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,
Which is why I love—LOVE!—making and giving homemade
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.
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
Friends, family, teachers and coaches will love and
appreciate your thoughtfulness—and no one needs to know that you didn't break
Recipe: Almond, Blueberry and Quinoa Bars
Yields: Six 2 ½" x 5"
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
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
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
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.
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.