With Christmas and the New Year on the horizon, I have two goals for today:
1. Clean out my closet/dresser of unwanted garments
I have too much stuff. I have clothing I don’t wear and even more that doesn’t fit. One of the fantastic things about lifting weights is that my body shrank. It’s great! But it means that I don’t own any pants that fit me. So I want to clear out the stuff that doesn’t fit me any more, because there’s no room in my shoebox of an apartment for clothing that is too big or old.
2. Bake Christmas Cookies for gifts
I love baking and Christmas is the perfect time to bake treats and give them away. So today and tomorrow will consist of Christmas baking. I had my recipes all planned out, but then yesterday when I arrived to Crossfit, Allison told me she had something for me. She handed me a lovely tin filled with homemade salted chocolate coconut almond bark.
At this point it was nearly 6am and not an appropriate time to eat chocolate. So I put it in my car, got my butt kicked during the WOD and went to work. I have this rule during the holidays (since there are so many treats floating around) that I’m allowed to have a sweet treat AFTER lunch.
This means waiting til I have a nutritious (or semi-nutritious because yesterday my boss took us to Umami Burger for lunch and that’s clearly NOT nutritious) before enjoying goodies and also cutting down on how much I eat. I have a hard time stopping once I start, so I found it’s better for me to just start later. But anyway…
So I waited until after lunch and had a piece of Allison’s delicious bark.
It was awesome. Let me just tell you, I gave some to co-workers and to Jesse, but the reality is I ate it mostly myself. Today, as of 2pm… the bark is gone. As in, I finished it all after lunch today.
Because this bark was so amazing I wanted to try to make it on my own and give it to my loved ones. I’ve decided to rename it Salted Almond Joy Bark, because that’s sort of what it reminded me of.
Salted Almond Joy Bark
from Sweet Potato Bites
10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks)
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1/2 cup Roasted Coconut Chips*
Coarse Sea Salt
First, prepare your pan by lining a cookie sheet with parchment. Set aside.
Next, pour chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave 30 seconds then stir. Microwave another 30 seconds and stir, repeat until chocolate is melted and smooth. You can also do this in a pan or double boiler, but I’ll be honest, the microwave is a million times easier. It’s also idiot-proof. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my chocolate seize when using a double boiler, because water in chocolate (steam included!) might cause it to seize.
Because of this, I take the easy route and use the microwave. Once your chocolate is melted and smooth, pour about 3/4 of the chocolate into the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, smooth until it’s a tiny bit thick (if you like your bark thicker, leave it thicker, if you want it thinner, spread it more). It doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re going to cover it with stuff anyway…
Sprinkle chocolate with coconut and almonds. Take the remaining chocolate and drizzle it overs the coconut and almonds.
Sprinkle with sea salt (be generous! That’s seriously the best part!) and refrigerate or freeze until firm.
Once the chocolate is completely hardened (it took about an hour for me, if not it’ll start to melt when you touch it), break the bark into pieces.
Store in an air tight container in a cool spot for up to a week.
*I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Coconut Chips, but if there’s no Trader Joe’s near you, you can just use toasted coconut.
This stuff was seriously amazing. The salt really takes this from normal tasty chocolate bark to something out of this world. Everyone that tried it loved it. I’m really excited to share this with others along with Orange-Pistachio Biscotti, Molasses Cookies, Chocolate Mint Cookies and maybe another cookie or two. Any suggestions?
Are you giving Christmas Cookies this season? If so, what are your top cookies or treats to gift?