I have been making a batch of this chocolate bark every week and keeping it in the fridge, enjoying a few pieces each night as an after dinner treat. Silky and rich, with tons of different flavor nuances just like a good wine. With lots of polyphenols and antioxidants, dark chocolate is a healthy treat. Just make sure you’re eating 70% or higher cacao content to ensure that you’re reaping all the healthy benefits chocolate has to offer. Cacao has a specific antioxidant, epicatechin, that lowers the risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia. Some researchers even consider epicatechin an essential vitamin. It reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and elevates nitric oxide in the blood ( this is what Viagra does- no wonder chocolate is considered a love food) .
This bark is infinitely customizable and only takes about 5 minutes to put together. The one I made today was sesame seed (gives a savory quality to it, almost like chocolate covered pretzels), coconut flake, hemp seeds, pomegranate arils, flaky sea salt, and almonds. Almonds are my favorite nut to use because they give the biggest crunch payoff. Get a pretty tin to put it in and it makes a wonderful last minute gift, too.
Superfood Dark Chocolate Bark.
8 ounces or so (2-3 bars) dark chocolate, preferably 70% or above and organic (I prefer Scharffenbergers (not organic but no-gmo soy lecithin) or Green&Blacks)
Any or all of these healthy toppings:
coconut flakes (toasted or not)
almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or cashews
pomegranate arils, freeze dried raspberries or strawberries, dried cherries, goji berries, etc.
flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
Rig a double boiler: fill up a large saucepan halfway with water, then place a heatproof mixing bowl over the pot. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Start the water boiling and chop up your chocolate. It doesnt have to be super tiny pieces, just a rough chop will do fine. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (aka the best invention ever) or parchment paper. Now put all your chocolate in the bowl of your double boiler. Stir with a rubber spatula until thoroughly melted. Pour your chocolate onto your lined pan. Spread the chocolate out with your spatula until it is the thickness you desire. I like it thin so I spread it out a lot. Sprinkle all your desired toppings over. Pop in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up. Peel the chocolate carefully off of the silpat/parchment and break into coarse pieces. Store in the fridge or freezer for a snappier chocolate, or keep at room temperature (no hotter!) in an airtight container. If you give it as a gift it would be a good idea to seperate the pieces with parchment paper so they dont stick together.
My personal favorite: Scharffenberger 70% cacao. Their 85% is AMAZING too. Rich, nuanced chocolatey flavor with NO acrid/bitter flavors that I taste in many dark chocalates from other brands. Green & Blacks is my second choice, organic, and more widely available.