Desserts

Holiday Table: Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

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Yep, I said the “C” word: Candy! Gasp. I haven’t had a piece of candy with white refined sugar in what truly feels like ages! But sometimes, somewhere; we are all allowed to make an exception albeit in very, very small amounts. And by small amounts I mean crushed candy cane bits for the chocolate bark topping, (as opposed to choking on candy cane after candy cane in an apparent holiday binge). Let’s face it- am not about to try and make my own refined sugar free candy canes. That & there’s only 10 more days until Christmas morning & excitement + work load is starting to build.

So let’s get festive… I have shared in past recipes my magic formula for what I think is the best homemade dark chocolate. It has 3 key components: deodorized coconut oil (so you can’t smell or taste the coconut), pure raw cacao as opposed to more processed cocoa & amber grade pure maple syrup as opposed to refined white sugar. This makes for a dark & decadent chocolate bite that’s not only delicious, but good for you, too. It’s entirely dairy free and has no artificial ingredients. It’s also packed with antioxidants and has that little sugar kick we often crave mid-afternoon or late at night.

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So how to make this chocolate extra special & creamy so the bark does not get runny or frosty? Add a tablespoon of almond, sunflower or hazelnut butter. If you ask me which one tastes better, that would be hazelnut butter! Hazelnut butter pairs wonderfully well with chocolate. I even found a nut blend that’s a mixture of almond & hazelnut butter & that also worked wonders with this recipe. It’s got good fats & that creaminess we all crave. It gives chocolate that nice, binding effect & they hold together fairly well.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

  • Servings: 6-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup of good quality coconut oil (you could use deodorized coconut oil to avoid a coconut smell or taste)
  • 1/2 cup of raw cacao
  • 4-5 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (to start, do a little taste test & you can decide on more)
  • 1 tbsp of almond, sunflower OR hazelnut butter
  • 1/3 cup of crushed candy canes

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot to low heat and melt the coconut oil on the stove.
  2. Once melted, slowly whisk in the maple syrup.
  3. Add the nut butter of your choice and continue mixing.
  4. Finally, add the raw cacao and whisk well.
  5. Do a quick taste test and decide whether it needs more sweetener.
  6. Allow the mixture to cool. It should look like a glossy, uniform paste. It will thicken further once it cools.
  7. Pour it onto a pyrex or pan lined with parchment paper so it won’t stick.
  8. Place in the freezer for 30 mins. Once it starts to harden, sprinkle the candy cane topping. (If you sprinkle it while it’s still warm and very much a liquid, the candy cane will sink into the chocolate.)
  9. Put back in the freezer for at least 2-3 hours or overnight for best results.
  10. Thaw 10-15 mins before eating & cut into squares.

Recipe appears in Spanish below.

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Cuadros de Chocolate con Menta

Ingredientes

  • 1/2 taza de aceite de coco
  • 1/2 cup taza de cacao puro sin procesar
  • 4-5 cucharadas de jarabe puro de maple (para comenzar, si son de diente dulce, pueden usar 5-6)
  • 1 cucharada de mantequilla de almendras o de avellanas
  • 1/3 taza de bastones de menta machacados

Instrucciones

  1. En una olla se calienta el aceite de coco a fuego lento.
  2. Se le agrega el jarabe de maple y se mezcla muy bien.
  3. Luego se agrega la mantequilla de almendras o avellanas y se mezcla hasta disolver.
  4. Finalmente agregamos el cacao puro y se mezcla muy bien hasta conseguir una pasta uniforme. Cuando esta se vuelve espesa y brilla, ya esta lista.
  5. Se remueve la olla del calentador y se deja enfriar por 5-10 mins
  6. Se vierte la mezcla en un pyrex o molde que esta alineado (al fondo y los lados) con papel de pergamino para que no se pegue el chocolate.
  7. Se pone en el freezer por 30 mins y luego se saca y se le deja caer los bastones de menta machacados de topping.
  8. Se congela toda la noche o por lo menos por 2-3 horas.
  9. Descongelar 10-15 minutos antes de servirlo y cortar en recuadros. Esta receta produce 6 recuadros grandes o 12 party size.

Que lo disfruten!

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