Many moons ago, when I was in high school, I dated a boy who worked at a local movie theatre. Between the Friday night shows, the cheap afternoon matinees and the special “employee exclusive” previews, it’s safe to say I spent a lot of time watching movies. It’s also safe to say I spent a lot of time eating candy. One of my favourite treats was a box of Junior Mints to eat alongside the movie and sadly, more than once I probably ate the entire thing before the movie credits were up!
Unfortunately, now when I look at a box of these movie theatre fan favourites, all I see is an ingredients list that includes sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavours, and confectioner’s glaze. I wrongly assumed confectioner’s glaze was another type of sugar but after some investigating, learned that it’s also called “pharmaceutical glaze”. Fair warning: if you visit this link, you may not want to eat Junior Mints (or anything else with confectioner’s glaze in it) ever again.
Despite this naughty list of ingredients, the combination of mint + chocolate is one that is nostalgic for me.
Though mine aren’t nearly as pretty, I was inspired by the gorgeous peppermint patties featured on Amy’s She Wears Many Hats site. However, I wanted to give them a healthy makeover so my fellow whole food-eating friends could enjoy them – and with gusto!
That meant eliminating the refined white sugar, the cream cheese to make this dairy-free for my non-dairy loving friends, and replacing the semi-sweet chocolate with a healthier chocolate.
The result? This is one candy that’s healthy, even wholesome. It contains just a handful of ingredients and no added sugar whatsoever.
The key ingredient in my Inside Out Peppermint Cups is high in fibre and in healthy fats with a hint of natural sweetness. This allows us to make this “candy” without any added sugar. It’s also a true whole food unlike some other food products made from the same ingredient.
Here are a few hints about this secret food; see if you can guess what it is!
- Many people consider it a nut, but it’s really a drupe (fruit). But it’s unlike any other fruit because it’s low carb and high in healthy fats.
- It contains medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) that may help improve brain health and specific brain conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.
- In the past I’ve also talked about its ability to burn calories more efficiently for more effective weight loss.
Any guesses what it is?
The main ingredient is coconut butter!
This makes these Inside Out Peppermint Cups a very low carb, high-fibre, fat-busting treat (you can call it candy if you insist, but I think I’ll just call them a wholesome snack 😉
They also couldn’t be easier or quicker to make.
Inside Out Peppermint Cups (no added sugar, gluten-free, vegan)
Makes 8 peppermint cups
What you need:
- 10 Tbsp coconut butter (I used Artisana brand, which is very smooth)
- 1 tsp liquid peppermint extract
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (I like 60-70% for this recipe)
How to make:
1. Warm the coconut butter until slightly soft. You can do this for a few minutes over the stove or stick it out in the sunshine (this is my favourite: this makes it “sun-powered” and also more practically helps reduce energy use). The texture should be similar to softened cream cheese, but as long as you can stir it easily, it’ll be fine. Stir until well combined.
2. Add the peppermint extract (more or less depending on taste) and mix in well. Keep in mind that you don’t want to taste test multiple times in a row because taste testing too often too quickly can temporarily kill your taste buds.
3. Spoon 1-2 Tbsp of the minty coconut butter mixture into standard-sized muffin liners. If the texture is softened enough, it will self-level. If not, you may need to give it a bit of a hand and level it out with the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes or until solid. Once solid, you can either keep the peppermint cups in their liners for individual servings (like at a party) or remove them.
4. Meanwhile, in a water bath over the stove, melt the chocolate. I usually melt the chocolate until it’s at least half melted, remove it from the heat and then use a whisk to fully incorporate. The residual heat will usually melt the chocolate to a perfect consistency. Let the chocolate cool off the heat for at least 5-10 minutes so the heat doesn’t melt your peppermint cups.
5. Dollop a small amount of the cooled chocolate into the centre of each homemade peppermint patty. Return to the fridge to harden.
6. Serve as part of a healthy, wholesome diet.
Tips & Notes:
- Storage: You can keep these out on the counter if it’s cool where you are (e.g. Canada in the spring); otherwise, keep them in the fridge, especially in warm or hot temperatures, otherwise the cups may start to melt.
- I haven’t tried this with homemade coconut butter so if that’s your desire, it should probably still work. However, it’ll likely be more gritty so it won’t be the same smooth texture that you achieve with store-bought coconut butter. It will also likely be softer so you may spend more time finessing the coconut butter mixture into your muffin liners.
- Look for a flavour extract without added sugar or other ingredients. The quality in flavour extracts really varies so preferably look for organic extracts made from whole- and plant-based ingredients. (I probably don’t need to mention that we should steer clear of those clear, plastic bottles of synthetic, unnaturally coloured flavour extracts.) It’s often better to buy from a health food store than the grocery store for these.
- If you’re vegan, choose your chocolate wisely to ensure it doesn’t contain any animal products like milk to make these cups vegan.
- If you’re more of a traditionalist (or just a choco-a-holic), you are welcome to fully coat the peppermint candies to your heart’s content!
Do you like to have your candy and eat it too? What’s your favourite candy from childhood?
Life is a plate… Eat up!