Chocolate. It’s what’s for dinner.
But here’s a great idea for making your own chocolate bark at home for dessert or for a little pick me up. All you need is chocolate, fruit, nuts, pretzels or anything else you might like in your bark. And one healthy tip…go for the dark stuff:
At least 60% cocoa or more. The higher the percentage of actual cocoa in the chocolate, the less sugar. Chocolate with 80%-100% cocoa is pretty bitter, but those varieties are just swimming with antioxidants.
Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants. One reason dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate (besides the sugar content) is because dairy appears to interfere with antioxidant activity – most likely the calcium in dairy. So if you’re looking to get all those great antioxidants from your dark chocolate treat, don’t wash it down with a glass of milk!
Cocoa has also been seen to reduce blood pressure, improve insulin resistance and of course, improve mood But like everything, even dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation, so shoot for no more than 3.5 oz/day.
Dark Chocolate Bark
I made one batch with cherries and cashews and one with crushed pretzels. They store well at room temp in a Tupperware container and are good for 2-3 weeks.
Makes ~1 sheet pan of bark
1/2 bag 60% Hershey’s dark chocolate chips (I also threw in about 4 oz of 85% – experiment with all %’s)
1/4 cup crushed pretzels
1 handful of dried cherries (or any other dried fruit)
1 handful of cashews, crushed (or any nut)
- Using a double boiler (or the microwave-with close watch!), slowly melt the chocolate until smooth and uniform.
-Meanwhile, place some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and evenly spread out the pretzels on one half, and the cashews and cherries on the other half.
- Pour the chocolate all over the sheet pan and use a spatula to incorporate the goodies into the chocolate. Try to spread the chocolate as evenly as possible, creating your desired bark thickness. I like it pretty thin.
-Pop the sheet pan into the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until the bark is hard and starts to pull away from the parchment.
-Break the bark into pieces and store in container.
These are great to pack in gift baskets or to bring to a holiday dinner party.