FreshTartSteph Recipe: Chocolate Almond Bark

Do you bake Christmas cookies? I used to love to, rolling out and decorating gingerbread men with my son, handing out buttery shortbread stars to my work colleagues. But now… My son’s a teen and would much rather eat pizza, and I no longer work in an office. Add the fact that I can’t eat gluten, and my holiday baking tradition has gone the way of letters to Santa. (Awww… I miss letters to Santa.)

Enter Chocolate Almond Bark. This doesn’t count as baking, since all you do is melt some chocolate and pour it in a pan. And yet, the end result is so decadent and impressive, it would be gorgeous on a cookie platter (next to, say, gingerbread men and shortbread stars). And O Holy Night, you will not be able to stop eating it, which is good for your guests but bad for you, if you’re home alone with a batch and happen to love Almond Joy candy bars the way I love Almond Joy candy bars. But also good, because as far as treats go, this is relatively healthful (dark chocolate, whole almonds, toasted unsweetened coconut).

I conducted a little poll on my Fresh Tart Facebook page and it turns out that coconut lovers are slightly more numerous than haters. In case you’re a hater, just leave out the coconut, or add in crushed bits of toffee or cocoa nibs or some other heavenly little crunchy thing.

Photo by Stephanie Meyer

Chocolate Almond Bark

From Elana’s Pantry (an excellent source of delicious gluten-free recipes!)

1 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
1/2 c. whole almonds
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (or more if you’re a coconut lover)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 square pan with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate over very low heat. While chocolate melts, toast the almonds. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes (check at 5 minutes) until fragrant and just starting to color. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Toast the coconut by spreading coconut on the same sheet; bake for 4 minutes. If coconut is not lightly browned, stir and return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Stir coconut and almonds into the melted chocolate. Spread in prepared pan. Place bark in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set. Break into square bars to serve.