Finding dairy-free peppermint bark isn’t easy, but making your own is! Of course you can cheat with many store-bought items (options included!), but this dairy-free peppermint bark recipe shows you how to make your own vegan white chocolate layer, too. This whole dessert takes minutes to make, and stores well for gift-giving at Christmas or enjoying long after the holidays!
Dairy-Free Peppermint Bark that’s Homemade in Minutes
I originally created this recipe for Allergic Living magazine, about five years ago. Yes, I’m finally sharing it online, and have added all types of options and answers to common FAQs.
How Can I Make this Vegan Peppermint Bark Coconut-Free?
There are other types of dairy-free milk powders on the market, which can work in a pinch. But they tend to be a little grainier. Coconut milk powder is smooth and rich, so it melds well with the texture and helps to mitigate the sweetness. An alternative is to use ground cashews or cashew butter, like I do in my Dairy-Free White Chocolate Crispy Bar Recipe. This makes a meltier white chocolate with a richer flavor, but it’s still delicious. You could omit the coconut milk powder, but the white chocolate will be a little sweeter, harder, and less creamy.
Is there Store-Bought Dairy-Free White Chocolate?
If you are open to store-bought, some brands of dairy-free white chocolate chips, like Enjoy Life, work well for dairy-free peppermint bark. It’s made without dairy, nuts, soy, and coconut.
Isn’t Cocoa Butter Dairy?
Which is Better for Vegan White Chocolate, Cocoa Butter or Cacao Butter?
They’re actually the same thing! No matter the name on the front, be sure to pick a food-grade variety. Some are refined specifically for personal care products and are not suitable for eating. Navitas Organics, Terrasoul, and Anthony’s are a few good brands.
Can I Use Vanilla Extract Instead of Paste or Powder?
Can I Add Peppermint Extract?
You can add peppermint extract to either the white chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate in this dairy-free peppermint bark to double down on the peppermint flavors. We find the crushed candy adds enough flavor, since the bark is thin and it does sink into the dairy-free white chocolate layer. But if you want a peppermint chocolate infusion, go for it! If you do decide to add peppermint extract, I would add it slowly, by the drop, until it reaches your desired flavor.
My Chocolate Won’t Melt or Looks Grainy. What’s Wrong?
Chocolate chips melt quickly – within 30 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds, depending on the type. If you’ve gone over this, your chocolate is likely scorched. It becomes grainy and looks like it won’t melt at this point. To fix it, stir in boiling water, 1 teaspoon at a time, into the chocolate until it smooths out. You want to add as little water as possible. Even if recovered, the chocolate might taste burnt. Try to avoid overheating chocolate. If you want to avoid the risk, use my countertop double boiler method to melt the chocolate.
Can I Use Dark Chocolate Instead of Semi-Sweet?
Yes, dark chocolate is equally delicious in this chocolate peppermint bark, and offers more of a flavor contrast. You can use dairy-free chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips. I just go sweeter and more traditional with dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips.
What Brand of Vegan Chocolate do you Recommend?
For chocolate bark, I typically use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or Chunks. But your favorite dairy-free chocolate chip brand should work well.
Why Doesn’t Dairy-Free Peppermint Bark Last Longer at Room Temperature?
In theory, it does. But I find the peppermint candy tends to break down and become a little sticky on top of the chocolate. To prevent this, I prefer to store dairy-free peppermint bark in the freezer.
Special Diet Notes: Peppermint Bark
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just be sure to use chocolate chips that suit your dietary needs.
- 8 ounces dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
- 4 ounces food-grade cocoa butter / cacao butter
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon powdered confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup dairy-free coconut milk powder (see note below)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla powder
- ¼ to ⅓ cup chopped or crushed peppermint candy or candy canes
- Line an 8-inch square baking dish with a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
- Place the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk and heat for 30 seconds more. Whisk well. If not completely melted, heat the chocolate in 15 second intervals, whisking in between, until just melted. Do not overheat the chocolate.
- Pour the melted chocolate into your prepared baking dish. Tilt and tap the dish to even out the chocolate into a thin layer that goes all the way to the edges.
- Refrigerate the semi-sweet chocolate while you prepare the white chocolate.
- Place the cocoa butter in a clean microwave safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 1 minute. Whisk, and heat in 15 second intervals, whisking well in between, until just melted.
- Sift the powdered sugar into the cocoa butter. Add the coconut milk powder and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the liquid dairy-free white chocolate over the mostly hardened chocolate and tilt just slightly to even it out.
- Sprinkle the crushed peppermint candy evenly over top of the white chocolate.
- Freeze the chocolate for 15 minutes.
- Lift the hardened chocolate out using the paper. Break it with your hands into large pieces.
- Store the bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 1 week. For longer keeping, store it in the freezer.
Bigger Batch: Double the ingredients and prepare the bark in a 9x13-inch pan or quarter sheet pan.