Today’s snow was not the first of the season, but it was the first that felt like a legitimate “snow day”: accumulation as high as the tops of my boots, the sight of my neighbors’ kids flinging snowballs at each other downstairs, and an entire afternoon spent sipping ginger tea atop my radiator. It was cozy, and nostalgic, and it made me (weirdly) a little homesick, but all things considered there’s a magic to this kind of weather. And to make things even more magical, I decided to make chocolate.
Yes. As promised, another sweet treat in time for the eve of St. Valentine. This chocolate bark is easy to prepare, sweet, and delicious. And just for fun (inspired by some chocolate bark that my friend Beth gave me around the holidays), I decided to make things a little colorful with the addition of dried cranberries, and a little crunchy with the addition of hemp seeds.
This recipe depends on cocao butter, an ingredient I mentioned in this post (also a tribute to my friends Lisa and Nicole, who taught me anything/everything I know about making raw chocolate). Cocoa butter can be found in some health food stores or online (I get it on Amazon). It is expensive, but it also goes a long way. The 175 grams used in this recipe (just over 3/4 cup, melted) creates about 3-4 cups of chocolate bark (way more than you’ll ever get out of a high end chocolate bar), and I’ve still got a ton of butter left in my bag. So, it’s an investment. If you love chocolate as much as I do, and you’re interested in making your own, it’s an ingredient well worth trying.
You’ll also need a good old fashioned baking sheet that’s lined with tinfoil, to make the bark on. Nothing fancy.
Once you mix the chocolate base, you simply pour it onto the sheet:
And then sprinkle it with the cranberries and hempseeds:
If you’re work space is cool enough, the bark will solidify on its own (I was working by my window, so it didn’t take long). But I suggest you pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so before you break it apart:
And just like that, you’ve got a delectable tray of chocolate on your hands.
Here’s the recipe.
- 175 grams (solid) cocoa butter (just over 3/4 cup after melting)
- 1/2 + 1/3 cups raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup agave nectar (you can adjust this to your taste, and also substitute coconut nectar if you like)
- Pinch sea salt (maybe 1/8 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1. Melt the cocoa butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, or over a double boiler.
- 2. Pour the melted cocoa butter into a mixing bowl. Add the cacao powder, agave, sea salt, and vanilla, and whisk till the ingredients are totally smooth.
- 3. Pour the chocolate mixture onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes (I suggest keeping the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer before you pour--it'll give the chocolate a head start on solidifying).
- 4. Sprinkle the chocolate with the cranberries, then with the hempseeds.
- 5. Transfer the chocolate to the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove it and break it into pieces with your hand. Enjoy.
- Chocolate will keep in the fridge (it melts easily, so don't keep it out of the fridge) for at least three weeks. Not that it'll last that long.
If you’d like to give the chocolate as a gift, you can wrap it up in a pastry box:
Or gift it in a reused glass jar:
Either way, it looks really pretty. And it tastes rich, sweet, and decadent. I hope you love it. If you like, you can flavor it with spices like cinnamon or cayenne, add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt to the top, add a superfood powder (like maca or lucuma or mesquite), or mix up the nuts/seeds/dried fruit you use. This is a forgiving, adaptable recipe, and you can definitely make it your own.
Have a lovely evening, everyone, and happy Valentine’s day. When I post weekend reading, I’ll be in New Orleans with the bestie. And the weather forecast will look something like this:
I’m leaving my parka here.