DIY Custom Chocolate Bars-Perfect Oscar Night Snack!

Call me crazy, but I’m of the firm opinion that once you swap out processed, pre-prepared, pre-mixed, large-scale-factory-produced ingredients for fresh, high-quality ones, there is no such thing as “junk food.” Case in point: Triple-Seeded Chocolate Bark made with 85% dark chocolate and chia, sesame, and poppy seeds. Hershey’s, this ain’t; rather, we’re talking a minimum of sugar, a maximum of antioxidant chocolate, and the pleasantly crunchy addition of nutrient-rich seeds. That’s a far cry from sugar-addled milk chocolate combined with sugary, starchy wafers and artificial flavors. (Seeing as U.S. regulations only require milk chocolate to contain 10% cocoa concentration, the missing percentage is filled by sugar, oil, vegetable waxes, emulsifiers, thickeners, and a myriad of other not-so-healthy components.)

If you’re not a fan of super-dark chocolate, you could use 70% or 75% instead of 85%. Conversely, if you’re a rabid fan of dark chocolate, feel free to use 90%. Other good seed candidates would include sunflower or pumpkin seeds, although those will result in clusters rather than bark since sunflower and pumpkin seeds are so much bigger than chia, sesame, or poppy seeds. You could also go with flax or hemp seed if you’d prefer.

Triple-Seeded Chocolate Bark

1 T. poppy seeds

1 T. chia seeds

1 T. toasted sesame seeds*

3.5 ounces (100 grams) 85% dark chocolate

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Mix seeds together in a small bowl and set those aside.

Break chocolate up into smallish pieces, then place in a small saucepan over the lowest heat setting possible on your stove. Let chocolate slowly melt, stirring with a fork once in a while to help it melt more quickly. Pull it off the heat when there’s still a small lump or two in the pot, then stir again with fork to finish melting the pieces completely. (If you leave the chocolate on the heat until it’s completely melted, you run the risk of overheating it and causing it to seize.)

Pour half of the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, using a spatula to spread out the chocolate until it forms an evenly thin layer. (Note: you don’t want it so thin that you can see the foil through it.) Scatter with a thick layer of seeds. Pour remaining chocolate onto the seeds and pop the entire sheet into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to harden the chocolate.

Peel foil away from bark, then snap it into pieces, trying to handle it as little as possible to avoid melting it with the body heat coming from your hands. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.


* Store-bought sesame seeds are good, but freshly toasted ones are even better! It’s also cheaper to buy a large bag of raw seeds, keep them in the fridge, and then toast a batch whenever you want to use them. I buy a 12 oz. bag of raw seeds for $4 rather than a 2 oz jar of toasted seeds for $4.

To toast raw seeds, place them in a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. As soon as they turn golden brown and fragrant, tip them onto a cool plate. Let them sit until they’re completely cool before using or storing them. (If you spread them out on a large plate, they cool very quickly.)

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