These peppermint low carb ice cream bars look fancy, but they are super easy to make, and only take a bit of patience waiting for everything to freeze.
The brownie base layer is chewy and dense and ultra chocolatey. The filling is a luscious peppermint vanilla ice cream, and the whole thing is topped with whipped cream, melted chocolate and few sprinkles of sugar-free peppermint candies.
No added refined sugar of any kind in these bars or gluten in the brownie base. These bars are:
- Low carb
- Refined sugar-free
A keto peppermint ice cream bar for a holiday treat
These bars make a great holiday treat. I mean nothing says “winter” or “holiday” more than peppermint. You can make this recipe in advance to have on hand in the freezer. The peppermint brownie bars make a great treat reward during the holidays too. Shopping all day? Cleaning for company? Have an ice cream brownie bar as a reward. ( this is the way my brain works).
what sweeteners Work best in this recipe?
Different sweeteners will create different textures with your peppermint ice cream bars. You can use whatever sweetener you like best at 1:1 ratio, but I have a few tips and notes about each sweetener below, so you know what impact they will have on your final recipe.
What sweeteners work best?
The best sweetener in this recipe is allulose. It does not grain up or get hard in cold temperatures, and allulose works exceptionally well in ice cream. It prevents the ice cream from freezing rock hard. I like allulose in any recipe that requires refrigeration or freezer storage.
What sweeteners work well?
Powdered erythritol works well too, especially a blend. I like So Nourished Erythroil Monk Fruit Blend; it seems to grain up less and works well in ice cream recipes.
Swerve, erythritol, and xylitol all work in this recipe too. Any cooling sensation is masked by the addition of peppermint to the recipe. So if you don’t like that cooling sensation, no worries about it in this recipe. 100% granular erythritol and xylitol will add a bit of graininess to the brownie base, and it will not be as chewy as a base made with allulose. Erythritol and xylitol do not add graininess to the ice cream.
*** Remember Xylitol is poisonous to cats and dogs if you have the furry wee beasties running around, please take care***
What sweeteners I don’t recommend for this recipe.
Liquid sweeteners or stevia do not work particularly well in this recipe. Liquid sweeteners will not work in the brownie base, but you could use it in the ice cream base. I find stevia bitter, but if it is your favorite sweetener, you can use it with success in the ice cream and whipped cream layer.
a bit about the peppermint ice cream
There are a few options for this recipe. Low carb ice creams are becoming a little easier to find these days, so if you have favorite vanilla ice cream, you can use that in this recipe. You can blend that base with a bit of food colouring (optional) and a bit of peppermint extract.
If you use commercially made low carb ice cream in your recipe, you will need to recalculate the nutritional value because each ice cream brand will have different carb counts.
For this recipe, I have added the instructions to use an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make this ice cream by hand; it just takes a long time. If you are committed to that process, I will add the instructions for hand blending at the end of the blog post.
Milk chocolate, whipped cream, and peppermint candy Toppings, oh my!
I used Lilly’s milk chocolate chips for the topping and melted them down. I didn’t even bother with a piping bag, I just dripped and swirled the chocolate over the top of the whipped cream layer.
The candies are Russel Stover’s peppermints, and they are made with maltitol. I never bake or buy anything with maltitol because I don’t like it. It also doesn’t like me.
Malitol is also not considered keto-friendly, But I conceded for this recipe because it was a holiday treat. I only used a few, and admittedly they add a great punch of peppermint and a textural crunch that takes these peppermint bars from good to great.
The peppermints are entirely optional, your call.
Baking Tips and peppermint ice cream bar assembly.
#1 Brownie Base
- Add a piece of parchment to the bottom of your square baking pan for easy removal once the bars are frozen.
- Work with room temperature ingredients, do not add cold eggs to your brownie batter, or you will get a clumpy mess.
#2 Ice Cream Layer
- Food colouring is optional but adds a nice punch of peppermint pink.
- It is very easy to over peppermint anything. Different extracts seem to have different levels of flavor, so add a teaspoon, and if you feel it is not enough peppermint flavor go ahead and add a bit more.
- To keep the ice cream layer soft for cutting, add 1 tsp of glycerine, or 3 Tbsp of vodka. Without it, the ice cream turns to rock, and it takes a while for it to soften at room temperature to allow for cutting. If you used allulose as the sweetener in your ice cream base, you would not need the glycerine or vodka. Allulose helps prevent the ice cream base from freezing too hard.
#3. Whipped cream layer
- Be careful not to overwhip. We want soft billowy peaks.
#4 Chocolate Drizzle layer
- Melt sugar-free low carb chocolate in a microwave-safe dish at 10-second intervals until the chocolate melts. Drizzle over the whipped cream.
- I used a spoon, but you can use a piping bag, or even a freezer bag with a corner snipped if you want more precision.
#5. Candy layer
- These Russel Stover peppermint candies are HARD. I ended up crushing mine with a meat tenderizer!
- Place the candies in a freezer bag and give them a good whack with something hard that won’t break, like a wooden rolling pin (or a meat tenderizer). Don’t hit them too hard; they seem to turn to powder if over cracked. We want bigger bits and smaller bits to sprinkle over the top.
#6 Cutting and Serving
- Freeze these low carb ice cream bars for 2 hours before cutting.
- Run a warm butter knife around the edge of the cake pan and gently pull the parchment up and out to release the bars. Pull the parchment off and place the bar slab on a cutting board.
- Use a sharp knife warmed under hot tap water to get clean cuts.
Storage Suggestions for your low carb ice cream bars
You can make and store these bars up to two weeks in advance. I find any longer, and the whipped cream suffers from the temperature.
You could make the brownie base and the ice cream layer and store that in the freezer for up to a month, add the whipped cream and toppings the day you plan on serving them. After you freeze them and pull them out for cutting, cut up the whole slab. When you want one, they are ready to go, no fussing around.
These bars go great with a hot cup of chocolate or even a piping hot cup of tea.
Low Carb Dieters unite and prepare for the upcoming holidays!
If you’re watching your sugar intake, or your carbs or dieting, no time of the year is more difficult.
Everyone seems to have cookies, cakes, treats, chocolates; you name it. If you want to try to get through the holidays without cheating, or at least cheating less, it’s a great idea to have some treats on hand. I don’t mean these bars. I mean anything. Whatever your favorite low carb or gluten-free dessert or treat happens to be, having it on hand for those moments when you want to join in and have something sweet too is a great idea. For me, at least it means the difference between staying on my plan or working through a three-day carb coma.
Make yourself SOMETHING, you deserve it.
No Ice Cream Maker?
Although this recipe was created with an ice-cream maker in mind, it is possible to hand-churn it! If you’re willing to put the effort in, you can make this with a hand mixer and your freezer.
What works exceptionally well is an empty metal coffee can. You can freeze the ice cream inside of anything. Metal seems to work best. You also want to make sure whatever container you do use is big enough for your hand mixer.
To make this without an ice cream maker, pour your cream base into your container and place it inside your freezer for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, bring it out and give it a blend with your hand mixer, making sure you get all the frozen bits off the side of the metal bowl.
Repeat this process (every 30 minutes) until everything is frozen and creamy. It won’t be the same as making it in an ice cream maker, we can’t get as much air built into the cream base manually, but you know what, it works in a pinch!
- 1/2 cup unsalted melted butter
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup allulose
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 3/4 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
Vanilla Peppermint Ice Cream Base
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups allulose
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- A few drops of pink food colouring (optional)
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp allulose
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup Lilly's milk chocolate chips (or dark chocolate)
- 12 sugar-free peppermint candies crushed (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F, and grease and line a 9X9 square cake pan. You can use an 8x8 pan, the brownies will just be a bit thicker.
- Melt butter in the microwave in a large bowl.
- Sift cocoa powder, salt, and allulose sweetener and add to the butter and stir until combined.
- Add room temperature eggs one at a time, blending each time to incorporate each egg into the batter.
- Add the vanilla and almond flour and stir until combined. Do not over blend the batter.
- Fill the base of the cake pan and spread to level out.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean. Keep an eye out as this layer bakes very quickly.
Ice Cream Base
- In a medium bowl, use a whisk or hand mixer on low speed to combine the almond milk, allulose, and salt until the allulose is dissolved.
- Stir in the heavy cream, peppermint, food colouring and vanilla.
- Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
- Add the ice cream base to your ice cream maker and hit the ice-cream cycle.
- Once the ice-cream cycle is finished spread the peppermint vanilla ice cream over the cooled brownie base layer.
- In a medium bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, blend heavy cream with allulose and vanilla.
- Whip until soft peaks form.
- Spread over ice cream layer.
- Melt 1/4 cup milk (or dark) chocolate chips and drizzle over the top.
- Crush 12 sugar-free peppermint candies and sprinkle over the top.
Ice Cream Layer Notes
If you do not use allulose in your ice cream base be sure to add a tsp of glycerine. Glycerine helps to create a softer texture when frozen. Without it, the ice cream freezes rock solid. If you do not have glycerine, you can use 3 Tbsp of vodka.
If you do not have an ice cream maker, there are tips and tricks at the bottom of the blog post for instructions to make the ice cream by hand.
If you are using commercial ice cream, you will need 1.5 liters or 6 cups of frozen ice cream. Add the frozen ice cream to the bowl of a stand mixer with the food colouring and peppermint extract, and blend with the paddle attachment. This will soften up the ice cream enough to make it spreadable.
Brownie Base Notes
You can replace allulose with erythritol or xylitol, but they will change the texture. Under "what sweeteners are best for this recipe" in the blog post there is a full write up of what sweeteners will work best in each layer.
Use room temperature ingredients for your brownie base, cold eggs will harden the melted butter and create a lumpy batter.
When measuring the cocoa powder for the brownie base, do not scoop and press. Drop your cocoa powder into your measuring cup and scrape off the excess. Pressing the cocoa powder into a measuring cup adds too much cocoa powder to the recipe.
It is much easier to slice these ice cream bars with a warm knife. Before you begin slicing, place your knife under hot running tap water for a few seconds. Wipe off the moisture and slice your bars. Using a warm knife creates neat clean slices.
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- Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
- Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder
- Hoosier Hill Farm ALLULOSE Low Calorie, Zero Net Carb Keto Sugar, Natural Sugar Alternative, Made in the USA, Granular Powder, 2 lb bag, batch tested gluten free
- USA Pan Bakeware Square Cake Pan, 9 inch, Nonstick & Quick Release Coating, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g