5 Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark with Salted Caramelized Sesame Seeds

5 Ingredient Chocolate Bark
This insanely addictive Valentines Day recipe was inspired by my new chocolate obsession – the Lindt sesame dark chocolate bar. Literally, I can’t stop eating it, I should have titled this recipe pure CRACK! The combination of the sweet yet nutty sesame seeds and rich dark chocolate is a perfect match. My initial idea was to make these into amazing little peanut butter cups with homemade chocolate. After various failed attempts, I ran out of cacao powder and wax liners and decided to head in a completely different direction. Afterall, chocolate bark has always served me well and is ridiculously easy to make. I will continue to work on making my own chocolate, so stay tuned for that. For now, melting good quality chocolate will do.

I caramelized my toasted sesame seeds in pure maple syrup, and I could have just eaten that on its own. It reminded me of an even better sesame snap (remember those?). The addition of the peanut butter into the dark chocolate really compliments the nuttiness of the sesame seeds. As you all know by now, there is nothing I love more than sweet and savoury, so a sprinkling of course salt is the perfect final component. With only 5 ingredients, it doesn’t get much easier than this. The final product is made in under 10 minutes, and can even be made in advance and stored in the freezer for days (but your loved ones don’t need to know that!). Giving a homemade treat this Valentines Day, will make it one that’s truly special. Happy Valentines Day to you my loves.

(ps. for those interested, I tried to mix cacao powder, coconut oil and coconut sugar for my own chocolate. I couldnt get the coconut sugar to absorb properly and it just made a mess! Next time, I’ll use a liquid sweetener for better absorption!)
5 Ingredient Chocolate Bark5 Ingredient Chocolate Bark

Ingredients:

• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
• 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (any variety you like, just make sure they are toasted!)
• 2 cups dark chocolate chips (I like 70% dairy free, but choose your favourite chocolate!)
• 5 tbsp all natural peanut butter
• coarse sea salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Prepare two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Heat maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add your sesame seeds and cook together with the maple syrup for about 5 minutes or until they seeds are well coated in the syrup.

2. Spread out the sesame seeds onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. It’s ok if there are clusters! Allow to cool.

3. Over a double boiler OR by heating in the microwave in 30 second intervals, melt your chocolate. If you use the microwave make sure to stir really well in between each 30 seconds. You don’t want to burn your chocolate.

4. Spread the chocolate evenly on your remaining parchment lined cookie sheet. The more you spread the chocolate, the thinner your chocolate bark will be.

5. If your peanut butter is hard from the fridge, microwave for 30 seconds so it is spreadable. Then, disperse dollops of peanut butter evenly on the chocolate. Using a toothpick or fork, swirl the peanut butter into the chocolate. Using your hands, break apart the caramelized sesame over the chocolate, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Place in the freezer for at least an hour or until set. Break apart using your hands into desired size. Store in an airtight container (I like keeping it in the freezer).

5 Ingredient Chocolate Bark

PB + J Granola Bars

Photo 2014-08-15, 2 37 32 AMI can’t believe its already back to school time next week!Summer is over and both teachers and kids alike need a little boost to get through that first week. What better way to start the week then with a classic kid approved combination of peanut butter and jam. I don’t know about you, but I had so much chia jam leftover from last week that just needed to be used. In fact, that’s actually how a lot of my recipes come to be. I hate throwing out perfectly good ingredients, so sometimes you have to throw a few things together and cross your fingers.I bet you thats actually how jam became…jam!

Peanut butter and jelly is one of the best food matches of all time. It brings most people back to the good ol’ days when peanut butter was still allowed in schools and at camps. Although most kids can’t have this delicious combination during the day, it can still be enjoyed as an after school snack.  Not only will your child be able to enjoy these after school, adults will also love these as an energizing breakfast/snack/dessert. They are packed with fiber rich oats, protein packed peanut butter, and loads of omega 3s and vitamins from the chia jam! I really have been enjoying them before a work out to give me a boost of energy and a good balance of carbs, fat, and protein.

If you aren’t a big fan of peanut butter, feel free to swap out the peanut butter for any other nut butter. I am sure my Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter would taste ammmmazzzing! As always, these granola bars are gluten free (so long as you use certified gluten free oats), dairy free and refined sugar free! For you vegans, feel free to use only maple syrup instead of honey! These take only about 5 minutes to prepare and use ingredients most of us have lying around. If you haven’t made my chia jam, store bought jam will be fine. Keep an eye out for sugar content and absolutely do NOT buy sugar free jam. I like to buy jams that are sweetened with natural fruit juice. These can be found at most health food stores. Bon appetit!
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Ingredients:

• 1/4 cup honey (I use raw organic)
• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
• 1 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup coconut oil
• 2 1/2 cups certified gluten free rolled oats
• 1/2 tsp sea or pink himalayan salt
• 1/3 cup ground flaxseeds (optional)
• 3/4 cup strawberry vanilla chia jam

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 inch baking dish with parchment. In a medium sized bowl, combine oats, salt and flaxseed.
2. In a small saucepan on medium heat whisk coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla honey and maple syrup until combined. Pour over oats and stir until evenly distributed.
3. Press half of the batter into the prepared baking dish.
4. Spread the chia jam evenly across the pressed batter.
5. Press the remaining batter over the jam. (some may squeeze out, it’s fine!)
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the surface is golden. Allow to cool for several minutes. Once cool, slice into bars. Store in an airtight container for 2 weeks! (If they even last that long…)
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Chocolatey Banana Chia Pudding

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Woke up with a bit of a sweet tooth this morning and was craving something rich and delicious. Chocolate has always been a weakness of mine. Since giving up refined sugars my sweet tooth has noticeably diminished. I never thought it would be possible to eat a meal without having something sweet after (I know I’m not alone here). But trust me, anyone who knows me would tell you that I would never say no to a piece of dark chocolate with sea salt. Chocolate can actually be very healthy for you. No, not your Kit Kat or Coffee Crisp (so sorry) but raw unprocessed cacao is loaded with properties that contribute to wellness. Let me reiterate,cacAO NOT cocOA. Sounds the same, but nutritionally are far different. Heres the breakdown:

Cacao

Cacao refers to the raw form of chocolate, including the tree and bean. Raw cacao powder is not roasted, mostly unprocessed, and has no sugar or cocoa butter. Seeds of the cacao tree are roasted and then the shell is removed which produce cacao nibs (quite bitter in flavour but provide a nice crunch if used appropriately). Cacao is a great source of antioxidants which contribute to fighting off cancer and wrinkles (woooot). Chocolate and cocoa also contain a high level of flavonoids, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health.

Cocoa

Once the cacao bean is roasted and essentially transformed (rid of its nutritional value) then does it become the ever so popular cocoa. After it has been roasted it continues its processing as it is ground, and usually mixed with cocoa butter and a sweetner. This same kind of cocoa you find in your Oh Henry bar, or in the cup of cocoa you get at the ski hill. Delicious, yes… nutritional not exactly. The downfall of cocoa is that within the processing (roasting, grinding, mixing) most of the nutritional benefits are eliminated. It definitely won’t kill you to have a little cocoa, but if raw cacao is available to us, why wouldn’t we use it?

This recipe for chocolatey banana chia pudding is soooooo good, and is Clean Eating Goddess approved for breakfast, yes… BREAKFAST! With the addition of all natural organic peanut butter, your kids will believe they are having a bowl of melted reeses pieces for breakfast (best mom/dad ever!). If your child has a peanut allergy, feel free to use a nut/seed butter of your choice. Best part is, its ready in a flash and can be made the night before to grab and go in the morning. Full of nutrients and fibre, this chocolatey banana pudding is the perfect dessert or breakfast. Did I also mention it is gluten, dairy and sugar free.. oh and vegan! Bon appetit readers!

Ingredients:

• 3-4 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tsp cacao powder
• 3-4 drops stevia or 1 tsp maple syrup
• 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
• 1 mashed banana
• 1 tbsp peanut butter or nut/seed butter of choice
• 1 tsp hemp seeds
• berries and chopped banana

Directions:

1. Place chia seeds in a bowl or jar with almond milk, stevia and cacao powder. Mix very well and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. The longer it rests in the fridge the more thick and pudding-like it will be.

2. Remove from the fridge and add fruit, peanut butter and sprinkle with hemp seeds.