This post is sponsored by American Greetings, but as always all opinions are my own.
Since the day our guests left, I have been in the kitchen testing cookie recipes one after another. As I usually do every year, I have signed up for more cookie exchanges than one person can handle, but I have no regrets as I am enjoying all the cookie testing happening in my kitchen. My oven is working overtime, radio is in full blast, and the twinkling lights on our Christmas tree makes my heart fill with joy.
What is Chocolate Almond Bark
Speaking of Christmas… Now that it is officially the gifting season, today’s recipe, dark chocolate almond bark, is an easy-to-make edible gift that you can make in less than 30 minutes, with only a 10-minute hands on time. It is my healthier take on the Christmas chocolate bark recipe that is made by melting semi-sweet baking chocolate and mixing it with various nuts and dried fruits.
While that version is a stellar one, my take on that chocolate bark recipe is vegan and a little bit more wholesome, made with coconut oil, cocoa powder, and maple syrup. To make it fun and festive, in addition to some maple-roasted and sea-salted almonds, I also sprinkled my chocolate bark with some colorful dried fruits.
How To Make?
The process of making this vegan almond bark has 3 folds:
First, you roast almonds with a little bit of maple syrup and sea salt in a 350 F degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
Second, while almonds are roasting, you prep the chocolate bark part. To do so, you melt some coconut oil in a saucepan and mix it with unsweetened cocoa powder and maple syrup. At first, the mixture will be very runny but don’t worry because it will thicken as it sits.
To assemble, you pour the chocolate on a parchment sheet pan and spread it thinly using a spatula (or a spoon). Then you sprinkle it with the roasted almonds. I also added some dried fruit for color, but that is totally optional.
Here is a quick video on how to make chocolate almond bark (48 seconds):
Since I wanted to make this chocolate bark recipe healthy, instead of using sugary baking chocolate, I went for coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder and maple syrup. I also roasted whole almonds with a little bit of maple syrup for additional sweetness, and some sea salt to balance out all the flavors.
To make it festive and to add in more sweetness, I sprinkled it with a variety of dried fruit and some shredded coconut.
I used these clear treat bags (affiliate link) to package them and tied them with colorful ribbons. If you want to prepare your gifts in advance, you can place your homemade chocolate almond bark in these bags and store them in the fridge until you are ready to gift them, up to 2 days.
If you are planning to enjoy it for yourself, you can keep it in the freezer, covered lightly with stretch film, up to 3 days.
How to Melt
Melting almond bark after it was frozen takes just a few minutes. When ready to serve, simply take it out of the freezer and let it sit on the kitchen counter for 10 minutes. Depending on the temperature of your house (mine is usually between 63-70 F degrees), it should not take longer than that.
The Easiest Way to Make Someone Happy – Put a Bow on it & Attach a Handwritten Card:
I don’t know about you, but I have never met anyone who wouldn’t light up when they see chocolate with a bow around it. That is why, I placed my almond bark chocolate in clear bags and tightened them with a ribbon around it. I also included a handwritten card that I got from Target. If you are a big fan of Target as I am, you know that they have a great greeting card section. Every time I go there, I lose myself in those beautifully designed and crafted cards and usually end up picking more than I need. This year was no different, I picked a bunch of cards from their Papyrus line and I am so excited to include them along with my edible gifts.
A Few Helpful Tips:
While the recipe for this easy chocolate bark is pretty straightforward, below I am including a few tips to help you as you make it for your loved ones:
- At first, you might think that the chocolate mixture is too thin: When I first made this recipe, I felt as though the coconut oil-maple syrup-cocoa powder mixture was way too thin. If you have ever tried your hand in making chocolate bark out of baking chocolate, you know that the texture is creamy and spreadable.
While my version was still spreadable, it was less creamier than the classic recipe so I couldn’t help but worry that it wouldn’t thicken. However, after a short 15-20 minutes in the freezer, it thickened beautifully. If you feel the same way, no worries, because the recipe below is foolproof.
- Feel free to get creative with your version of almond bark ingredients: While I am a huge fan of dark chocolate-almond-sea salt combination, you can get as creative as you want. That is the beauty of this recipe. Feel free to play around with your favorite nuts and dried fruits. Or if you are a die-hard salted dark chocolate almond bark, just leave it as it is without any of the toppings.
- Is Almond Bark Gluten-Free: Yes, this healthy chocolate bark recipe is gluten free. Additionally, it is vegan and naturally sweetened with maple syrup.
- Almond Bark Nutrition: The recipe below easily serves 6 people. The calorie count per serving is 335 calories. For more nutritional information, please check out the nutrition card underneath the recipe card below.
Whether you are trying to make a kid happy or impress a colleague with a thoughtful gift, this easy-to-make and fairly inexpensive edible gift along with a handwritten card will surely get the job done. And if you feel like you are not good with words, no need to worry because Target’s greeting card section has a card for everyone with beautifully written words that is perfect for the occasion. So head on over there to shop for all your Christmas greeting card needs and be sure to make this festive and colorful chocolate almond bark recipe to spread the joy.
You Might Also Like:
If you liked this healthy chocolate bark recipe, here are a few other recipes you might enjoy:
- Maple Sweetened Almond Flour Chocolate Cake
- Healthy Chocolate Smoothie
- Dark Chocolate Waffle Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Almond Bark
For the roasted almond:
- ½ cup almonds roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
For the chocolate bark:
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup dried fruit chopped *I used cranberry and apricot
- 3 tablespoons coconut flakes
- To roast the almonds: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread almond over the sheet and drizzle it with maple syrup. Sprinkle it with sea salt. Give it a toss and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Let it cool on the counter.
- Spread another baking sheet (or a casserole dish) with parchment paper and set it aside.
- To make the chocolate bark, heat coconut oil in a pan just until it is melted. Transfer it into a bowl. Whisk in the cocoa powder and maple syrup. Mix until smooth.
- Mix in the half of the roasted almond mixture into the chocolate. Spread the mixture onto the sheet. Sprinkle it with the rest of the almonds, dried fruit, and coconut flakes.
- Place it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- Break the chocolate bark into small pieces and serve.