Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipe: Mostly Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Bark

A little over a year ago, my son and I switched to a Paleo diet and got super strict on limiting sugar in an effort to get our yeast overgrowth/chronic thrush under control and to improve out mitochondrial function and energy. It has definitely helped (though we both still have yeast flare-ups and have to stick to the diet). Note that if you read that older post linked above, my son is doing much better now and no longer needs to be as strict as when he started - we both eat a fairly standard Paleo diet now with plenty of variety, including fruits.

Finding a source of dark chocolate treats with little to no sugar was a priority for both of us! We tried commercial sugar-free chocolates and found a couple that we liked OK (Weight Watchers' brand peanut butter cups and WW or Whitman's brand toffee squares are both pretty good), but they do contain some dairy, we shouldn't eat too much of the sugar substitutes they contain, and the chocolate they use isn't really top quality (we are connoisseurs, after all). We also both enjoy super-dark chocolate - if you look for 80% cocoa or higher, it contains less than 5g of sugar per serving. But, again, that's not a perfect solution.

So, I experimenting with making our own dark chocolate bark, starting with unsweetened chocolate (baking chocolate) and adding small amounts of Stevia and coconut sugar (which is OK for Paleo and for yeast). Here is the resulting recipe (and here is an earlier recipe I posted for Chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups):

Finished Chocolate Bark - Ready to Eat!

Mostly Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Bark

1 tsp stevia

Optional Additions:
Chopped nuts
Flaked sea salt 
(go for salted seeds and nuts--good for OI!)
  1. Chop up chocolate into small pieces and put in a glass bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave in short intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is mostly melted (the exact time will depend on your microwave; I usually start with 1 minute, stir, then another 45 seconds).
  2. Stir chocolate (some of the chunks will still appear solid but will incorporate into the melted portion as you stir). Add stevia and coconut sugar, to taste, and stir well. The amounts listed above will give you the equivalent of very dark chocolate. Add more if you like yours sweeter. Microwave for another 30-40 seconds and stir again.
  3. Add whatever additions you like and stir. I love coconut, so I add lots of unsweetened flaked coconut to mine, plus some sunflower seeds for a bit of salty crunchiness. My son hates coconut, so he liked a mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds in his. You could also use some chopped nuts, though seeds are less inflammatory than nuts for those with immune disorders.
  4. Spread the mixture out on a piece of waxed paper on the kitchen counter (I put a layer of foil under the wax paper so the hot mixture doesn't melt the wax onto the counter) and let cool at room temperature.
  5. When solid, break the bark into pieces. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature (refrigerating chocolate can change its taste and texture).
NOTE: Stevia and coconut sugar are acceptable for both Paleo and anti-candida diets and won't feed yeast. The coconut sugar doesn't dissolve completely - it leaves a slightly crystalline texture in the chocolate. If you don't like that, you can experiment with using just stevia, but if you add too much, it may have an off-taste.

© Suzan L. Jackson 2020
(Do not reprint or publish without written permission from the author)

Warm Chocolate Bark after being spread on wax paper

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