What’s Poppin’ Dark Chocolate Bark
Just when you think you can keep up your health streak you may have taken on for the month of January, you are not in the clear yet my friends. Just ahead is the holiday that celebrates love….Valentine’s Day. All the sweets and treats that come along with this holiday, are filled with temptation for those with a sweet tooth, including myself. I know a lot of my friends are trying to do a sugar detox for several days/weeks, and it inspired me to attempt a recipe that would provide the chocolate fix, all the while staying on the natural side of sugars. I know that a lot of the natural sweeteners out there such as maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugars, are still sugars at the end of the day, but it brings me at ease to know that it is not refined, processed, or void of any vitamins, minerals or nutrients.
Over the years, I have played around with treats that use natural sweeteners, have embraced ‘real’ chocolate with raw cacao, and have successfully satisfied my sweet tooth in many ways. I’ve also introduced more healthy fats into my diet and find that the combination of raw cacao and fats (coconut oil or avocado) pair so well together and can make for a strong competitor against some dark chocolate sweets out there. I also have been inspired by the different textures of food, and trying to think outside of the box of how to prepare them. All this combined, I conjured up a recipe that I hope gives you the chocolate fix you may desire, knowing that you can still have sweets in a healthier manner. Check out my What’s Poppin’ Dark Chocolate Bark recipe below. I think the kicker for this recipe is the use of quinoa…yes, quinoa in dessert. I think this grain has rightfully gained its popularity due to its unique properties, including:
• it’s balanced with several vitamins and minerals (iron, phosphorus, vitamin E and B Vitamins)
• it’s a protein powerhouse, being the grain with the highest amount of protein (8 grams in 1 cup of quinoa)
• it is a complete protein
• is often compared to milk in regards to its calcium levels and its essential amino acid profile
• a good source of fibre
• is known to having healing properties for the kidney and heart
Quinoa is naturally bitter in flavour; however, most quinoa available today has been pre-washed, which eliminates the bitterness. Give it a try with my recipe below and let me know what you think!
INGREDIENTS – Makes 1 cup
1/2 cup of quinoa
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of coconut butter
1/2 cup of raw cacao powder
4-6 tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of almonds
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/4 cup of goji berries
- Warm up a pan, and put it on medium heat. Once you think that the pan is getting hot, take a pinch of quinoa and put it in the pan. Once the quinoa begins popping (stay close by to ensure you hear the popping), add the rest of the quinoa and have it evenly spread out in the pan.
- Once the quinoa starts popping, toss it around so that it gets evenly cooked. I often raise it off the heat while I toss it to make sure it doesn’t get too hot.
- You’ll know that the quinoa is ready once it releases a nutty smell, and has slightly darkened to a natural sand colour.
- Take the quinoa out of the pan and set aside.
- In a double broiler (or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water), add the coconut oil and coconut butter till it melts.
- Once melted, take it off the heat, and add in the raw cacao powder, maple syrup and a pinch of salt, mixing well to ensure all the ingredients are blended together.
- Add in the quinoa to the chocolate mix.
- Line a tray or a plate with parchment paper, and pour chocolate on top.
- Sprinkle the almonds, coconut and goji berries, and lightly press down on it to ensure the toppings are touching the chocolate.
- Place it in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour, till it has hardened.
- Break or chop it apart, and enjoy!
Be sure to keep it in the fridge so that the coconut oil and butter does not turn into liquid.