There is no denying that good dark chocolate is the quintessential perfect sweet treat for me. Not only is dark chocolate tasty but it is full of health benefits, and most times, in comparison to milk chocolate, it contains much less sugar and little to no dairy. I use Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate 88% Cocoa Bars, which I love not only because they are gluten-free and vegan, but instead of using refined white sugar, the sweetness in their bars comes from unbleached beet sugar. How cool is that?
Making my own dark chocolate bark has become one of my favorite things. You can add any topping you like and you can have so much fun with it. It is a great treat to bring to a dinner party and it makes for a really great gift, too. Package it up in a cute little box and you’ve got yourself the perfect handmade treat. You can add whatever you’d like, dried fruit, nuts, sea salt, or maybe even candy cane pieces for the holidays!
I thought toasted pumpkin seeds would be the perfect way to make this bark into a fun Halloween treat, and coarse sea salt on top of good dark chocolate may just be what dreams are made of. I included some fun spices in the bark that I think pair really well with the bitter bite from the dark chocolate and the salty crunch from the sea salt and pumpkin seeds. The smoked chipotle powder has a little spicy kick and a really nice subtle smoky flavor, plus I love the little flecks of red color on top. Feel free to leave the spices out, add more, or play around with your favorite.
Spicy Dark Chocolate Bark with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Sea Salt
12 ounces of gluten-free, vegan dark chocolate (I used Endangered Species 88% Dark Chocolate)
1/2 cup of hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/4 teaspoon of smoked chipotle powder, plus a bit extra
1/4 teaspoon of chile powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse grey sea salt (Fleur de sel)
Place the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over a medium heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds for about 3-5 minutes, until they jump around a bit in the pan. Set aside to cool.
Line the bottom of baking sheet with parchment paper leaving a small overhang. (I drizzle a small amount of oil on the pan first so the parchment paper will stay put and not wrinkle).
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot water, or in a microwave on low in 30-second bursts. Stir often with a rubber spatula so it melts evenly. Stir in the spices and half of the pumpkin seeds.
Pour the chocolate onto the baking sheet and smooth with a spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining pumpkin seeds and a pinch or two of additional smoked chipotle powder and the sea salt. Chill in the refrigerator until completely set, about 20-30 minutes, or in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Peel the bark off the parchment paper and break into irregular pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it is best in the first a couple of days but can be stored up to two weeks.
For more of Beth’s recipes visit her blog Tasty Yummies.
More healthy recipes from the BLDG 25 Blog.