A few years ago, McCormick asked us to share a popular recipe for peppermint bars. It contained dairy, so it needed to be adapted. My ongoing recipe list is a mile long, so it took a little time for this one to reach the top. I’m finally getting around to this gem, which we’ll now call dairy-free chocolate peppermint bars!
Dairy-Free Chocolate Peppermint Bars are a Treat to Make
In addition to the recipe, I have several ingredient tips, suggestions, and substitution options. These dairy-free chocolate peppermint bars use some delightful shortcuts, but it is important to choose your ingredients wisely!
Dairy-Free Brownie Mix
Believe it or not, there are many dairy-free brownie mixes on the market, including family size options. See our Dairy-Free Pillsbury and Dairy-Free Betty Crocker guides for options. Also, Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge and Dark Chocolate Fudge brownie mixes are popular options.
If you only have a standard-size mix, that is made in one 8×8-inch pan, you can either use two prepared mixes, or halve the ingredients in the filling and ganache layers of these dairy-free chocolate peppermint bars. If the latter, prepare everything a 9×9-inch pan. An 8×8-inch pan will make much thicker bars.
I like to use Country Crock sticks in recipes like this one because they are firm and add a little more saltiness than some brands. But any buttery spread or stick should work well in both the filling and the ganache. You can substitute shortening (I sometimes use Spectrum shortening) for the butter alternative in both layers. But if you do, you might want to add a pinch of salt to each.
Coconut Cream & Substitutions
You can buy coconut cream, or simply refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk and then skim the thick cream from the top for this recipe. If preferred, you can buy a heavy cream alternative, like Silk, Country Crock, or Califia Farms.
If you only have dairy-free milk beverage on hand, like almond milk or oat milk, you can still make these dairy-free chocolate peppermint bars work! Just beat the other frosting ingredients – powdered sugar, butter alternative, and extract – with just 1 tablespoon of the milk alternative to start. Then blend in more milk beverage, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a thick but spreadable consistency.
Special Diet Notes: Chocolate Peppermint Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy and optionally nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the brownie mix, butter alternative, food color, and chocolate chips that suit your dietary needs.
For gluten-free dairy-free chocolate peppermint bars, use a gluten-free brownie mix like Namaste Foods (which is “family size”) or Krusteaz Gluten Free. See the pan size directions above if using a standard size mix.
For vegan chocolate peppermint bars, use this Amazing Vegan Brownies recipe instead of a box mix. It’s easy!
- 1 family-size (18-ounce) package fudge brownie mix (see post above)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- ¾ cup + tablespoons dairy-free butter alternative, melted
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- ⅛ teaspoon natural red food color
- 12 ounces (2 cups) dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup dairy-free butter alternative
- Crushed peppermint candies (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a 15x10-inch baking pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil.
- Prepare the brownie mix according to package instructions with eggs, oil, and water.
- Spread the batter evenly in your prepared baking pan.
- Bake the brownies for15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
- Let the brownies cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, beat the powdered sugar, melted butter alternative, coconut cream, peppermint extract, and food coloring until creamy and smooth. Start with the mixer on low to prevent a sugar dust storm!
- Spread the filling evenly over the fully cooled brownies.
- Refrigerate the brownies for 30 minutes.
- In large a, microwavable-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter alternative on high for 1 minute. Whisk thoroughly. If not fully melted, microwave in 15 second intervals, whisking thoroughly between each heating, until just melted. Do not overheat the chocolate or it can seize.
- Spread the chocolate over the peppermint filling.
- Sprinkle with crushed candies, if desired.
- Once set, cut into bars.