Dick has recommited to dropping a few pounds, so I made these scrumptious morsels to ease his mind that he does not need to forgo all treats in order to lose weight as long as they are made with nutritious ingredients and consumed in moderation. This extremely simple recipe with only four ingredients, that my friend Pat shared with me, is similar to one that I have made from "Healthy Living with Ellie Krieger", one of my favorite Food Network sites. The difference is the addition of crystallized ginger which adds some additional chewiness and a very subtle zing. Use dark chocolate (i.e., 70-72% cacao). The higher the cacao content, the more intense the flavor of the chocolate and the lower amount of sugar present in the chocolate. The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cacao (the source of chocolate) has more antioxidant properties. According to WebMD, "Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, which are destructive molecules that are implicted in heart disease and other ailments." Flavonoids are plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties. Cocoa beans contain large quantities of flavonoids, as do cranberries. Dark chocolate is higher in flavonoids than milk chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Walnut Bark
8 oz. walnuts, coarsely chopped (or any nuts combo)
2 tbsp. unsulphured crystallized ginger, chopped
½ c. dried cranberries
2 (3-3.5 oz. each) dark chocolate bars with minimum 70-72% cocoa content (You can reduce to one bar, if you like.)
Melt the chocolate bars in the top of a double boiler over one inch of barely simmering water. Mix the walnuts, ginger, and dried cranberries together in a bowl. Pour the melted chocolate over the fruit/nut mixture and stir until blended. Pour out onto a cookie sheet covered with unbleached parchment paper. (You may also spoon out tablespoon-sized clusters onto parchment-lined baking sheet.) Put them in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm. Break into chunky pieces. What a quick and healthy way to get a chocolate fix!