Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ultra-Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Bark

This chocolate is inspired by two things.  First; the disgustingly, wonderfully, alarmingly addictive product known as Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate.  It is pure evil in a bag.  I fell victim to a bag of it once and resolved never to buy it again, lest I snack myself into a diabetic coma.  Second; I'm currently following the Clean Program by Alejandro Junger M.D. (more on that below).  No sugar is allowed on the Clean program, which rules out most commercial chocolates.  Coconut sugar, however, is game-on (in moderation, of course) which makes this recipe possible.  Apparently, coconut sugar is high in minerals and has a relatively low glycemic index, making it a pretty decent alternative sweetener.  I find it to be a lot less sweet than regular sugar.

In general, I try to use ingredients that aren't too high-brow, obscure, or expensive.  This recipe is something of an exception.  How many people have raw cacao powder and coconut sugar in their pantries?  Not that many.  These are boutique ingredients that, while wildly popular in health-food stores, tend to be absent from your run-of-the-mill market.  I will just say this - this chocolate is a super-treat! It's decadent and also highly nutritious.  In my opinion, totally worthy of a splurge.

Finally, this chocolate is DARK.  Dark, dark, dark, dark, dark.  If you're not into intensely dark, dirty chocolate, this is not the recipe for you.  You can still try it, but you may need to double the amount of sweetener.  Just be careful with the stevia;  too much stevia has a really strong aftertaste.


1/2 cup pure, unrefined coconut oil
2 - 4 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 1/3 cup raw cocao powder
1/4 tsp stevia powder - or to taste, optional

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 big fat pinch of salt
  • Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet, then spread evenly across baking sheet with a big pinch of salt. (Skip the toasting if you want to go totally raw.)
  • Melt coconut oil over low heat.  Remove from heat and sift in the cocao powder, coconut sugar, and stevia (if using).  Whisk until well incorporated, then drizzle evenly over toasted seeds.  (Don't expect the coconut sugar to dissolve completely.)
  • Place in freezer to set up (at least 10 minutes) then break into pieces and share or hoard.
This chocolate WILL melt in your fingertips.  If you live in a warm climate (you lucky devil) it may melt if it sits out for too long.  As there are no additives or stabilizers, this chocolate will pretty much act like coconut oil.  In other words - it's best enjoyed right out of the fridge or freezer.

A few more words on the Clean program.   If you go to the website, don't get scared away by the price.  They sell lots of kits, but they're just for lazy rich people convenience.  If you drop $15 bucks on the book, the entire program is outlined there; no fancy supplements or shake mixes required.  There's a fairly thorough description of the cleanse here if you're curious.   Basically, it's about eating cleanly and giving your digestive system a break. "Clean," in this case, refers to whole, natural, unprocessed, alkalizing foods. While "giving the digestive system a break" means (among other things) guarding a 12 hour window between the last meal of the day and breakfast of the next day.  In other words, if you eat dinner at 8 pm, you don't eat again until 8 am.  Not such a huge sacrifice, and amazingly beneficial for the digestive system. If you're looking for a cleanse, but are afraid of fasting, I highly recommend giving this a try.


  1. This recipe has become such a staple in both my mother and my house that the work bark has ceased to be associated with botany of any sort.

    Awesomest when super thin, which can be executed by squishing from the top with another piece of parchment paper and smoothing out with your palms. Fun to experiment with combinations of other toasted nuts and seeds and such (toasted shredded coconut). Also if you are interested in paying far too much money for a mushed up coconut, substituting most of the coco oil for "coconut mana" and omitting the coco sugar makes for a smoother bark that is less sweet and equally as decadent.

    1. I love it! Bark has a whole new meaning, that cracked me up. I'd never even heard of coconut mana, so thanks for the awesome heads up. Next time I feel like over-paying for mashed up coconut, I'll definitely grab a bag. haha. Happy chocolatiering Madi! And thanks for the comment :)