HEALTHY CHOCOLATE HOLIDAY BARK
The only thing worse than showing up to a holiday party in an ugly sweater and discovering it's not an ugly sweater party? Showing up at a holiday party empty handed. (And, no, you cannot regift those horrible Christmas socks someone gave you last year!) Fortunately, I've got a holiday hack that will make you seem thoughtful and crafty: Healthy Chocolate Holiday Bark. It's festive, chock full of antioxidants, and it tastes delish! Bonus: you can assemble and refrigerate it before getting ready, and it will be ready to party by the time you've showered and dressed! The perfect last-minute gift!
Ladies And Gentleman, Fire Up Your Microwaves!
The wellness community often frowns upon microwaving food because it destroys micronutrients. Generally, I'm on board with this. But in this case, I'm making an exception for two reasons:
Unless you have an actual double boiler (I do not), rigging one can result in water droplets splashing into your chocolate, which can cause it to seize instead of melting.
We're making candy, people! Are micronutrients really a priority here?
That's why I melt the chocolate for my holiday bark in the microwave. It's quick. It's easy. And it doesn't require any special equipment. Just make sure you use an open, heat-proof container (Pyrex, not plastic) and don't overcook it. I like to start by nuking it for a minute on high, then stir to see how melty it is. Remember: chocolate holds its shape as it melts, which can be very deceptive! If you still have chunks after stirring, microwave in 10-15 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth.
More Topping Ideas
I love the salty taste of pepitas with the sweetness of goji berries and crispy coconut, but there's more than one festive way to top your Healthy Chocolate Holiday Bark. Here are some more combos to try:
Dried cranberries and pecans
Sliced almonds, freeze dried strawberry slices, and matcha powder (sprinkled on when the chocolate has almost set)
Dried cherries, cacao nibs, and an almond butter swirl
Freeze dried raspberries, pecans, and toasted coconut
Dried pineapple, coconut, and macadamia
Or, you could forget the holiday bark altogether and just go make my Paleo English Butter Toffee. There are no bad options here!
Serving + Storing Your Healthy Chocolate Holiday Bark
I purposely didn't add any oil to the chocolate so it would remain stable at room temperature. That said, I do recommend keeping your Healthy Chocolate Holiday Bark in the fridge until it's time to serve. Why? By the time you've covered a baking sheet with chocolate, it's only about 1/8" thick. Chocolate that thin melts quickly, and if you or your hostess has set your treat out on a plate in a heated, crowded room, your bark might get floppy. And that just ain't cute. So store it in the fridge so it keeps its shape as long as possible. Happy gifting!