We are now well into three years of our 10-year whole-living health and wellness plan. Part of this plan includes cutting out processed foods, eradicating synthetic chemicals and dangerous cleaning solutions from our home, making food from scratch, incorporating healthy routines in food & exercise, AND….. No. More. Sugar.
I had a great moment with my five year-old daughter a few days ago after explaining to her the dangers of bleached foods and of sugar, specifically, as diabetes runs strong in my family. She then, by her own volition, binned the caramel square and diluted orange juice drink someone had bought for her on an afternoon out together. I was so proud! My three year-old followed suit and then wallowed in self pity and grieved over the sweet treats in the bin. Hopefully it will be a step in the right direction for him someday. It’s tough to break away from those feel-good sweet treats, especially when you’re three, let alone 33!
Sugar is so deliciously addictive! In light of the new sugar tax on drinks, and especially because it’s Easter weekend, I thought I’d share my husband’s favourite recipe: Dark Chocolate Bark. Hopefully this recipe can curb your sugar cravings and put down that [insert brand name here]’s sugar-laden, preservative-filled egg!
Now, unless you are a master chocolatier and have molds etc. lying around to makes eggs, chicks, and bunnies, a small baking sheet will suffice. [Spoiler alert: It’s called Bark because I break it up once it’s set. That’s about as creative as I can get with this stuff.] On with the recipe!
You’ll need a few things before you start:
- A pot 1/3 filled of freshly boiled water & a glass bowl to sit snugly over the top of the pot [This is called a Bain Marie or a water bath.]
- A whisk
- A small baking tray. Mine is 8×10 inches.
- Room in your refrigerator to set your tray!
- 1 cup cacao butter
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup coconut oil [Optional. I found this a superfluous ingredient to the outcome of the chocolate.]
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup honey
- Any dried fruit, nuts, or other toppings you like to dress the chocolate
- In the Bain Marie, melt the cacao butter, whisking occasionally until completely melted.
- This would be the time to add coconut oil, if you choose to use it. Melt into the cacao butter until incorporated and completely melted.
- Add in the cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
- Stir in the honey to taste. I prefer it sweeter, so I like 1/4 cup. My husband prefers the taste quite bitter and dark, so he only takes two tablespoons. Be careful not to add any more than 1/4 cup of honey – the consistency of the chocolate will change, making it harder to set.
- Pour the melted chocolate into a baking tray and decorate with dried fruits and nuts. We do everything from salted peanuts and raisins to pistachios, dried strawberries, figs, seeds, mixed nuts, and goji berries.
- Set the baking tray on an even surface in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes, or until set.
- Once hardened, use a butter knife to gently break the chocolate into shards. The chocolate will begin to melt if left out of the refrigerator for too long, so either eat it up quickly or put it back in the fridge!
You can choose to add flavours to the chocolate by adding a few drops of flavoured oils or the zest of an orange.
I’ve used a baster to divide the chocolate into a mini-muffin tin to make little chocolate buttons with fruit, nuts, and seeds. This is a bit more time consuming, but looks beautiful as a gift or for a party. Let the chocolate stand at room temperature for 3-4 minutes before popping out of the molds, bag them up, then store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Similarly, you can dip fruits into the chocolate and set on baking paper in the fridge until set. The bitterness and smoothness of the chocolate contrasts the sweetness of the fruits perfectly!
Happy [healthy] Easter!