Monday, December 6, 2010

Dark Chocolate Holiday Bark

Looking for a holiday gift but tired of the same old snowman mug, candy cane scented candle or bottle of wine? Here's an easy, no fail recipe that will help you give thanks to all the important people in your life without breaking the bank. This Dark Chocolate Holiday Bark is my go-to recipe this year, replacing some very memorable seasons of homemade granola, spiced nuts and creatively decorated sugar cookies. It is a delicious and decadent treat, but it has some reedeeming qualities since it is light on the sugar and fat, which can be the evil weight gain combination, especially during the holiday season. Since my recipe contains antioxidant rich dark chocolate, heart healthy pecans and cancer fighting cranberries, it is something that you can feel ok indulging in, just at long as you do it in moderation and don't go crazy. Starting around mid December I try to keep a supply of my homemade treats in a basket on my counter just in case I need to instantly reciprocate with a neighbor who may be standing at my front door delivering freshly baked fruitcake.

One of things that I love about gifting homemade treats is picking out cute containers to store them in. You can showcase your creations on a pretty holiday plate or arrange it in festively decorated take out containers, gift bags or tins and use last years' holiday cards to create cute little gift tags. No need to get elaborate, just have fun with the presentation, even involving your kids in the process - especially if you are preparing gifts for your awesome sitter, Susie's unbelievably patient teacher, and the school bus driver, who is thankfully always running a few minutes late. Check out Target, Walmart and even online sites like Oriental Trading Company for container ideas.

Dark Chocolate Holiday Bark

12 Ounces Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Morsels

3/4 C chopped, toasted pecans

3/4 C dried cranberries

  • Melt chocoate in microwave in a large Pyrex measuring cup for 1 minute and stir.
  • Microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Mix half of the pecans and half of the cranberries into the melted chocolate and stir.
  • Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, using a spatula to spread it out, careful not to make it too thin.
  • Sprinkle remaining pecans and cranberries onto the chocolate, pressing them down with a spatula.
  • Put tray in freezer for 1 hour to harden chocolate. Then peel from wax paper and break into pieces. Enjoy!


Liz said...

Can anything be substituted for the pecans?

Dee Merritt, N.C. (Nutritional Merritt) said...

I prefer pecans but you can substitute pistachios, almonds or walnuts in the recipe. Just be sure to chop the nuts before you add them to the chocolate so that they are not huge pieces. You can also omit the nuts entirely and just use the cranberries if there is a nut allergy.

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