My daughter has just discovered chocolate or “chocket.” I didn’t realise a little taste at the shopping centre would imprint her taste buds so quickly. Well, who am I kidding? She has half my DNA. She doesn’t seem to be too discerning either, she will scarf down dark chocket as quickly as milk chocket. “Chocket is good” is this two year-old’s new mantra. So, who I am to mess with her culinary voyage? Today, I am making chocolate bark. This version is vegan. Creamy. Rich. Decadent. Also, it is made with natural ingredients so no two year-old sugar highs followed by awesome sugar crashes. Praised be.
As it is the season to be festive, I add toasted pistachios, dried cranberries and coconut to the mix. With a touch of sea salt, this vegan christmas chocolate bark is a taste explosion. And pretty with its festive colours to boot.
A note on ingredients. I harp on about trying to live well without spending a fortune and the addition of cocoa butter is probably a massive contradiction at $16 for a 500g block. I did pause in the organics shop staring at the shelves for quite a while justifying my decision. I think the staff thought I was a bit mad. But here is how I figure it. It is $16 and I used about 15 % of it for this recipe, that $2.40. Not too bad. It’s Christmas after all. The balance will go to good use as I have a few desserts up my sleeve. Cherry Ripe Cheesecake anyone?
This bark needs to live in the freezer. In the absence of preservatives and stabilisers it melts pretty quickly. But that’s half the fun.
Vegan Christmas Chocolate Bark
1/2 cup cocoa butter (grating makes it easier to measure if you have a block)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao
1/4 cup maple
1/2 cup pistachios
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line a tray with parchment or baking paper and spread pistachios. Bake for 10 minutes and remove to cool. Line a brownie tray with baking paper, use a pan with sides not a cookie tray. In a small saucepan, on a low heat, melt together the cocoa butter, coconut oil and cacao. You want this to melt together slowly so it doesn’t separate. Stir slowly. When melted and combined, pour carefully in to your tray. Sprinkle over the pistachios, cranberries and coconut plus a good pinch of sea salt. Cover with foil and place on a level surface in the freezer. The chocolate will set properly in about an hour. Enjoy.