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Monday, November 16, 2015

Healthy Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies

Everyone has their favorite holiday treat, the one that they have to make every year.  Mine is chocolate peppermint whoopie pies.  I love the combination of the flavors, as well as the soft, cake-like cookie and the sweet, creamy filling. 
Every year I make them a couple different times throughout December.  This year, I wanted to get rid of the refined sugar, gluten, and filling made out of marshmallow fluff.  I don't mind eating treats like that in moderation.  But since my husband hates peppermint, and therefore doesn't help me eat them, and I can't stay out of them if they are in my house, I certainly don't enjoy them in moderation! 
I tried a couple of different versions:  the first one I made super clean and healthy, with almond flour, vegan flax eggs, no sugar at all (only xylitol and stevia), and a vegan cream made from cashews and coconut milk.  Although the flavor was delicious,  the almond flour, cashews, and flax made them heavy.  I would consider them more of a energy bar, since they were a little dense to be considered a whoopie pie. 
So I decided to meet halfway between decadent treat, and clean and healthy, and this time the results were perfect.  Soft, rich chocolate cookies, and sweet, minty cream.  And the ingredients are all things I'm comfortable with.  Gluten free baking mix, refined sugar free sweeteners, and vegan options.  Cheers to a healthy twist on a holiday favorite!
1/2 cup xylitol
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 egg (or 1 flax egg)
1 stevia packet
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 tsp of salt1 1/2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk
2 cups Gluten free baking mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder

8 oz. vegan cream cheese (or regular dairy cream cheese if not vegan)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 stevia packet
3/4 tsp peppermint oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp coconut flour
red food coloring

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg, coconut oil, xylitol, stevia, honey, vanilla and peppermint extracts, and salt.  Beat until combined.  Add the baking mix, cocoa, and almond milk, and mix until well combined. 
2.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and drop the cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto the sheet.  Press down on the cookies with fingers or the back of a spoon, to flatten slightly.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until set.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
3.  Clean the bowl of the mixer.  Add all filling ingredients, and blend 2-3 minutes until combined and fluffy.  Add a drop or two of the red food coloring to turn the filling pink, if desired.
4.  Once the cookies have cooled, spread a layer of filling on one cookie, topping it with another.  Roll in crushed candy canes, or leave plain.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or wrap individually and freeze.