recipe of the month - peppermint bark shortbread bars

Peppermint Bark Shortbread Bars
*From Mind Body Green

This dairy-free & gluten-free holiday treat will even set your taste buds free on a wild (sleigh?) ride! Whip up this deliciousness for your next party or get together and you'll be sure to land yourself a spot on everyone's "nice" list. 

Ingredients:

For the Crust
2 cups Brown rice flour (I love Authentic Foods' Superfine Brown Rice Flour for a less grainy bar)
6 Tablespoons coconut sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup refined coconut oil (melted)
¾ cup maple syrup
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract

For the topping
1 ½ cups chocolate chips 
1 ½ tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
1 ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
1/3-1/3 cup crushed all-natural peppermint candy

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Oil 12 x 9 pan with coconut oil.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the brown rice flour, coconut sugar and sea salt.In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine with coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla until well mixed.

3. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture a little at a time, mix for 1 minute.

4. Spread the batter evenly into the 12 x 9 pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

5. While the bar is baking, in a double boiler, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil and stir until melted. Add in the peppermint extract. Once the bar comes out of the oven, spread evenly over the top of crust.

6. Sprinkle crushed all-natural peppermint candy onto top of chocolate. Let cool to room temperature then place in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate.

7. Once chocolate is hard, remove from refrigerator, bring to room temperature before cutting into bars.

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