When I was little, I loved Cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate. The crunchy nuts, the chewy raisins…I don’t eat Cadbury’s anymore, but I wanted to recreate that memory and taste.

The superfood chocolate bark was born. Toasted almonds and cranberries or rainsins in chocolate…oh my! It’s a winner with my whole family too. So I make this everytime I make chocolate.

It’s the easiest thing to do. Really! 15 minutes of your time and voila, you have chocolate. You can then become creative by adding all sorts of things into it and putting it in different moulds and just dying in chocolate heaven.

A quick repeat of why this is a superfood –

Cacao butter – Cacao butter contains lots of healthy oils, just like coconut oil, which could keep your heart and brain healthy. It gives your mood a boost (chocolate does that!)

It contains vitamin D which helps in calcium absorption in the bones. It also has cocoa polyphenols which help to prevent chronic disease, immune disorders and boosts our immune system. This is a vitamin that many of us are deficient in so get it in any form you can.

Raw cacao – has much of the same benefits (or even more than) cacao butter. It is good for your mood (could help with depression), skin, heart and brain. Raw cacao is rich in flavanols and increased flavanol intake have been shown to improve type 2 diabetes symptoms.

It fights inflammation and has antioxidant effects, therefore helping to prevent cancer. It is antibacterial and, surprisingly, could improve oral health!

Maple syrup – contains up to 24 antioxidants! These help to reduce the oxidative stress that we are all subject everyday in this toxic world. Reduction of this kind of stress on our cells helps to prevent inflammation, therefore preventing heart disease, cancer, arthiritis, respiratory diseases, etc.

Would you also believe that maple syrup could have therapeutic benefits in diabetes?

It contains zinc and manganese in high amounts. Zinc helps in keeping your immune system strong and healthy, and manganese is wonderful for your brain.

Almonds – are loaded with biotin, vitamin E and copper. That means they reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Make sure you choose the ones with the skin on as this has antioxidant flavonoids. This, along with the vit E they contain increases the antioxidant level.

They also contain manganese, magnesium, copper and vitamin B2. These help with improving our energy levels and at the same time relaxing us. Be aware though that with certain conditions like pyroles, you do need to lower your intake of copper.

Cranberries – These little babies are full of Vitamin C, fibre and manganese. They also have Vitamin E and K. They have more than 24 antioxidants that help with keeping your heart healthy, prevent cancer and maintain oral health.

Fresh is best, always. However, sometimes, you have to settle for second best, dried cranberries. Make sure you choose one that isn’t full of sugar. There are other options, like the ones sweetened with apple juice instead or just plain tart ones!

Finally, be creative. There are endless ways to change up your basic chocolate recipe – add chilli, mint, orange oil, turmeric, use the melted chocolate as a dip, go here to make some easter eggs, I sometimes make a rocky road with it (with homemade marshmallows), use it to decorate cakes and biscuits…so many ideas. Go crazy.

Superfood chocolate bark

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert, easy snack, healthy snack
Keyword: chocolate, dairy free, easy, gluten free, nutrient dense, processed sugar free, vegan

Ingredients

Basic chocolate recipe

  • 300 gms cacao butter
  • 150 gms maple syrup
  • 150 gms raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or essence or paste (optional)

Bark

  • 1/4 cup roasted, slivered almonds add any nut you like, but make sure you lightly roast them before you add them to the chocolate
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries add more if you want

Instructions

Basic chocolate recipe

  • Put the cacao butter in a bowl and use a steamer to melt it (uncovered)
  • Once the cacao has melted, turn the stove off and add the maple syrup and whisk with a fork or a small whisk, till combined evenly
  • Then add the raw cacao powder, tablespoon by tablespoon, whisking all the time. The mixture will begin to thicken. At this point, cool a bit of chocolate and taste it - add more of the cacao powder or sweetner if you think it needs it.
  • Add vanilla (if using)

Bark recipe

  • Line a large flat dish (or even an oven tray would do) with parchment paper
  • Pour the hot chocolate in the parchment paper and swirl it around. Make sure it isn't too thin (around 1/4 of an inch is good)
  • Sprinkle the almonds (or any nuts you want) and the cranberries
  • Place the chocolate in the fridge for around 3-4 hours, until it hardens
  • Pop the hard chocolate onto a chopping board and chop using a sharp knife...or just break into pieces
  • Store in an air tight container in the fridge for upto 3 weeks
REFERENCES
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Martin MA, Goya L, Ramos S. Potential for preventive effects of cocoa and cocoa polyphenols in cancer. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013;56:336–351. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2013.02.020

De Araujo QR, Gattward JN, Almoosawi S, Silva Md, Dantas PA, De Araujo Júnior QR. Cocoa and Human Health: From Head to Foot–A Review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(1):1–12. doi:10.1080/10408398.2012.657921

Abbey M, Noakes M, Belling GB, Nestel PJ. Partial replacement of saturated fatty acids with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. Am J Clin Nutr 1994 May;59(5):995-9. 1994. PMID:16240.

Chen CY, Milbury PE, Lapsley K, Blumberg JB. Flavonoids from almond skins are bioavailable and act synergistically with vitamins C and E to enhance hamster and human LDL resistance to oxidation. J Nutr. 2005 Jun;135(6):1366-73. 2005. PMID:15930439

Durlach J. Commentary on recent clinical advances: almonds, monounsaturated fats, magnesium and hypolipidaemic diets. Magnes Res 1992 Dec;5(4):315. 1992. PMID:16250

Côté J, Caillet S, Doyon G et al. Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their biological properties. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Aug;50(7):666-79. 2010.

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