I am an unapologetic fan of chocolate.
When I was a kid, I’d eat chocolate so slowly that the piece would melt between my fingers before I could finish a single square. Or sometimes I would paint my lips with dark chocolate, like lipstick. How’s that for savoring every bite?
Some people would view chocolate as my “weakness” or “guilty pleasure,” but neither of those terms are accurate. What’s wrong with enjoying a healthy treat that is also indulgent? Chocolate is simply another food that I enjoy; there’s nothing guilty about it.
I see so many people trying hard to cut out sugar. While I don’t disagree—sugar is certainly not a health food and I actively work to eat less of it myself—I do think it’s important to find treats that can take the place of typical overly sugary junk foods.
An exit strategy of sorts. Or perhaps, a replacement strategy.
Food offers physical and psychological nourishment.
It’s meant to be savored and enjoyed. It’s OK to have treats and mindfully indulge.
One of my favorites is dark chocolate. If you’re used to milk chocolate, it takes a while to wean your taste buds off the intense sweetness. Over the years, however, I’ve found that my taste buds appreciate the more complex flavors of super dark chocolate, usually 85% cocoa or higher.
I’ve also found that my body feels best when I pair chocolate with nuts or seeds in it, likely because the protein, fat, and fiber in these foods helps blunt the rise in blood sugar that we all get from eating foods that contain carbs/sugar. The additional crunch that these ingredients add is also super satisfying (think dark chocolate covered almonds or toffee).
Today, I’m sharing a lovely, crunchy dark chocolate bark with raspberries and pumpkin seeds.
I chose this combo because pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrition, but are admittedly not my favorite seed to eat solo (unless I’m eating freshly roasted ones that I pulled out of a pumpkin!). Mix them into chocolate, however, and I’m sold!
Pumpkin seeds are high in a variety of trace minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, plus provide a great source of healthy fat.
I added the raspberries out of
Hear me out…
My toddler loves snacking on freeze-dried fruit (it’s a fantastic distraction during long car rides and is our stand-in for cereals and puffs). Inevitably, it seems like half the raspberries in the bag crumble into raspberry dust before we even get to them. Adding them to chocolate was partly an #endfoodwaste strategy.
I also love Theo raspberry dark chocolate bar, which is literally dark chocolate and freeze-dried raspberries mixed together, so plopping these into dark chocolate bark was a no-brainer.
Speaking of Theo chocolate, I used their 85% Baking Bar for this recipe. I love their chocolate because it’s organic, fair-trade, soy-free, and has good ingredients (just cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla bean). Oh, and the flavor and velvety smooth texture doesn’t hurt!
Why I love this dark chocolate bark with raspberries and pumpkin seeds:
- Rich source of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron (this is fantastic if you’re pregnant, since your need for electrolytes/minerals goes up)
- Full of healthy fats – keeps you satisfied and craving-free
- Low in sugar – this is great for everyone, but especially important if you have known blood sugar issues, like prediabetes or gestational diabetes
- High in antioxidants – all three ingredients are rich in phytochemicals
- Great texture and crunch – it’s ok (and highly recommended) to actually enjoy your food
- Shelf-stable – I can wraps a few pieces in wax paper and keep them in my purse, carry on a hike, or stash some at my desk
- 8 oz dark chocolate (I use 2 bars of Theo 85% Baking Bar)
- 1/3 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup freeze-dried raspberries (crumbled pieces are ok)
- Break or cut chocolate into small pieces, roughly ½ inch pieces or smaller. Place in a medium glass bowl.
- Melt the chocolate. You can either melt over the stovetop, by setting the bowl of chocolate over a small saucepan with simmering water and stirring with a spoon until melted (your bowl will need to be larger than the opening of the saucepan and the bowl should not directly touch the simmering water). Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave, stopping to stir the chocolate every 20 seconds or so, until melted.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper and spread into an even layer using an offset spatula or a rubber spatula.
- Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, then freeze-dried raspberries. Let cool for several hours on the counter or in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Break into pieces and enjoy!
If you can’t find Theo’s 85% Baking Bar, you can do half 100% chocolate and half 70% dark chocolate and get pretty darn close. Or, simply use whatever dark chocolate you like.
This is less of a strict recipe and more of a suggestion on combining ingredients. If you like more of less of any ingredient, you can do as you please. Chocolate bark is absolutely foolproof. Aside from burning the chocolate, you can’t really mess this up.
Did you like this recipe?
If you give this dark chocolate bark with raspberries and pumpkin seeds a try, let me know how it turns out in the comments section. Or, if you have a favorite ingredient combination for chocolate bark, tell me about it.
Until next week,
PS – Remember, mindful indulgences are good for body and soul. If you have health conditions that are worsened by any of the above ingredients, please use your common sense, however I encourage you to find some treats that work within whatever dietary limitations you have. Your body deserves nourishing foods and you deserve to enjoy your food. There is a place for these two things to coexist.