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Super Food Bark Is an Easy, Impressive Homemade Gift

Nothing beats a handmade gift for the holidays. Particularly if that handmade gift is food.

That said, not everybody is comfortable in the kitchen, and it can be a challenge to figure out what to make, quantities, how to package the final product, etc.

Which is why I love—LOVE!—making and giving homemade bark.

If you've never made your own bark before, you are in for a treat. It is super easy, supremely adaptable, boasts an impressive presentation and makes a bunch in relatively short time.

Sound good?

The variations on the types of bark you can make and give are pretty much infinite, but I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite recipes. This one will suit multiple tastes, and dietary needs and restrictions.

I call this "Super Food Bark" because it is chock-full of all the good things—dark chocolate, raw almonds, dried blueberries and toasted quinoa. There's also a healthy sprinkling of flaky sea salt.

This bark is gluten-free, dairy-free and 100 percent delicious. And if you raised an eyebrow (or two) over the quinoa, fear not. Toasting uncooked quinoa lends a nutty, subtle crunch (not to mention a bunch of high-caliber nutrients) that you will not want to skip.

I'm a big fan of this flavor combination but you can easily switch up the nuts and fruits (and even the chocolate) to suit the tastes and needs of your recipients.

I also love the presentation of these individually wrapped bars, but feel free to spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, let it harden and then break the bark into chunks to package in little bags or boxes instead.

Friends, family, teachers and coaches will love and appreciate your thoughtfulness—and no one needs to know that you didn't break a sweat!

Recipe: Almond, Blueberry and Quinoa Bars

Yields: Six 2 ½" x 5" bars

Ingredients:

  • 20 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips (use dairy-free if preferred)
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • ½ cup roughly chopped raw unsalted almonds, divided
  • ½ cup dried blueberries, divided
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Cut six pieces of parchment paper, approximately 8 ½" x 5". Lightly grease six mini loaf pans (if you don't have metal ones, you can buy disposable pans at most craft stores) and line the bottoms and long sides with the paper.
  2. In a large, dry skillet, toast the rinsed quinoa (don't worry if it's still wet) over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it smells nutty and begins to "pop." Remove pan from heat.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a pot filled with barely simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in all of the quinoa and half the almonds and blueberries. Divide the mixture evenly among your prepared loaf pans and rap the pans on a table or work surface to level. Sprinkle tops with remaining almonds and blueberries, along with a bit of flaky sea salt.
  4. Refrigerate until set, at least two hours. Pop the bars out of the pans, remove and discard parchment paper, and wrap as desired.

Note: Mixture can be spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, refrigerated and then broken into pieces, if preferred.

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Images via Sheri Silver

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