Does your sweetheart have a sweet tooth (like mine does)? This Valentine's day, why not skip the box of overpriced junky candy and make some dark chocolate bark with sensual salted caramel instead?
As a general rule, us modern-day humans really don't need added sugar. But if you're anything like me, you're probably going to eat some sweets anyway. So to avoid the white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, nasty preservatives and other toxic ingredients in modern cookies and candy, I prefer to make my own whenever possible.
The homemade salted caramels in this recipe are made using honey and unrefined cane sugar which – unlike white sugar and corn syrup – provide essential minerals. Cream and butter from grass-fed cows contribute healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins. The touch of mineral-rich sea salt balances the sweetness, making this treat satisfying with only a small piece or two.
Macadamia nuts are not only delicious and nutritious, but unlike most nuts and grains they do not need to be soaked and dried to remove phytic acid. As such, they bring extra convenience to this already simple recipe.
As for chocolate, the darker the variety the more of a “health food” you are consuming. Milk chocolate typically has a high sugar content and contains milk powder, which is high in oxidized-cholesterol and should be avoided.
Good quality chocolate will contain cacao, cocoa butter, and unrefined sugar. Raw cacao is rich in micro-minerals including iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc. The antioxidant components of dark chocolate are said to contribute to heart health, cancer prevention, and improved mood.
Some folks will be more sensitive than others to the caffeine that is naturally present in chocolate, but when consumed in moderation, the health benefits of chocolate are well worth it – especially when combined with the joy of it melting in your mouth.
Dark chocolate bark ingredients
- 1 pound dark chocolate, chopped – buy organic, fair-trade chocolate here
- ½ cup chopped salted caramels – learn how make your own with real food ingredients
- ½ cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped – get raw, sprouted nuts here
Dark chocolate bark method
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate until smooth.
- Stir in the chopped macadamia nuts, reserving a few tablespoons for finishing.
- Pour the mixture onto the pan and spread into an even layer (it won't cover the whole pan).
- Drop the chopped caramels fairly evenly over the chocolate (mixing them in the warm chocolate will cause them to melt).
- Sprinkle reserved chopped nuts over the top.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until set.
- Cut or break the bark into 1 inch pieces and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Happy Valentine's Day!
How will you celebrate this day of love?