Okay, so this recipe is a little…unconventional. You’ve never had chocolate and kale in the same recipe, you say? I know kale doesn’t scream “dessert,” but these are dessert kale chips. And I’m not messing around.
Well, there’s a first time for everything.
The inspiration for these dessert kale chips came from a deliciously dark bag of fair trade cocoa powder and some creamy cashews that I knew just HAD to become a silky sauce. But the name of this blog is Spill the Greens, so it can’t be all chocolate and cashews all the time. And so they were born: Mint Chocolate Kale Chips With Vanilla Sauce. Think of them as the Thin Mint cookie of the kale chip world.
Did I go too far? Okay, maybe. These obviously aren’t cookies. Also, they’ll cost you a lot less than a box of Thin Mints (in more ways than one). And oh yeah, they’re made of kale. That super-healthy dark leafy green that’s gained a reputation over the past few years as a so-called superfood for its nutrient content. I know kale is soo 2014 or something, and kale chips have seen the peak of their popularity, but I want to bring them back.
I’m bringin’ kale chips back (yeah)…
…too far again? I thought so.
Anyway, I realize it seems strange to want to coat kale in chocolate. But remember that the flavor of kale is slightly green but really fairly mild, while chocolate has a strong, sweet flavor. These chips taste much more chocolatey than green, especially with the refreshing mint flavor, and it really isn’t any more strange than adding both leafy greens and cocoa powder to a green smoothie. The smooth cashew vanilla sauce reminds me of a drizzly vanilla pudding, and my official recipe testers (Ryan and a friend of ours) said that the combination of the sauce with the chips are inseparable. So don’t go thinking you can just eat mint chocolate kale chips without vanilla sauce. You need the sauce.
I used cashew butter instead of a soaked cashew base because I really think it makes the sauce even creamier. But if you’re experienced with cashew cream and want to do some experimenting, go right ahead! I’d love to know if you find a simpler way that’s just as delicious.
But really, these chips are very simple. You’ll make the chocolate sauce and coat the kale, and while the chips are baking you can easily whip up the vanilla sauce. There will probably be extra sauce, but who ever complains about extra sauce?
We enjoyed our extra vanilla sauce drizzled (dolloped heavily, really) over my chocolate steel cut oats with berries a few days in a row. And wow, that was good. The vanilla sauce over the chocolate oats tasted almost like dessert, and with the fruit on top it was like a healthy, hot version of an ice cream sundae. So tasty.
In short, be crazy with the vanilla sauce. Pretend these are nachos. You want a plate of sweet, chocolatey, minty, messy, nutrient-dense treat chips sweetened with maple syrup. You want gooey, thick vanilla pudding-like sauce poured over them. You want this kind of goodness. You need this kind of goodness in your life.
Sweet, healthy mint chocolate kale chips made with coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a creamy vanilla cashew sauce. Easy vegan treat!
- kale leaves to fill a large cookie tray, not overlapping (I used 8 leaves the size of my spread-out hand, without the thickest part of the stem)
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (NOT peppermint oil!)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 300F.
Wash and dry your kale leaves and prepare a large baking tray with parchment paper.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, add the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, peppermint extract, vanilla extract, and sea salt. The mint chocolate sauce will be thick. That's okay
Place kale leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle the mint chocolate sauce over them little by little, tossing them with your other hand. This next part will get messy. Embrace it!
Once al of the sauce has been added, dig your clean hands into the bowl and begin working to coat every bit of the kale chips, both sides, in chocolate sauce. Rub the sauce in and make sure there's no part of the leaf that doesn't have sauce on it. This will take a few minutes. Try to get the sauce as evenly distributed through the leaves as possible. Just in case you were wondering, your hands are really the only tool that can do this properly. Don't worry, you can lick them clean (and then wash them) before doing the next part.
Place the kale chips on the tray, being careful not to overlap them.
Bake for 25 minutes on the first side. While they're baking, make the vanilla sauce!
Flip the chips with tongs or with a fork (carefully) and put them back in in the over for 10 more minutes. At the end, they should be crispy. If they're still soggy anywhere, give them another 5-10 minutes but watch them carefully.
Place all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You can do it without a food processor if you don't have access to one, but be prepared to whisk furiously and add the water a little at a time to prevent splashing and help it become smooth.
When your chips are done, sauce them generously and dig in!