WOO HOO! The kitchen at Cancer Wellness was the site of a chocolate festival this afternoon, led by yours truly. Carolyn, Director of Cancer Wellness, and I decided that our favorite docs needed a little pick -me-up before the holidays.

Far from the usual boxes of cookies or candy, full of fat, sugar and preservatives, our chocolate gifts were packed to the rim with 70% Chocolate Ginger Bark. Dark and rich and absolutely irresistible, our boxes allowed for a chocolate treat with lots of luscious flavor AND antioxidants.

You can easily create this gift at the last minute – making sure that no one on your holiday list is left behind because of time.From start to finish the bark only took 2.5 hours. And when I say finish – I mean in the tin with tissue paper and a bow. Carolyn wrote out the cards, and I handled the rest.

Not all chocolate is the same! Make sure you are a “label detective” before you buy chocolate to make the bark. Three things  you should look for when you buy chocolate, to make sure it is full of antioxidants and it is a better-for-you choice:

  1. The Cacao or Chocolate Content should be above 60%
  2. The first ingredient should be Chocolate, Cocoa or Cocoa Solids NOT Sugar
  3. You should NOT see the words “Dutch Processed” or “Processed with Alkali”. The Dutch Process uses Alkali, so these two phrases are the same. In the past, when the public did not like bitter chocolate, the dutch process made the chocolate softer and less bitter. Today, we are used to a more bitter flavor, so it is not as big an issue. When the chocolate is processed with alkali it strips a great deal of the antioxidants out of the chocolate. Unfortunatley, many of the chocolates that are extremely popular are dutch processed. But its not hard to find good chocolate. Try the Lindt, Ghiradelli or Scharfenberger chocolate brands. Also – Trader Joes has a 72% dark chocolate bar that tastes great!

We used Crystallized Ginger in the Bark today – Here it is, broken into pieces, 
before I put it in the Holiday Tins!

Luscious and EASY and Better-For-You Chocolate Bark

(3.5 OZ) 70 – 90% Dark Chocolate Bars (I like Lindt Chocolate)
Cup Toasted Nuts OR ½
Cup Dried Fruit (Cherries, Blueberries, Cranberries) OR Crystallized Ginger
the chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave. Pour the melted
chocolate on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle the nuts and dried
fruit over the chocolate and place in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
Break the bark into pieces and serve.

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