Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed, and Strawberry Dark Chocolate

Homemade Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed, and Strawberry Dark Chocolate Bark

I eat dark chocolate practically every day and I love it. I love it because a) it’s delicious and b) it’s good for me (in moderation of course, hehe).

Dark chocolate contains magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc, potassium, fiber, antioxidants, contributes to heart health, has been said to lower blood pressure, and, most importantly, it makes me happy (check out this article, by the way, it discusses the ‘chemistry of chocolate’ and goes into the idea of chocolate as being able to give us a ‘happy-high’).

But there’s one thing about chocolate that I’m not that hot about: the fact that it contains sugar… I know, I know. There are sugar-free chocolates out there – chocolates sweetened with stevia, sucralose, erythritol, and/or xylitol. I think most of them are kind of gross though. Sorry if you like them, I’ve just ended up throwing out so many of them because of their wack aftertaste that I stopped looking for one that actually tastes good.

What I regularly buy is dark chocolate. I like to go for the highest possible percentage – from 75% all the way to 100%, to ensure it has less of the sugar and more of the cocoa and antioxidant benefits.

Recently though, my chocolate world has changed dramatically.

It changed the moment I discovered how to ‘bark’ (i.e. make chocolate with a bunch of other stuff added to it) my own chocolate.

Homemade Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed, and Strawberry Dark Chocolate Bark

Here are the benefits of making your own chocolate bark:

1. You end up eating a lot more nutrition-dense natural foods – like nuts, seeds, and fruit – in that way creating a far more nutritious bar of chocolate.
2. You get to play with your flavors and add dimension after dimension of madness to your chocolate!
3. You end up eating less chocolate per bite (so, less sugar). This is great if you have a tendency to eat too much chocolate at once.
4. The texture you get is ludicrous – from crunchy to soft to chewy to smooth to WAAAA!
5. You can add a protein to your chocolate too (e.g. by adding lots of protein-rich nuts or, better yet, chunks of protein bar to the bark or bits of protein cake!)

I’ve included a list of things you can add to your chocolate at the bottom of this post; check it out.

I honestly have no idea why it’s taken me so long to start doing this with my chocolate. It’s probably because of the fact that I’m a creature of habit and to me chocolate has always meant pure chocolate, in either a bar of chip-form.

Homemade Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed, and Strawberry Dark Chocolate Bark

This is crazy though. ‘Barking’ my own chocolate has opened my world to so many different and crazy chocolate combinations! Like this one. Check it out:

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 14.29.50 Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 14.30.53Ingredients

40 grams of dark chocolate – see my Note below for a killer recommendation (figuratively speaking of course, I’m not extending a list of recommended assassins to you, unless you mean assassins of blandness and culinary boredom, har har har)
1 handful of pistachio nuts
2 tbsps of freeze-dried strawberries
1 handful of pumpkin seeds

Directions

1. Melt your chocolate.
2. Add the melted chocolate to a bowl, along with the rest of your ingredients.
3. Chuck it all in a silicone bread pan (I recommend the one I have – this one – because it’s the size of a large chocolate bar! But you can use any pan you like; do try to use silicone though because the chocolate pops right out of it when it sets and it’s super easy to clean afterwards!).
4. Sprinkle the top with some extra strawberries (or whatever you’re adding to your chocolate bark), this is just so it looks pretty on top as opposed to just brown.
4. Leave it to set in the fridge overnight.
5. Ready! Slice it into rectangles and pack it up to take with you to work, school, etc!

Homemade chocolate bark, by the way, is a GREAT snack for kids because you can pack their chocolate up with lots of healthy ingredients and mix it up every week! You can also get them involved in making it because it’s super easy and a lot of fun to make – and eat.

Important PS: I created an album on Facebook called POWBARK to catalogue all our amazing barks and allow you guys to gain inspiration from not just me, but also from your fellow Pow readers. So take a photo of your chocolate bark, send it to me at facebook.com/proteinpow, tag it as #powbark or tag me (@proteinpow) on Instagram, or email to anna@proteinpow.com and I’ll post it on the facebook album and tag you (and your website or blog, if you have one).

I look forward to seeing your chocolate creations!

Homemade Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed, and Strawberry Dark Chocolate Bark
Let me walk you through some variations so you can get inspired when you make your first (of what will likely be hundreds) of chocolate barks:

Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds
Nuts: macadamia nuts, almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts
Fruit: freeze dried strawberries, freeze dried raspberries, freeze dried bananas, fresh chopped-up figs, fresh chopped-up apricots or peaches or pears or pineapples
Protein: chunks of protein bars, chunks of protein cakes, chunks of protein cookies
Other: coconut flakes, chunks of nut butter, jasmine, rosemary, pepper, cocoa nibs, espresso beans

POWBARK
UK Note

The chocolate I’ve been using recently to make everything from protein bars to protein brownies cakes and crazy oats is this 85% one from Muscle Food. I’ve also gotten their 75% which is just as tasty but I prefer the 85%. Both have a phenomenal nutty flavor and amazing ‘cinnamony’ undertones. I highly recommend you get either the 75%, the 85%, or both. It’s ridiculous value for money! I mean, think about this. A 85% chocolate bar of Lindt (my favorite chocolate bar): 100g =  £2.00. A whole container of 85% from Muscle Food – containing 400g – on the other hand is £5.00! And the taste is fab. So try it! It’s delish.

Happy Sunday, babies!

Homemade Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed, and Strawberry Dark Chocolate Bark

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