Since I have been raving about this dark chocolate bark for so long, I figured it was about time I pass along the recipe. Here it is:
Also, there is a video demonstration within the blog post (also embedded below) to show just how easy this recipe is. Don’t be fooled by the time on the video…it’s only that long because she is taking the time to coach you on how to make it. It’s actually pretty quick to make.
SHOP Recipe Hacks
Lauren and I follow the instructions to the “T”, but we did make two ingredient substitutions (not because they weren’t good, but because these two subs save us even more time and reduce the sugar content).
- Instead of macadamia nuts, try pistachios (shelled, dry roasted and salted). Macadamia nuts are so big that you’ll want to chop them up, which takes time. Subbing pistachios, which are fairly small, requires no chopping.
Instead of dried cranberries, try dried blueberries. Trader Joe’s sells them with no added sugar, and since they are tiny you can just sprinkle them in.
In case you were concerned about the health properties of this snack, don’t worry…I’m covering that below. My only advice is to not go crazy with the amount you are eating. Due to the healthy fat content of this bark, it will be more calorically dense than other healthy snacks. Just eat one square per day.
OK, now here is each ingredient as well as why you should eat it:
Dark Chocolate (aka “Cacao”)
Cacao contains compounds called flavanoids (the type specific to cacao is called flavanols). These flavanols are pretty powerful. According to Dr. Jonny Bowden, flavanols “prevent fatlike substances in the bloodstream from clogging the arteries. When you reduce the blood’s ability to clot, you also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.” Reduced risk of heart attacks and stroke? Yes please. The benefits don’t stop there. Dr. Bowden also mentions that cacao can decrease blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity. Regarding insulin sensitivity, Precision Nutrition says the following:
Cacao is also rich in magnesium, which is one of the most important minerals for heart health.
WARNING: don’t be fooled by candy bars that claim to be dark chocolate…look for a percentage of cacao to be prominently displayed on the package (the higher the better…I recommend 90%)
you can buy this exact bar at Walmart, right across the parking lot from the SHOP!
Coconut, whether it’s shredded coconut, coconut oil, or coconut milk, was considered a bad food for a long time due to its high saturated fat content. While it is true that most of the fat in coconut is saturated, this isn’t a bad thing. The saturated fat found in coconut is classified as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s). Research has shown that MCT’s are preferentially metabolized rather than stored in the body. This means they are a potent source of energy for our bodies. Also, most of the MCT’s in coconut are a specific type known as lauric acid, which is both antiviral and antimicrobial, making it valuable to improving our immunity. If that wasn’t enough, coconut just tastes delicious.
Pistachios, and other nuts, were also vilified in the past for their fat content. However we now know that the fats found in pistachios can actually reduce the risk of coronary heart disease as well as help you prevent weight gain. Additionally, pistachios contain beta-sitosterol, which is known not only for lowering cholesterol but also for supporting prostate health. And if that isn’t enough, pistachios are also high in vitamin E, specifically in the form of gamma-tocopherol (which may have even more health benefits than the more common alpha-tocopherol) and contain magnesium, phosphorus, and trace amounts of other minerals and vitamins. I’m sold.
It seems as though the health properties of blueberries are widely known and maybe even considered old news, but that doesn’t diminish just how powerful these little guys are. Just take a look at some of the highlights:
- Contain compounds like anthocyanin that are both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory…and inflammation and oxidative stress are involved in virtually every major killer disease (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, just to name a few)
- Contain other compounds called polyphenols that can improve neural signaling and slow the impairment of motor coordination and memory
- Blueberries have been tested to have one of the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of any food ever measured
- Contains a beneficial compound called pterostilbene, which can regulate fatty acid metabolism and prevent the deposition of plaque in the arteries.
Bowden, J., Ph.D. (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
Video demonstration from Michelle Tam