Boy oh boy, it’s good to be back in the kitchen! Back with a little something special for the holidays, of course. It’s sugar-free, vegan chocolate candy bark! Isn’t it purdy, lounging on a gold doily?
Doilies are works of art, aren’t they? I see them as small, papery miracles. They make any food visually appealing. They make you feel like you have some sort of “eye” for decorating. They come in classic white, or SHINY!!! I’m a firm believer in their ability to make everything better. Except break-ups. Only Ben and Jerry’s… er, HOMEMADE SUGAR-FREE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM can help those.
This festive candy is made with a smooth and sweet chocolate base that contains no milk, but all of the richness of traditional milk chocolate bark. This candy bark is one for your Christmas cookbook.
How is this possible without dairy? Behold, the humble cashew.
This little versatile nut legume makes the chocolate candy base so creamy that you won’t miss the dairy. The other secret ingredient– pure cocoa butter–makes the candy firm at room temperature, with a luxurious mouth feel and chocolate flavor.
Did you know that cocoa butter is a popular home remedy for stretch marks? After stuffing my face with test batches of bark made with the stuff, I’d argue it’s too delicious to rub on your body!
-If you don’t have cocoa butter, you can use coconut oil. Just be sure to keep the candy refrigerated if you go this route. If you’d like to use Truvia, then use 70% or 85% cacao chocolate (i.e. Lindt or Ghirardelli) instead of the unsweetened kind.
-If you use cocoa butter, try to melt it slowly over lower heat. I microwaved the cocoa butter to make a batch of the bark not pictured here and the candy showed extensive blooming after it hardened. Store the candy away from moisture in a tupperware container as an additional precaution for preventing discoloration.
-If you are using store bought cashew butter, drain the oil off the top first. I drained off about 2 Tablespoons from the Tree of Life cashew butter I picked up at the local health food store. It’s usually just added safflower oil or sunflower oil to make the cashew butter creamier. In this case you don’t want that excess oil that would make the candy bark too soft.
-If you are making your own cashew butter for this recipe, add the oil called for in this recipe to make the cashews easier to grind. Melt the coconut oil or cocoa butter and add it to the food processor before grinding your cashews into a smooth paste. I would only recommend going this route if you have a Blendtec, Vitamix, or other high power blender.
-There is a step-by-step tutorial for grinding sweeteners into powder my e-cookbook, here!
Nourishing Chocolate Candy Bark (Vegan, Sugar-Free)
½ cup minus 1 Tablespoon (3.75 ounces) cashew butter, oil drained OR ¾ cup cashews
5 Tablespoons (2 ounces) melted food-grade cocoa butter* OR 5 tablespoons coconut oil
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate OR 2 ounces 85% cacao chocolate**
1/16 teaspoon sea salt
- 1.5 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon erythritol AND 1.5 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon xylitol AND 1/32 + 1/16 teaspoon pure stevia powder
- 2 Tablespoons Truvia
- 3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar AND 1/32 + 1/16 teaspoon pure stevia powder
*Can be replaced with extra virgin coconut oil
**Use 85% or 70% cacao content chocolate if you use Truvia as the sweetener
Melt together cocoa butter, chocolate, and cashew butter in a double boiler over low heat, stirring mixture constantly with a spatula until liquefied. Grind sweeteners (stevia, erythritol, xylitol OR Truvia OR coconut palm sugar) and sea salt together into a fine powder using a Magic Bullet or coffee grinder. Sift the sweeteners into the chocolate mixture, stirring and folding the sweetener into the chocolate to make it smooth in consistency. Break up any lumps by working the chocolate against the sides and bottom of the bowl with your spatula. Pour chocolate mixture on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and spread it out in an even coating. Sprinkle with dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, orange zest, toasted sliced almonds… whatever you’d like in your candy bark! Let the candy firm up by setting it in a cool room, or speed setting it in the fridge. Break into pieces and serve.
~35g net carbs, 1,418 calories per batch (no add-ins)
Pardon my dust as I sift through the 50,000 spam comments in the moderation queue and clogging up the posts. It’s a semester’s worth of spam… the mother lode of spam! It’ll all be taken care of as I clean up the site over the holiday break. The Healthy Indulgences Facebook page is currently the best place to ask questions since there are healthy treat lovers chiming in with answers there. You guys rock.
Don’t forget to check out the Kindle edition of the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook! If you’ve already got a copy, I’d love to know what you think.
What sugar-free treats are you making for the holiday season?