However, you would need to eat a large amount of coconut oil to reap the benefits.
- The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that saturated fat intake should be less than 10% of calories per day. Based on current research, coconut oil should be treated as any other food source of saturated fat (think butter, cheese, pork, fatty beef) – everything in moderation.
- Keyword: Balance. While there currently isn’t any proof that coconut oil is the ultimate “superfood,” it has a place in a balanced diet.
- Try a variety of different oils when baking and cooking. Each oil will have a different fatty acid composition (saturated vs. monounsaturated vs. polyunsaturated), smoke point, and unique taste!
DECK IT OUT
Chocolate bark is perfect for a hostess gift, holiday dessert, or that after dinner sweet tooth. It can easily be doubled for a larger batch, then stored in the freezer for continuous enjoyment. We encourage you to get creative and modify the recipe as your palate dictates. Use our simple base, then deck it out with your favorite toppings!
Base = ½ cup coconut oil + ½ cup cocoa powder + 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Orange and Ginger. Base + ¼ teaspoon orange extract + chopped candied ginger
- Superfood. Base + ½ teaspoon vanilla extract + chopped roasted pistachios + dried blueberries + toasted coconut flakes.
- Mexican Chocolate. Base + ½ teaspoon cinnamon + ½ teaspoon cayenne + ¼ teaspoon sea salt + 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds.
- 1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cocoa or cacao powder
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
- 3-4 candy canes, crushed
- Line a glass container or baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat.
- Remove from heat and add in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and peppermint essential oil.
- Stir to combine. Mixture should be without clumps, and silky in appearance.
- Pour the chocolate mixture onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheet or into the glass container(s) and smooth out with a spatula until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the chocolate mixture and place into the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until frozen solid.
- Once frozen solid, break apart into desired shapes and sizes for serving.
- Keep in the freezer until ready to enjoy.
- This delicious recipe is easily modifiable. Add your favorite toppings for a fun and festive twist!
WHAT’S YOUR POINT OF VIEW?
What are your thoughts on this trendy oil and how do you size up the research? We would love to hear from you! Also, do you have questions about our day jobs? Exactly what does a clinical dietitian do?! Let us know if you are interested in learning more and want to see a post about it! Don’t forget to snap a picture of your own coconut oil chocolate bark creation and share it to Instagram with #fullynourished, so we can see it too!
In health and happiness,
Alexandra Rae & Felicia Stewart
(7): All About Oils
(10): Effects of MCTs
(11): Weight Loss & MCTs