Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chocolate Bark With Salted Honey Walnuts and Chia Seeds

I don’t believe in diets
The very thought of a diet
Makes me hungry
And irritable
So my New Year's resolution
Is to follow the un-diet
As in eating wholesome, natural foods
With reckless abandon
Of course, I will workout more
And temporarily shun white carbs
Goodbye russet potatoes and crusty baguettes
We will meet again
As soon as I can button my jeans without sucking in my gut 

On the bright side
There is chocolate
Discovered by the Mayans and Aztecs
It is full of antioxidants
And unbelievably delicious
It more than makes up for the end-of-the-world thing

This recipe could not be easier.  Coat walnuts in a few Tablespoons of Dutch Gold Orange Blossom Honey and toast in the oven for 10 minutes with a sprinkling of sea salt. This all natural sweetener is made in Lancaster County and available at None Such Farm Market in Buckingham.
Melt the chocolate slowly.   You can use the microwave at half power or melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whichever method you choose, melt only 3/4 of the chocolate.  Once melted and smooth, add the remaining chocolate off the heat.  It will eventually melt from the residual heat of the already melted chocolate.  This is called the seeding method, or as I like to call it, the easy way out of tempering chocolate, because if there is a shortcut, I will always take it.

I am using a combination of dark and semi-sweet chocolate (a.k.a. leftover holiday baking chocolate). 
Time to add a nice protein/fiber filled crunch.  These are chia seeds...the same seeds that sprout like magic overnight to form Chia Pets.  Who knew that the seeds were actually good to eat and high in Omega-3 fatty acids?! They really don't have a taste but provide a great texture to the chocolate.  There is an added bonus:  the seeds 'gel' in your belly and help you feel full for a long time. A nice strategy if you're trying to lose wait.  Cha Cha Cha Chia!!!!
Chia seeds are available at Kimberton Whole Foods.  I found them at the Ottsville location. 
Pour the chocolate/chia mixture into an 8 inch square baking pan lined with parchment.
Scatter the walnuts over the top and let the chocolate set.  Break up the bark into small pieces for an easy, portable, snack.  Keep bark in an airtight container, not that it will last that long.

Chocolate Bark With Salted Honey Walnuts and Chia Seeds
1 cup walnuts
2 Tablespoons orange blossom honey
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 Tablespoon chia seeds 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Place walnuts in a small bowl.  Drizzle with honey and stir until walnuts are coated.  Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.  Break up any walnut clusters.   
  • *Place ¾ of the chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook at 50% power in one minute intervals, stirring after each minute, until chocolate is melted.  Add remaining chocolate.  Stir.  Let stand for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in chia seeds and pour chocolate into an 8 inch square baking pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle salted walnuts over the top.  When chocolate becomes solid, break up bark into bite size pieces. Store in an airtight container.   
*Chocolate can also be melted in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Follow the same method of melting and stirring ¾ of the chocolate. Once melted, remove chocolate from heat and add remaining chocolate.  Stir until completely melted.
© A Bucks County Kitchen

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