Delicious Dark Chocolate Holiday Bark

Who doesn’t love chocolate?! It is definitely one of my weaknesses, but luckily there are some health benefits to dark chocolate. I can’t say the same for milk chocolate, as a lot of it is filled with sweeteners like glucose/sucrose/corn syrup and processed milk ingredients that can cause weight gain, blood sugar dysregulation and and inflammation.

Dark chocolate that is over 70% cocoa is full of iron, magnesium and antioxidants; not to mention that there are actually studies out there saying that people who consume dark chocolate (in moderation) tend to be happier – sounds like a win-win to me!  When choosing your chocolate please choose ethically produced (look for “fair trade” or “direct trade” certifications on the label) so you are supporting fair pay and proper work environments.  That all said, here’s a way to enjoy some guilt-free delicious chocolate this season. 

Ingredients: 
2 cups dark chocolate chips (I use the cocoa camino brand which are fair trade and dairy-free)
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I used Patience Fruit & Co. organic cranberries sweetened with apple juice) 
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)

Directions:
Pour the chocolate chips into a stainless steel mixing bowl.
Fill a pot halfway with water & bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium and place the bowl on top of the pot of water (note: be sure the bowl is larger than the pot so it sits on top).
Use a spatula to stir the chocolate until it’s completely melted.
Line a pan or baking dish with parchment paper and pour the melted chocolate into it.
Use the spatula to spread the chocolate evenly around the pan.
Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and dried cranberries onto the chocolate; then lightly press them down into the chocolate. 
Sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt – this is optional but I personally love a salty chocolate so I always add it in.
Place in the fridge or freezer to cool for about 30 minutes.
Once hardened, but the bark into pieces and store in a glass container – or in a nice Christmas tin to give as a gift 🙂

 

This year I paired this dark chocolate with Spelt Molasses Ginger cookies (from the Oh She Glows website) in a nice Christmas tin to give as gifts. Not only do people enjoy a delicious treat, it’s also a great way to cut back on consumerism and gift giving that hurts our planet. With all this positive movement around climate change, however small a gesture we should all try to do our part. Try to give mindfully this year, avoid plastic packaging, wrap your presents in Christmas flyers & newspapers instead of buying new shiny wrapping paper, and/or reuse old Christmas bags & bows.

Let me know how you like these delicious treats 🙂

Happy Holidays and all the best for 2020!

Dr. Ali