Make your own dark chocolate bark with this simple, versatile recipe. Add toasted quinoa and dried cherries or adapt to your own taste preferences for a delicious treat!
When the going gets tough, the tough eat chocolate – dark chocolate that is. While it’s a play on a familiar saying, there’s some truth it too. Keep in mind, turning to food isn’t the healthiest response to stress. But having a little dark chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt either, and studies are showing it can, in fact, help us deal with stress.
And since I’m a fan of dark chocolate (who isn’t?), that’s good news! Don’t you’ think so too? What’s more, nutritionally speaking, dark chocolate has a number of other good things going too. Just take a look at these nutritional perks:
- Good source of fiber, providing around 3 grams of fiber in a 1 ounce serving
- High in iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese
- Very high in antioxidants and a great source of flavanols – both of which are beneficial for good heart health.
It’s important to note, however, that chocolate does contain a fair amount of sugar and is high calories; so, we shouldn’t go binging on it anytime we feel stressed. But, keep it to an ounce or two daily and you can easily fit it into a balanced diet.
However, that’s not just any chocolate. We’re talking dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, preferably more. The higher the cocoa level, the less sweet it will be, but still more than satisfying. So read the food labels carefully when you buy dark chocolate, because the amount of cocoa varies considerably depending on the brand.
And you don’t have to have your dark chocolate all by itself! It’s easy to add other things like dried fruit, nuts, or seeds to provide more texture, flavor, and nutritional benefits. One of the easiest ways to do that is with homemade dark chocolate bark and add in your favorite extras – like toasted quinoa and dried cherries! Not sure how to make dark chocolate bark? I’ve got you covered with today’s recipe!
I love the addition of toasted quinoa to the dark chocolate. It adds a nice crispy crunch in every bite as well as a small dose of protein and fiber. And chopped dried cherries bring a burst of sweet but tart flavor that nicely complements the creamy chocolate. Those are my favorites, but you can use whatever dried fruit is your favorite or substitute chopped nuts or other seeds for the quinoa. The choice is yours!
How to Make Dark Chocolate Bark with Quinoa and Dried Cherries
- Gather the ingredients
- Dark chocolate chips – Read the label and choose one with at least 70% cocoa for the most health benefits.
- Quinoa – Any type will do…red, white…you get the idea.
- Dried cherries – Again, your choice on the brand. Look for brands with the least amount of added sugar.
- Coconut oil – You’ll see both refined and virgin coconut oils. Refined will have less coconut flavor than virgin, but the choice is yours as to which to use.
- Toast the quinoa
- This is easy to do on the stove top. Just pour the quinoa in a skillet and place it over medium heat for a few minutes till it starts to “pop” and turn a deeper color (golden brown for most). Watch carefully though and remove from heat as soon as it’s toasted as it can burn easily too.
- Melt the chocolate
- Chocolate melts best over lower heat levels. So, take your time and melt it on the stove top in the double boiler over medium-low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning too. And don’t let any water get into the chocolate as this can make it turn very grainy instead of smooth.
- No double boiler? Just take two sauce pans, one smaller than the other, and fill the larger one about 1/3 of the way full with water. Place a canning lid ring on the bottom of the larger pan (or something similar) to keep the smaller pan from touching the bottom. Place the smaller pan in the water and add the chocolate chips.
- Add the extras
- Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the quinoa and chopped dried cherries.
- Fill candy molds or spread on waxed paper
- For dark chocolate bark, just spread the mixture on waxed paper that’s been placed on a large baking sheet. Let cool and then break apart into bite sized pieces. Or you can fill candy molds with the chocolate mixture. Place it into the fridge to cool and then remove from the molds when completely chilled.
That’s all there is to it. Honestly, it sounds harder than it is. Go ahead, give it a try! And for other ideas on how to deal with stress (especially during the Holidays) take a look at these 9 ideas for handling stress during the holidays.
Dark Chocolate Bark with Toasted Quinoa and Dried Cherries
- ¼ cup toasted quinoa
- 10 ounce bag dark chocolate chips (about 1 ¾ cups)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. chopped dried cherries
- Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper or have candy molds ready.
- Toast the quinoa on the stove top by pouring into a skillet and toasting over medium heat until quinoa starts to "pop" and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Melt dark chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until all chocolate is melted and is smooth. Remove from heat, being careful not to get any water in the chocolate.
- Quickly stir in toasted quinoa and chopped dried cherries. Spread the chocolate mixture on a large pan lined with waxed paper or fill candy molds. Chill and break into bite-sized pieces or remove from candy molds. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.