Festive Dark Chocolate!
Are you still trying to maintain a healthy balance in the midst of all the holiday parties? Hang on, we still have a ways to go. It’s hard, I know, to juggle your every day life and time constraints along with the rush of the season, and now someone is asking you to bring dessert to the shindig. Time is not the only thing you’re struggling to keep in balance. You do have to consider where you will find time to make something, but more importantly, how will dessert mesh with your health goals?
In this case, as with many, simple is best. When I’m asked to bring a dessert, I often start with dark chocolate. This festive holiday bark takes about 5 minutes hands on time and then needs at least an hour in the fridge….but can be made well in advance if that suits your time constraints better.
The key to making a healthy chocolate dessert is buying good quality, high cacao content dark chocolate. There are many varieties to choose from, so just be sure the one you buy is at least 70% pure cacao. There are health benefits to dark chocolate (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, it boosts brain power, lowers blood pressure and helps reduce inflammation), and the pistachios will add a bit of protein, but let’s be real, this is dessert! Though you’ve made a great choice: you’re making something super tasty that doesn’t have added saturated fat or refined sugar—-BUT, let’s not throw portion control out the window. Enjoy….in moderation!
It’ll be hard, but try not to eat the whole batch yourself!
Healthy Holiday Chocolate Bark
- 6 oz. dark chocolate minimum 70% cacao (either chips, chunks or squares is fine)
- 1 Tablespoon freeze dried raspberries, crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon pistachio nuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Other toppings to consider: pomegranate seeds, crushed almonds or pecans, sesame seeds, freeze dried blueberries, chopped peanuts.
- Prepare small baking tray by lining with unbleached parchment paper.
- Melt Chocolate: Using Stove Top: Heat small saucepan over lowest heat possible. Heat all but 1 oz of chocolate while stirring constantly. When completely melted, take off heat and stir in remaining chocolate. Continue to stir until the last bit is fully melted. You do not need to heat the last 1 oz—-the heat from the already melted chocolate will take care of that. Using Microwave: Place all but 1 oz of chocolate in a glass dish. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20 seconds. Stir well. Continue until chocolate is completely melted. Mix in remaining 1 oz and continue to stir until all the chocolate is fully melted. You do not need to heat the last 1 oz—-the heat from the already melted chocolate will take care of that.
- Using a spatula, pour the melted chocolate onto prepared baking tray and then carefully spread it into uniform thickness throughout the tray.
- Sprinkle raspberries, nuts and sea salt throughout.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour so chocolate can set. Bark will stay good in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for 3 months. I keep my extra bark in the freezer, no need to defrost, just plate it as is.
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