Valentines Day is almost here, and I have a perfect recipe for gifting and celebrating. It is go-soft-in-the-knees delicious, super-simple to make, and relatively frugal, too, plus naturally vegan, Paleo and gluten-free. I meant it when I said it is perfect!
The recipe in question is a Decadent Chocolate Bark.
Don’t you want to reach into your screen and grab a piece, right now?
The essential ingredients for the bark are minimal:
*Virgin Coconut Oil
*Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
*Maple Syrup (or honey, if you are not vegan)
*A Pinch of Sea Salt
That’s it! The method is equally minimal: melt the coconut oil on the stovetop, add the remaining ingredients, and spread on a sheet of parchment paper. From there, you have a blank canvas of dark chocolate goodness, primed for spangling with any and all sorts of toppings, such as coconut flakes, chopped dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and/or anything else that strikes your fancy.
It is ideal for gift-giving because you can personalize the toppings according the palate of your intended recipient. My Dad, brother and husband are less is more types (especially when it comes to chocolate); for example, some chopped almonds or hazelnuts, and, perhaps, a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
Because I fall into the more is more chocolate category, I adorned this batch with chopped dried cranberries, smoked almonds, and large toasted coconut flakes.
If you like, stir some of the toppings into the coconut oil-cocoa mixture before spreading on the parchment. Lumpy-bumpy is a very good thing here!
While this is definitely a treat, and not low in calories, they are nutritious calories: coconut oil has a plethora of health benefits, cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, and maple syrup is a natural, unrefined sweetener. No worries about artificial junk making its way into your Valentine’s gift!
Happy eats, everyone!
- ⅔ cup virgin coconut oil
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- large pinch fine sea salt
- Assorted chopped toppings, such as toasted nuts/seeds, coconut flakes, or dried fruit (not more than ⅔ cup total)
- Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup and salt. Return to heat and whisk for 1 minute longer.
- Scrape chocolate mixture onto prepared parchment paper; using a silicone spatula, spread to an even thickness (about ¼-inch thick). Sprinkle with desired toppings.
- Transfer baking sheet to the freezer (for 30 minutes) or refrigerator (for at least an hour) until bark is firm.
- Transfer bark (on the parchment paer) to a cutting board and cut into about 25 pieces.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 month or the freezer for 6 months.