Friday, March 28, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Bark

I wish there were more hours in a day, or maybe that I just don’t need as much sleep as I do to function properly. People who say sleeping is overrated clearly have not had the pleasure of meeting me when I haven’t had at least seven hours of sleep. If I could squeeze in eight or nine, even better! Sadly, there is just so much that I need to get done in a day. And I won’t enjoy my seven hours if I do not get most of it done. I work a full-time job from early morning to mid-afternoon. Then I rush straight to CFTally to make the 3:30 class and then coach until 6:30. My husband and I quickly say hi and good-bye before I’m off again to get home, shower, and then get crafty in the kitchen for at least an hour. My husband finishes training at the gym by 8:30 (after he’s also put in a full day at his job), and if we’re lucky, we’re sitting down together by 9:00 PM to eat. Sometimes I will eat before he gets home so that I can clean up the kitchen early. If I’m really on top of my game, I’m washing dishes while I cook. Then I just have to worry about our plates, cups, and silverware. It really just depends on how involved the meal is. But day in and day out, this is my life right now.

Just so we’re clear, this is not a rant by any means, but a quick and dirty run down of my busy life Monday through Friday. My weekends are valued tremendously because of it. We love spending time with our friends (sadly, none of our family lives in the same city) and appreciate our ability to move leisurely through Saturday and Sunday. Sunday morning is probably my favorite part of the weekend. There is a restaurant in town called The Egg. Hands down, our favorite place to go! Breakfast, Brunch, or Lunch. Whatever you're in the mood for. If you're a crab cake fan and like eggs benedict, then you absolutely MUST try their Crab Cake Benny. They spice up the hollandaise with a drizzle of Cajun sauce. I've never had anything so enjoyable for breakfast. And I really don't even like eggs benedict that much. It's so rich that I get sleepy, but for the Crab Cake Benny, I will definitely make an exception!

Alright, on to the good stuff. This amazing little creation of mine came about because I was looking for a paleo treat that would satisfy my nightly sweet tooth, but that I didn't feel like I needed to eat a ton of to feel "sweetly satiated". The wonderful thing about this concoction is that it really can be altered in several different ways to appease a variety of people. While the original recipe is full of nuts, it could easily be altered to be a nut-free treat! The first picture has the most toppings I've ever added. You'll notice I only put sugar-free dried cranberries on half of it. That's because my husband is not a fan. The other picture is when I was first trying out the recipe and kept the ingredients to a minimum.

Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Bark

Prep Time: 3-5 minutes
Cook Time: 3-5 minutes
Freeze Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Severs: 4-6

Special Tools:
Medium sauce pot
8x8 baking dish or larger (the bigger the dish, the thinner the bark will be)
Parchment paper (optional)

1 cup of almond butter (or other nut butter)
4 tbsp of coconut oil, divided
1/2 - 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut (depending on how coconut-y you like it)
4 tbsp of raw honey, divided
10 oz. of dark chocolate (or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)
1/2 tsp of pink Himalayan sea salt
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts
2 tbsp of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of sugar-free dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)

1. Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a medium sauce pot until its just melted on low heat. Then stir in the almond butter and continue stirring until its completely melted. 
2. Add the unsweetened shredded coconut. Stir for about a minute until it is well incorporated. 
3. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tbsp of raw honey.
4. If you want to use parchment paper, then press it down into the glass dish. Spread the mixture out evenly with the spatula.
5. Place the dish in the freezer for about 15 minutes. 
6. Wash your pot and just before you pull out the dish from the freezer, melt the rest of the coconut oil in the pot and then add the chocolate. Keep the heat on low. Stir continuously until its melted. About 3 minutes. (*DO NOT leave this unattended. Chocolate can burn very easily. You can also use a double-boiler if you have one.)
7. Remove from heat and add the other 2 tbsp of raw honey. Stir well to combine.
8. Spread that over the hardened almond butter mixture. 
9. Sprinkle the sea salt, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit over the top and freeze for another 30-45 minutes (depending on which size dish you used). 
10. Use a sharp knife to break it up into bark pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

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