Friday, February 13, 2015

Dark Chocolate Bark with Craisins- Made with Coconut Oil!

I love chocolate...and I mean all forms. But, I am extremely addicted  fond of dark chocolate. Sure the health benefits of it certainly don't hurt and the bittersweet kick of flavor will always be one of my top contenders for favorite foods. Now, imagine my thrill when I came across a recipe for dark chocolate that uses coconut oil. I just needed to alter a few things for it to better fit my dietary needs as well as my flavor preferences. Oh, and it's almost Valentine's day, so right there, this needed to happen!

You're first going to want a nice glass 9x13 pan lined with heavy duty non stick foil. Make sure the foil goes up the edges, too. Then you'll need a small pot, rubber spatula, and a whisk in terms of hardware.

Next, have on the ready these ingredients

1 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp honey (local is a major bonus)
2 tbsp maple syrup (real stuff preferred, fake if you must but just be ready for it to be a sweeter chocolate if you don't taste test along the way)
4 tbsp cocoa powder ( I used Hershey's but any good quality kind will do.)
Coarsely ground sea salt about 1/2 tsp
2 1/2 tsps vanilla
1/2 tsp orange extract (Totally optional, but great w the dark chocolate notes. You can also try almond, or rum extracts in its place but start off with 1/4 tsp measurements.)
1 cup craisins or similar dried berries of your choice.

1. Melt coconut oil into the pot on the lowest heat setting until melted. It doesn't need to be boiling, in fact, just melted for best results.
2. Add in the cocoa powder, then the honey and maple syrup and whisk together gently. I suggest doing a taste test for sweetness. I don't need super sweet, but some do prefer it that way. If you need more sweetness, just gradually add in a tbsp of one or the other sweetener to reach your preference. Make sure everything is well mixed together but keep a gentle hand with the stiring.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the salt and vanilla. Stir well with the whisk but do not build up a froth.
4. Spread the dried berries onto the bottom of the foil lined pan and then pour the melted chocolate over it. You will want to spread it around a bit to make sure everything gets coated and then just gently tap the pan on the counter to remove bubbles and even out your chocolate layer.
5. Cover with foil and set in the fridge to get the oil to harden up. (Or if you are in this frigid temp trend, just pop outside for about a half hour, not even kidding.)
6. When hardened, gently lift foil and break the chocolate as you go into bite size pieces.
7. Due to the nature of coconut oil, you are going to want to keep this refrigerated, so make sure to store in a nice airtight container. If you don't the chocolate will melt if your house is warm or if it's in a rather warm zone. There will also be some spots where the oil may separate from the mix. That's ok, and you can just shave it off, or enjoy it as is.

And that is it! This kind of chocolate melts in your mouth, and your hands as well, so savor it but don't handle it for too long either! The bitter kick of the dark chocolate married with the sweetness of the dried berries and touch of citrus is a fantastic combination. Then that finish of sea salt just truly brings it all together. In a word, heavenly ;)