Mint slice conjures up the friendly ghost of 80’s after-dinner mints and the memory of sticky-fingered school fetes.
You might surmise that such unfashionable associations might have undermined the street cred of this particular confection. For a long while that seemed to be the case. Like decorative fruit skewered whole pineapples (although nowhere near as whacky) the humble mint slice simply went out of fashion. A few faithful grandmas and suburban bakeries kept producing them but for everyone else it’s been a long long time between minty-chocolate bites.
This is a real shame because mint slice rocks! Slices in general are pretty cool in my book and what’s not to love about the mint and chocolate combo?
Luckily for us all, the humble mint slice appears to have been one of the many beneficiaries of the hipster mania for nostalgic revivalism. Along with penny farthings, beards and vinyl, the mint slice is on the up and up. I first noticed one in a CBD café a few weeks ago then suddenly, everywhere I went was another mint slice. There were slim confection versions, healthy raw variations, some with crunch, some smooth and gooey, some biscuit-y and some more like cake. I was overwhelmed with mint chocolate slice!
Clearly, the only thing to do was don my apron (and beard?) and investigate the diy possibilities.
This recipe synthesizes all my favourite things about the different kinds of mint slice. It has the crackly chocolate top. The filling is smooth, rich and decidedly minty (and a very pretty green). And the base is chewy, crumbly, biscuity and satisfying. I’d be lying if I said this was a ‘healthy’ recipe but it certainly has a whole lot less sugar and rich fats than other versions. It’s also vegan (yay!) and is pretty easy to prepare.
You can serve in big yummy slices (as per the photos) or in little elegant after-dinner bites. They are best 10 -15 minutes out of the freezer – enough so that they’re not frosty but not so long as that the middle goes gooey. I know, I know: I usually love gooey soft middles but for some reason I prefer these a bit firmer. But you might have a different preference – try it for yourself 🙂
Peppermint slice (vegan)
Makes 12 big slices or 48 little bites
Preparation time: 2-3 hours (almost all of this is freezing time!)
2 cups pecans or almonds (or a mix)
1 1/2 cups dates
1/2 cup cocoa or cacao powder*
3 tablespoons cocao nibs
pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups soaked raw cashews (at least 3 hours)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 desiccated coconut
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 sprigs fresh mint
1 teaspoon peppermint essence
150 grams dark chocolate (vegan)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Line a baking tin with baking paper.
Blitz all of the dry base ingredients in a food processor until crumbly. Stir through a little of the water at a time until there is just enough that the mix will hold together when pinched.
Press mixture evenly into the baking tray and freeze for an hour.
Process all the peppermint ingredients until smooth and creamy. Press mixture evenly into the baking tray. Return to the freezer for at least half an hour.
Melt chocolate in a bain marie, along with the coconut oil. Gently pour over the peppermint layer and smooth with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Return to freezer for at least half an hour.
Once it is set, the slice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. It’s delicious cold but even better if you give it a few minutes to reach room temperature before you bite in.
*cacao is the raw product of the beans whereas cocoa is a heated/cooked product. For the purposes of taste and food preparation they are very similar but cacao is usually considered to have greater health benefits.
I’d love to see your interpretation of this classic – feel free to tag me on instagram #melissamieow or give me the low down in the comments below xx