Within hours, or maybe it was minutes, of finishing my Thanksgiving meal plan, my thoughts turned to holiday treats. When you are dealing with special diets you can’t think too far ahead about your food, right? Or maybe I just really like treats. Either way, when I think holiday treats, the first thing that pops into my mind is PEPPERMINT.
Maybe it’s the candy canes or the fact that mint M&M’s only come out at Christmas (not that I could eat those now anyway), but for some reason, December just seems like a peppermint-y month. In honor of that, I’ve rounded up some really fun peppermint treat recipes. All of the recipes are gluten- and refined sugar-free, and there are dairy-free, GAPS, and paleo options, as well.
Health benefits of peppermint
Before we get to the treats, did you know that peppermint has some amazing health benefits? It really is a multi-purpose herb (in addition to tasting amazing when paired with chocolate, which, really, would be enough in and of itself)! These are a few of the many perks of peppermint:
- Helps with pain relief
- Relieves headaches
- Acts as an expectorant and decongestant to help clear the chest
- May help with allergy symptoms by inhibiting histamine release
- The smell enhances memory and increases alertness
- Reduces nausea
- Helps relieve gas/upset stomach by relaxing intestinal walls
- Reduces symptoms of IBS
- Aids digestion
- Provides infant colic relief
- Helps protect cells against radiation
- Calms inflammation in the respiratory tract from asthma or illness
- Is invigorating when used topically or in baths
- Freshens breath and prevents biofilm build up on teeth
- Has antiseptic and antibacterial properties (Source)
Holiday peppermint treats
And now for the treats! I chose seven amazing peppermint recipes (because I’m in charge and I can choose however many I want) and one creative twist on the candy cane that will fit into just about anyone’s diet.
- Peppermint Ice Cream (gluten- and refined sugar-free)- Winter weather won’t stop the die-hard ice cream aficionado from enjoying some homemade peppermint ice cream. This recipe is a twist on the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from the mother of all real food cookbooks, Nourishing Traditions. (Note: Peppermint hard candies can contain gluten and artificial food dyes. If you want or need to exclude these things from your diet, like me, you could try another kind of peppermint, such as these or these (pre-crushed!). I’m sure the ice cream would taste great without the candies, as well.)
- Peppermint Chocolate Sticks (GAPS, paleo, gluten-, dairy-, refined sugar-free)- This is like fudge in stick form, and who can resist fudge? The recipe calls for almond butter, but you could substitute any kind of nut butter or even use SunButter and skip the pecans for a nut-free treat.
- Fresh Mint Tea (GAPS, paleo, dairy-, gluten-, refined sugar-free- Is there any diet this doesn’t fit into?!)- I love peppermint tea! It is somehow both warming and refreshing at the same time, and it has so many medicinal properties. Headache? Make some peppermint tea. Stomachache? Pull out the peppermint. This is one of my favorite winter nighttime beverages.
- Peppermint Fudge Brownies (paleo, gluten-, dairy-, refined sugar-free)- Fudgy brownies from a box were my favorite pre-transition to real food. These amazingly fudgy AND minty brownies are that same boxed brownie consistency without all the crappy ingredients. Of course the chocolate chips make them delicious, but if you are on a special diet or want to skip some of the sugar you could make the brownies without. If you do use chocolate chips, I recommend looking for a soy-free brand of chocolate such as this one or, even better, these fair trade ones.
- Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Marshmallows (GAPS, paleo, gluten-, dairy-, refined sugar-free)- This dairy-free hot cocoa is just as easy as a packet, but with zero of the preservatives, GMOs, and who knows what else. And the homemade peppermint marshmallows are to die for! The marshmallows are a little more work than the cocoa, but for a special occasion they are perfect. To achieve the red swirls in the marshmallows, use India Tree Natural Decorating Colors. If those aren’t available, white marshmallows taste just as good.
- Candy Cane Macaroons (paleo, gluten-, dairy-, refined sugar-free)- This recipe is so creative, I had to include it. I would have never thought to make a candy cane flavored macaroon! Thankfully there are creative people out there to come up with these delicious ideas for me. This is actually a raw recipe; no oven required. Just measure, stir, and voila! (Note: I would not recommend using agave nectar as called for in the recipe due to its extensively processed nature. Instead, I would use honey or maple syrup to taste.)
- Homemade Peppermint Patties (gluten-, dairy-, refined sugar-free)- How could I do a round-up of peppermint recipes without including peppermint patties? These are the quintessential peppermint treat! Simple and tasty with no baking required, these peppermint patties are sure to be a holiday hit.
- Real Food Candy Canes (GAPS, paleo, gluten-, dairy-, refined sugar-free)- These candy canes aren’t peppermint, per se, but they are still a delicious treat, not to mention absolutely adorable. This might have to be a Christmas eve or morning treat for Sawyer this year!
Making any (or all…or am I the only one crazy enough to do that?) of these peppermint treats would be a great way to celebrate the holiday season in style!
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Share your favorite peppermint recipes or uses!
This post was shared at Fight Back Friday, Unprocessed Friday, Simply Natural Saturday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Mostly Homemade Monday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Natural Living Monday, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Tuned In Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Homestead Barn Hop, Tasty Traditions, Natural Living Link-Up, Simple Lives Thursday, the Homeacre Hop, and From the Farm Blog Hop.
CC Image courtesy of SteveNakatani on Flickr