Well guys, we are just one week away from Christmas! Can you believe it? I hope you are feeling good about things, all of your to-do's are winding down, stress level is low, and you are ready to kick up your heels and celebrate this special time with family and friends.
I have to admit, a few weeks ago, I was starting to feel panic mode come on. Fortunately, everything came together rather quickly which delighted me to no end. All the shopping is done, wrapping done, shipping done, goodies baked, and plans are in place.
My dad flew in from California yesterday and we are excited to celebrate the season with him! Of course that means making him some special treats. So I baked a fresh batch of my sugar cut-outs, chocolate dipped macaroons, and of course whipped up some chocolate bark. I love spoiling him with tasty treats!
This chocolate bark is divine! So delicious and so addicting...just to warn you. That is why I have two versions to share with you. I just couldn't decide on one!The bulk of this recipe is coconut oil and raw cacao powder. You have control to be creative with your own add-in ideas as well as adjusting the maple syrup to fit your needs.
For the peppermint bark, I use TruJoy Candy Canes. They are organic, non-GMO, and are free from dyes and corn syrup. I found mine at New Seasons but they are sold at numerous other locations. Another key ingredient is to use some organic peppermint extract. You are just going to love this chocolate peppermint combination! So good and so festive!
You have more flexibility with add-ins if you are making the almond pistachio chocolate bark. For example, toasted coconut is a lovely addition. Dried goji berries or dried cranberries are a couple of good choices if you are craving a touch of fruit. You can also play around with the types of nuts you want to use. Hazelnuts, cashews, and peanuts work well. Adding sunflower or pumpkin seeds is another option. Just note if you are starting with raw nuts, you will want to roast them as they taste so much better in the bark. Toast your coconut as well. This can be done during the last 5 minutes of roasting the nuts as it doesn't take long for coconut to toast.
Besides tasting amazing, another great thing is you can make this bark in about 15 minutes and allow to harden in the freezer. Then chop it up into various sized pieces and devour! The bark needs to be stored in your refrigerator or freezer. Make up a batch for the holidays- your family and friends will love you for it!
Base Bark Recipe:
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
pinch sea salt
Almond Pistachio Bark:
1/2 cup raw or roasted almonds
1/2 cup raw or roasted pistachios
Other options: 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes, 1/4 cup dried goji or cranberries
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed candy canes (your preference)
Method for Almond Pistachio:
1. Line a small, rimmed baking sheet or 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. If your nuts are raw, you will want to roast them first. Preheat oven to 300°F and roast the nuts on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. If you are adding toasted coconut, stir that in with the nuts during the last 5 minutes of roasting as coconut cooks quickly. Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Pour the coconut oil into a medium bowl and add the raw cacao powder, maple syrup, and sea salt.
3. You will fold in half of the nuts (and any other add-ins you are using) into your coconut oil cacao powder mixture. Then pour the mixture onto your lined rimmed baking sheet or baking pan. Top with remaining nuts and add-ins. Freeze for 30-60 minutes.
4. Once your bark is firm, lift the bark out from the baking sheet or pan and chop into various shapes. Store the bark in the refrigerator or freezer.
Method for Peppermint Bark:
1. Line a small, rimmed baking sheet or 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Roughly crush the candy canes in various sized pieces and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Pour the coconut oil into a medium bowl and add the raw cacao powder, maple syrup, peppermint extract, and sea salt.
4. Pour the mixture onto your rimmed baking sheet or baking pan. Top with crushed candy canes. Freeze for 30-60 minutes. Once the bark is firm, chop into various sized pieces. Store the bark in the refrigerator or freezer.