The Case for Candy Canes

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Nutrition | 211 comments

Let me be Frankincense, er, frank:

Sugar is not good for you. Does not matter how much it costs at Whole Foods, or if it’s so darn local it came from your backyard bees. It just isn’t.

Now, a Gold(en) Rule:

95% of you are going to eat sugar, regardless.

Myrrh(y) Christmas to You:

The other 5% of you have been having ‘a little’ sugar…it IS the holidays, after all.


Where does this leave the good ol’ CFR nutrition blogger?

With a delicious recipe, of course!

This is happening. Don't hate.

Paleo(esque) Peppermint Bark Fudge.

It ‘s easy. It’s delicious. It requires no cooking; only your freezer.  Even Great Aunt Sally (the one who makes biscuits and bread pudding every Holiday) will love ‘em!

Seven ingredients:

  1. Almond Butter
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Honey
  4. Cocoa Powder
  5. Peppermint Extract
  6. Vanilla Extract
  7. Salt
  8. ahem…this one is not paleo…enter the ‘esque’. And so I didn’t count it. Suckers, it is eight ingredients if you use CANDY CANES! You know you want to. And if you don’t, then by all means, DO NOT! They really just look pretty, nothing will be lost if you stick to your paleo-guns.

No need to involve any off-limit grains or difficult to use nut/coconut flours to arrive at this amazing treat. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results, which are creamy and amazing. There is indeed honey, which you can alter to taste if desired, however if you would like a few reasons why indulging in this bark  isn’t all bad, read on.

Coconut Oil, one of the major players in this recipe,  is amazing. It’s health properties have been identified for everything thing from improving your skin to increasing the body’s energy expenditure and decreasing adiposity (fancy word for fat). Coconut oil has been found to help normalize blood lipids and is associated with improved blood sugar and insulin control and, hence, the prevention and management of diabetes. Coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which makes it different from the fat found in animals(like butter) and other nut/seed oils (like olive oil); which are made of Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs).  MCTs are absorbed by the body more quickly via the GI tract, and are more readily available for energy use than LCTs. (Aka the body doesn’t hold on to each type of fat the same way.)

Instead of going on and on about how wonderful coconut oil can be when included in a paleo or primal lifestyle, I will save that for a more detailed post next year, and get on with the recipe. 

Whip this PPB up between wrapping presents and addressing Christmas cards, and have a safe and awesome Holiday Season! 

Paleo(esque) Peppermint Bark Fudge.

These will take around 30 mins start to finish. Don’t be scared by the steppage.

First comes the Chocolate layer:

1. In a food processor (or blender, and probably even a mixer would work if you’re patient), add:

  • 1 cup Coconut Oil (in solid form, just break up and huge chunks)
  • 1 cup Almond Butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup honey **you can also wait & mix honey in by the tablespoon after the above ingredients are blended, until it reaches preferred sweetness**
  • dash of salt  **if you’re almond butter is salted, blend & taste first before adding any extra salt**

2. Process/blend until all ingredients have combined. You may need to stop it and use a spatula to scrape sides a time or two. Mixture will be pudding-like, and completely smooth when finished. Taste and tweak ingredients if you would like it sweeter, more chocolately, vanilla-y, etc.

Layer One. Check!

3. Use a spoon to scoop mixture into cupcake liners, either placed on a cookie sheet, or in a cupcake pan. Fill liners approx 1/3 of the way up. Should fill 18-24 standard sized cupcake liners. (You could also use the little guys, or get creative like I did with ice trays. That idea was better in theory…!)

4. Place in freezer while you make the Peppermint Layer

1a. In food processor, add:

  • 1 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract
  • 1/4 cup Honey **You can wait until blended to incrementally add honey here, too**
  • dash of salt

2a. Mix all ingredients until smooth, scraping sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Should resemble vanilla pudding and be completely smooth when finished. Alter flavor to taste, some of you may want more peppermint, for example.

3a. Take layer one out of the freezer (note how crazy fast the coconut oil gets hard!).

4a. Spoon peppermint layer onto the chocolate layer. You want the cupcake liners to be about 2/3 way filled.

5a. If you are so inclined, crush 4 candy canes in a ziploc baggie (I used the back of a wooden spoon, and recommend not trying that, it is less than efficient), and sprinkle on top.

6a. Place finished fudge back in freezer for about 10 minutes.

7a. Try not to eat them all. 

Store these bad boys in the fridge for best results. And try with coffee.

Until Next Year…



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