Mint chocolate bark with candied mint leaves
Can all my fellow chocolate-mint lovers out there please raise their hands?! This recipe for mint chocolate bark with candied mint leaves is for YOU!
Chocolate + mint has been a long standing favourite of mine. There's something just so satisfying about dark chocolate against the intense flavour of mint. It's my go-to gelato flavour and my favourite kind of flavoured chocolate. I have been wanting to play around with a recipe for minty chocolate bark that does not involve artificial colouring or white chocolate for some time now, and I thought that using candied mint leaves would be a cool way to add some colour to dark chocolate kissed with peppermint oil. A quick google search taught me that the traditional way of making candied mint is to use egg whites.
If you've tried some of my sweet recipes before, you'll know that my preference is to make sweets that are vegan wherever possible. I generally find vegan desserts more appealing and fun to make. And to be quite honest, I didn't really fancy (yes, how British of me!) coating fresh mint leaves in egg whites. So I set out to find a vegan way of doing it. Initially, I had wanted to make these candied mint leaves using sugars that are a bit less refined. I started off with maple syrup (instead of egg whites) and Demerara sugar as a coating. I can confirm that it does not work. Maple syrup is too thick to coat the mint leaves and Demerara sugar is far too coarse. After several failed attempts, I remembered my sister telling me about aquafaba (also known as chickpea brine) and how it can be used as a replacement for egg whites.
Luckily I generally tend to have canned chickpeas to hand, so cracked open a can and whisked up some of the aquafaba in a small bowl. I then applied a thin coating of frothy aquafaba to the mint leaves, and used some very fine caster sugar to coat the leaves. And it worked beautifully! After about ten minutes in the oven at low heat, the leaves dry out and have a lovely fine coating of sugar. They also taste great!
To make the bark, I melted some 70% dark chocolate and added organic peppermint oil to it before spreading it out on a baking sheet. I then topped the mint chocolate bark with the candied mint leaves and let it set in the fridge. The resulting chocolate bark is super minty and the candied mint leaves are an amazing addition. They pretty much melt in your mouth.
Mint chocolate bark with candied mint leaves
This mint chocolate bark is made with 70% dark chocolate and peppermint oil, and is topped with homemade vegan candied mint leaves for decoration. Traditionally, candied mint leaves are made with egg whites, but I find using aquafaba (chickpea brine from canned chickpeas) works just as well. Add as much or as little peppermint oil as you like - I personally like a quite strong minty flavour, so I add about 2 tsp of peppermint oil. Start with a little and adjust to your liking.
- 15-20 fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup | 120mL aquafaba (chickpea brine)
- 1/2 cup | 100g caster sugar
- 200g 70% dark chocolate
- 1-2 tsp peppermint oil
Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the aquafaba in a small bowl and whisk until a bit frothy. In another small bowl place the caster sugar. Working one mint leaf at a time, apply a very thin coating of aquafaba to both sides of the mint leaf using a pastry brush or your fingers. Next take the mint leaf and gently toss it in the bowl of caster sugar (or alternatively hold the mint leaf by the stem over the bowl and spoon the caster sugar over it to coat). Place the sugared leaf on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining mint leaves. Bake the leaves in the oven for about 10 minutes (but keep an eye on them so they don't burn).
Once the mint leaves are ready, start melting the dark chocolate in a small saucepan or a bain marie (a heat-proof glass bowl over a pot of simmering water). Once the chocolate is melted, mix in the peppermint oil. Pour the mixture on the second prepared baking sheet and spread it out into a thin layer using the back of a spoon. Garnish the melted chocolate with the candied mint leaves.
Place the chocolate bark in the fridge for at least half an hour to set. Once ready, break up the chocolate into different sized pieces. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Serves 6-8. Store in the fridge for up to one week (or longer in the freezer).