It ain’t the holidays until I’ve devoured an entire plate and week’s worth of calories of Mint Nanaimo Bars. The crunchy chocolate coconut base smothered in a smooth peppermint flavored frosting and covered with a thin rich layer of chocolate. Whatever you want to call it, this combination of nanaimo bar magic is pure heaven and I’ve taken it a step further to make sure everyone can enjoy it this season by creating a vegan and gluten-free mint nanaimo bar recipe. Can you hear the angels sing?
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Vegan & Gluten-Free Mint Nanaimo Bars
A rich gluten-free chocolate cookie crumb base mixed with sweet shredded coconut, crunchy salted cashews, and vegan butter. Whipped, fluffy, and totally dreamy, the middle layer is a sweet mint buttercream frosting. The third, and final layer to these beloved mint nanaimo bars is the thin decadent top coating of vegan chocolate. Put all three parts together and you have the most amazing holiday mint nanaimo bars that are both vegan and gluten-free.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookie Crumb Base
I’m all about that base. Bout that base. No treble. 😉 First step to these amazing mint nanaimo bars is the chocolate cookie crumb base. In most traditional nanaimo bar recipes, you’ll see the base made up of cocoa, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts. I’ve kept it fairly traditional while swapping out the walnuts for cashews and changing the cocoa powder and graham cracker crumbs for straight chocolate cookie crumbs.
The key to this naniamo bar base is setting it firm. No one wants to pick up a mint nanaimo bar only to have it crumble in their hands. After all of the base ingredients have been incorporated and placed into a sprayed and parchment-lined 8×8 inch baking pan, start to spread the mixture out evenly. Once it’s evenly spread, gently but firmly pack it down. Don’t be shy here. Count this as your upper body workout. Tightly packing down the base micture will ensure a solid and stable nanaimo bar base.
Vegan Mint Buttercream Frosting Middle Layer
I am and always will be, a frosting gal. So naturally, the middle layer of whipped mint buttercream is my favorite part of these vegan and gluten-free nanaimo bars. Using vegan butter, beat it on high in a stand mixer for 5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. This step is critical for achieving a soft cloud-life frosting layer. After the butter has been beaten, add in the remaining ingredients, and again, mix on high until light and fluffy.
Much as I am a frosting gal, I, too, am a green gal. Because let’s be honest…a mint nanaimo bar simply doesn’t feel “minty” enough without this delicious buttercream center being a minty green color. I used 2 drops of green gel food color in the frosting after it had been made. Simply add the food color and mix until combined and cohesive. That said, feel free to skip this step if food color ain’t your thing.
Top Vegan Chocolate Layer
A mint Nanaimo bar would be incomplete without this third and final addition: a thin layer of vegan chocolate. Using a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate topping ingredients and heat in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Make sure to gently stir after each interval. Spread the chocolate layer over the mint frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.
Now here comes the fun part. If you are feeling extra fun or festive you can top these decadent vegan and gluten-free mint nanaimo bars with sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or a little splash of coarse sea salt. Be as creative or as simple as you want. I personally sprinkle on a touch of salt to balance the sweet but again, just like the food coloring, you do you!
How To Cut Mint Nanaimo Bars
The trickiest part to this incredibly easy no-bake nanaimo bar recipe is not the actual making of them but the slicing! Many times have I cut into a nanaimo bar only to have the top chocolate layer crack into a few wayward pieces. Does it affect the flavor, no, but if you’re a perfectionist like me it does make my eyeballs twitch.
First step to a clean slice is to allow the mint nanaimo bars to come to room temperature. Second step is to use a sharp clean knife. Heat the knife up with hot water, clean it with a kitchen towel, and skor the top chocolate layer lightly where you plan on cutting. Again, heat the knife, clean it, and cut away. I like to heat and clean with each cut to keep those edges sharp.
The Best Vegan & Gluten-Free Mint Nanaimo Bars
Truly the easiest and yummiest no-bake recipe for this coming holiday season. These mint nanaimo bars come together in a snap and are positively scrumptious. Using gluten-free and vegan ingredients ensures that all your Christmas guests will be able to enjoy a delicious square of chocolate mint delight. Don’t have food allergies or special dietary needs? Awesome! Use good ol’ regular gluten and dairy products! No measurement changes are needed.
A crunchy chocolate cookie crumb base holding up the most delicious fluffy mint buttercream frosting filling and topped with a glorious layer of chocolate yum. These mint nanaimo bars are the perfect holiday no-bake treat. Enjoy them as-is. Sprinkle them up something fancy. Or slice and freeze for a later date. You will not regret making a pan, or two, of these amazing vegan and gluten-free mint nanaimo bars!
Holiday Baking Recipes
The holidays are for cozy December days spent in your pajamas baking for family and friends. Here are a few festive recipes that will be a hit this Christmas season:
- Nanaimo Bars
- Nanaimo Bar Cake
- Mint Hot Chocolate Cake
- Baileys & Coffee Cake
- Peppermint Chocolate Brownies
- Salted Caramel Fudge
- Peppermint Sugar Cookies