'Tis the season for some festive, raw chocolate bark! Fa la la la la la la la la!
I've experimented with this type of recipe a number of times, but I think I've come to the version that I most love!
Homemade chocolate is so quick and easy to make, whether it ends up being poured into silicon molds to yield individual, bite-sized, shaped chocolates, becomes a thicker 'fudge', or a more thin 'bark'.
Relying on a base of organic, extra-virgin or virgin coconut oil and raw cacao powder, with a dose of natural sweetener (i.e. pure maple syrup or raw/unpasteurized honey) and a helping of high-quality protein and fat from Sunbutter (heavenly!), all that remains to be decided on are those oh-so-critical garnishes!
Homemade, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined-sugar baking is where it's at! This is guilt-free indulgence, particularly because you know that each and every ingredient in the treat is fuelling the body in some desirable way!
Without further adieu, here is my take on some festive chocolate bark!
Cran-Almond-Pistachio Coconut Bark
Yield: ~24 moderate-sized pieces (dependent on desired size of pieces)
Prep Time: ~15 minutes, + set time in the freezer (about 1 hour)
Total Time: ~75 minutes
1 cup organic, extra-virgin or virgin coconut oil
1 cup organic, raw cacao powder (I love the raw cacao produced by Organic Traditions!)
1/4 cup pure, maple syrup
2 heaping tbsp. Sunbutter (or nut/seed butter of your choice)
1/8 cup organic, slivered almonds, chopped
1/8 cup organic, pistachios, chopped
1/8 cup organic, dried cranberries
1/8 cup organic, unsweetened, shredded coconut
*Increase 1/8 cup measures, as desired! I found that 1/8 cup of each garnish was plenty, but please adjust proportions based on the number/type of garnishes chosen. For me, it all comes down to eyeballing the appearance of the creation - these measurements are simply a frame of reference as a starting point!
*I personally prefer to break down the slivered almonds, whole pistachios and dried cranberries in the food processor, prior to incorporating them into the recipe, for smaller-sized pieces.
1. Obtain a rectangular, glass baking dish (or something similar) (approx. 15" x" 10" x 2", such as this Pyrex version - my preference), and line with a sheet of parchment paper, in a way that the parchment extends beyond the edges of the dish when pressed down into the bottom of the dish. I prefer to use a glass baking dish with sides, as opposed to a cookie sheet, as the liquid mixture is more contained, and the frozen bark is oh-so-easy to life out of the dish, using the parchment, once set. Alternatively, you may use two, square glass baking dishes or the equivalent of what you have in your kitchen, of course!
2. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan on low-medium heat.
3. Once the coconut oil is melted, remove the saucepan from the heat source and whisk in the raw cacao powder, maple syrup and Sunbutter. *Be sure to enjoy a few spoonfuls of Sunbutter, just for kicks! Live it up, in the kitchen!
4. Pour the mixture into your lined baking dish, pressing a spatula into the corners of the dish to ensure the mixture fully fills the corners.
5. One at a time, sprinkle the slivered almonds, pistachios, dried cranberries and shredded coconut over the chocolate mixture, to your preferences.
6. Place baking dish flat in the freezer and let set for about one hour.
7. Once fully set, lift the parchment paper and bark out of the baking dish and place on a cutting board. Break into pieces of desired size using either your hands or a chef knife.
*Store in a parchment-lined, airtight container (layers of bark separated by a layer of parchment paper), in the freezer until consumption. Due to the coconut oil, the bark will start to melt as it thaws, so it is recommended to serve immediately.