Dark Chocolate Trail Mix Bars
I love chocolate covered dried cherries.
I love chocolate covered almonds.
I love toasted dried coconut dipped in chocolate.
I love trail mix... but I love it more when there are chocolate chunks in it.
Pretty much I love chocolate-anything.
I often have a square of chocolate in the evening sometime after dinner. Usually because dinner has either onion or garlic (or both!), and as much as I love those two ingredients they can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth. I feel chocolate cuts right through that. Plus it's creamy. And yummy. And it released endorphins: those happy hormones. I love chocolate.
I didn't make these bars for myself, though. But I did make extra for myself. Obviously.
Robin and I just moved into a new apartment, and his folks helped a bunch throughout the process. As a "thank you" we were considering buying chocolate... but as if they can't go out and buy it for themselves. So I decided to make this behemoth of a chocolate bar instead.
Look at the size of this thing!
That's 200 g of chocolate in each bar. Not to mention the added weight from the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. To put that in perspective, a Mars bar is 53 g. But this is pure dark chocolate, without all the added processed ingredients in commercial chocolate bars.
This is a heavy duty piece of cocoa goodness with about 10 servings per bar... if you have the power to potion and save it, that is.
Now, to wrap it and make it look pretty as a present:
Dark Chocolate Trail Mix Bars
▸ ▹ Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Yield: 2 chocolate bars, 20 servings Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 30 min
INGREDIENTS: Chocolate Bar
1/3 cup (45 g) raw almonds, quartered*
3 Tbsp (20 g) dried cranberries, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp (30g) raw pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tsp raw pumpkin seeds
2 tsp goji berries (or sub for more dried cranberries)
Place a layer of wax or baking paper on the bottom of two 13x19 cm dishes (I used my IKEA glass food containers for this - feel free to use a food container with other dimensions). Roughly chop 200 g of chocolate and place in a clean and dry glass bowl. Note: be sure no water droplets come in contact with the chocolate.
Temper the chocolate by placing in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, removing each time to stir well, and placing back in the microwave for another 10 seconds. Do this until the chocolate has just completely melted, about 40-60 seconds. Note: the heat from the sides of the glass bowl are often enough to continue melting the chocolate, so stir well each time you remove it from the microwave. Be cautious not to over-heat, as this can burn (“scorch”) the chocolate. Also note: you can use the stove to melt the chocolate, but I prefer the microwave as it decreases the risk of scorching.
Pour half the melted chocolate into one glass dish, and the other half in the other glass dish, using the back of a clean, dry spoon or spatula to evenly distribute the chocolate into a thin layer on the wax paper. Place in the freezer to harden.
Roast the almonds in a small pan on medium-high heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Roast until lightly golden, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and set aside. Note: the almonds continue to roast even after removed from the heat, so don’t over-cook.
Roast coconut flakes in a small pan on medium-high until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Note: be cautious as this too can quickly burn, and the flakes continue to roast even after removed from the pan.
Remove the chocolate from the freezer and equally distribute the roasted almonds, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds on top of the chocolate layer.
Roughly chop and temper the remaining 200 g of chocolate in the microwave. When melted, drizzle the chocolate evenly overtop of the trail mix.Using the back of a clean and dry spoon, gently distribute the chocolate evenly.
Sprinkle the top with the roasted coconut flakes, goji berried, and remaining pumpkin seeds. Place in the freezer for another 10 minutes to harden.
Remove from the freezer and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
*Speed-it-up: you can use pre-roasted almond to quicken this recipe, or roast in the oven if you prefer.
Variations: feel free to u se other combinations of roasted nuts, dried fruit, or seeds.
Storage: in an airtight container.
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