This dark chocolate peppermint bark recipe makes the perfect holiday treat!! You can whip up a batch in just a few minutes, but no one will ever know it’s that easy. It makes a great hostess gift when attending holiday parties or make a batch to take as a holiday treat for your co-workers. If giving it as a gift, package it up in a cute jar or box and tie with a ribbon and voila, you have a quick gift.
Choosing your chocolate
You definitely want to use dark chocolate when making this homemade treat. Did you know that dark chocolate actually has some health benefits? For starters it’s lower in sugar than other types of chocolate and full of antioxidants. Plus, because of its strong flavor and bitterness, you may be less likely to overeat it. When selecting a chocolate, I prefer to use 72% cacao, but it will work with any dark chocolate either higher or lower depending on your preference.
Adding flavors and texture to dark chocolate peppermint bark
I chose peppermint to flavor this chocolate bark. Peppermint is one of the flavors that I closely relate with Christmas. It reminds me of the candy canes which we hung on our Christmas tree every single year. Plus, it adds a bit of color to the chocolate when it’s sprinkled over the top.
For a bit of texture in this dark chocolate peppermint bark recipe, I mixed in popped amaranth or kiwichi, as it is known here in Peru. In the US, you may be able to find it in your local organic food store, and it is a product available through Amazon. Another option is to pop it yourself. To pop, place a pan on the stove on medium high heat and allow the pan to heat really well. Then add the 1 T of amaranth, cover and shake the pan frequently so it doesn’t burn. It will pop very quick. The trick to successfully making your own popped amaranth is to first make sure the pan is hot and second to only cook 1-2 T of it at a time.
More about Amaranth
Amaranth is an ancient whole grain that has been around for a long, long time. It is used frequently in its popped form in cereals, granola bars and cookies. I like to use it frequently as a topping for a yogurt parfait for just a bit of crunch. As far as health benefits, amaranth contains a lot of fiber and protein and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and iron, all nutrients that we need to get from our diet.*
Antioxidants are found in both the amaranth and dark chocolate. Antioxidants found in our foods are important in their ability to remove free radicals from our body thus preventing disease and reducing inflammation. Keep in mind though, that this chocolate does contain sugar, so it may be wise to limit the consumption of it to just a few pieces at a time.
Festive Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark
- 72 % or higher dark chocolate 7 oz or 200 grams
- ¼ cup popped amaranth or kiwichi
- ¼ cup crushed peppermint candies
- ¼ tsp sea salt coarse ground
- Place a double boiler* over medium-high heat. Heat water to a low boil. Add chocolate to top bowl/pan of double boiler and melt. Stirring as the chocolate melts. It won’t take but a few minutes.
- When the chocolate is completely melted. Add the kiwichi/amaranth and stir to combine. Pour it onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and spread into a thin layer.
- Sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies over the top and press it in a bit to make sure it adheres to the chocolate. Finish off with a sprinkle of salt over the top.
- Place the mixture in the freezer to harden. Once it is completely hard (10-15 minutes), break it up into pieces and package up. Keep it stored in a cool, dry place so it doesn’t melt.
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Source: Health Benefits of Amaranth