Today’s recipe is an oldie but a goodie from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, Chocolate Peppermint Cream Bars. The bars have three layers: a bottom layer of dense, fudgy brownie filled with a middle layer of peppermint frosting, then a layer of chocolate. Four layers if you count the optional crushed candy cane garnish.
This recipe will surely make you popular at holiday parties, and they are a great gift idea in a small box tied with a ribbon. Be sure to keep refrigerated.
If you are in Chicago and would like to try these bars without having to make them yourself, there are still a few tickets left for a dinner I am collaborating on with Chef Kevin Schuder of Fancy Plants Catering tomorrow! For an all-inclusive ticket price of $38 (no need to bring anything but yourself, and perhaps a bottle of wine if you’re so inclined!) you can enjoy a German Christmas-themed dinner.
Chocolate Peppermint Cream Bars
Makes 2-3 dozen
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup soy milk
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 scant cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3-4 drops green food coloring (optional, but attractive)
2 tablespoons soy milk, plus more if needed
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
Optional addition: crushed candy canes
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bottom Layer: Melt the chocolate chips either in the microwave or in a glass bowl placed in boiling water. Remove from heat and stir in the soy milk and the cocoa powder. Cream together margarine and sugar with a strong fork, then add in the chocolate/soy milk/cocoa mixture and stir until incorporated. Add the vanilla, then the flour and salt. No need to sift.
In an 8×8-inch baking pan LINED WITH PARCHMENT PAPER, press out the dough evenly. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until the center is firm and the edges are done, then cool.
Peppermint Cream: Meanwhile, cream together the margarine and powdered sugar. Add in the peppermint extract and food coloring (if using). Gradually add the soy milk until the mixture kind of resembles frosting. If it’s liquid, add more powdered sugar. If it’s stiff or dry, add more soy milk. Chill in the fridge until the bottom layer is cooled.
Chocolate Layer (Make this at the last minute): Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a glass bowl in boiling water, or over a double boiler.
Assembly: Spread the bottom layer evenly with peppermint cream, then chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Remove, then spread the top with the chocolate, creating a swirl pattern if you like. The chocolate will not spread out evenly due to the peppermint layer, but if you want it to be smooth, do a second layer of chocolate, halving the chocolate layer ingredients. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, if using.
Let set, then cut as you like and enjoy!
It will arrive before the holidays if you order today, so go forth and gift vegan cookbooks!