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Sugar-free chocolate bark + your favorite toppings!

Sugar-free chocolate bark recipe, with coconut and almonds

Here’s a really simple recipe that looks and tastes completely decadent, but it’s low carb/South Beach diet friendly, because it’s sugar free! You can top this sugar-free chocolate bark with whatever toppings float your boat; I first tried it with a mix of chopped almonds and unsweetened coconut on one end (shown above), and salty pepitas (roasted hull-less pumpkin seeds) on the other.

I served this for dessert last night — just the hubs and me. Here’s what it looked like when we started…

Here’s what it looked like when we were done:

And no, he is not putting that back in the pan!

Clearly, the almond/coconut end was the favorite! The slight sweetness of both coconut and almond goes nicely with the semi-sweet, almost bitter flavor of this chocolate. I think the pepitas would taste great with a sweeter, perhaps milkier chocolate. I’ll try that another day.

But today, there’s a new batch in the fridge that’s all almond/coconut!

Recipe: Sugar-free chocolate bark

Note: If you’re not avoiding sugar, substitute up to 1/4 c. of sugar for the Splenda.

6 T. butter
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate (one square of baking chocolate)
1/4 c. + 2 T. cocoa (unsweetened)
6 pkts. Splenda
1/2 t. vanilla
toppings of your choice, probably around 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Prepare a 10×15 pan by lining it with parchment. Trim the parchment if necessary so that it extends over the long sides of the pan, but does not come up the short sides of the pan at all. (My photos above show how not to do that!) Clip the parchment to the sides, if you like, with some clothespins or other large clips. Set aside.

Melt the butter and the baking chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Add in the cocoa and Splenda, and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth. Add in the vanilla, stir until combined, then pour it into the prepared pan. Spread the chocolate out to a fairly even smoothness. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Sprinkle your toppings of choice over the chocolate, then chill for a couple hours at least. Keep it refrigerated when not serving (or snitching) it, because it softens quickly.

If you’re looking for a recipe with a different sweetener, here are some other options:

Want more recipes like this? or looking for Paleo recipes? Check out my cookbook…

 sugar-free dessert cookbook now available

Peanut butter cups – homemade!

Today’s post is a guest appearance by our dear daughter, Annica. Which can only mean one thing: There will be carbs!
Hello, blogosphere! There’s a new sheriff in town. By which I mean I am taking over my mom’s blog for a day! If you follow the blog (the wonderful, magnificent, glorious thing that is “oh, that’s tasty!”) you’ll know that I’ve been mentioned before – in passing. I’m a poor, malnourished college student, so when I come home, my parents make sure I am well fed. And I always help them along with a culinary splurge or two of my own. 😉
At the beginning of spring break, my dad announced that he was absolutely, definitely not going to bake anything sweet while I was home, and he would appreciate it if I would do the same. He didn’t want my Rushmore-sized sweet tooth undermining his diet – understandably so. (I’ve done it before, and I regret to say, I’m all too likely to do it again.) 
Well, fast-forward to yesterday, when he says: “Hey, we should bake something to mail up to your brother.” And if some of the mail-destined sweets happen to “accidentally” make their way into our mouths, well… (Diet be damned, apparently!)
Today I head back to dorm food and Easy Mac, so yeah, I was good with making something sweet!
We debated for a few minutes about what to make, and finally settled on homemade peanut butter cups. I’d made them before, and I knew that while my brother is a fan of Reese’s, he no longer would be after eating one of these babies. (Yes, they are that good.)
I went onto allrecipes.com and pulled up this recipe. Plus side: it only calls for four ingredients, all of which are easily found in any pantry in America. (You can dress it up with additions, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.) Down side: it takes a while to make, and if you want to stay clean … well, that ain’t gonna happen, flat out.
Start by melting half of a standard 11.5 oz bag of chocolate chips: milk, white, or dark. (I’m usually a dark chocolate gal – the darker the better – but peanut butter goes well with any percentage. I can honestly say I have no preference.) We used chocolate chips, but also threw in some Ghiardelli chocolate bars.
I used our double boiler, because our microwave is now sitting in my dorm room, 158 miles away. Kinda inconvenient. But you could just put the chips in a plastic baggie and nuke them on the lowest setting until they’re almost melted. You’ll want to be careful to take them out just a little bit early, though. Over-heated chocolate gets thick and muddy, and you don’t want that near your peanut butter!
Fill a mini muffin tin with mini muffin liners. A helpful hint: the smaller the ridges on them, the better. If your muffin liners have deep ridges, they’ll be harder to peel off.
If you melted your chocolate in a plastic baggie, congratulations! You have automatically completed the next step! If you didn’t, transfer your melted chocolate to a plastic baggie and snip off just the tip of one corner. This is where the mess begins, if you’re not careful. Here’s where the mess begins even if you are careful!
Fill each muffin cup about a quarter to a third full of chocolate. It wouldn’t hurt to spray them with a bit of Pam, either. You will want easy access to these things, so anything you can do to make them easier to peel, go for it!
Next, smush the chocolate up the sides. It helps to move your spoon up and in a diagonal motion, not just straight up. Moving it in a diagonal way helps to get the chocolate into the ridges. Be careful not to leave any holes in the chocolate in the bottom of the cup.
Once you’ve finished this, pop them in the icebox to harden up.
Next up, the peanut butter filling, a.k.a. the easiest thing to make in the world! Just mix up a cup of peanut butter, (I used Kroger’s natural creamy because it consists of peanuts and salt only,) ¼ teaspoon of salt, and half a cup of powdered sugar. Some reviewers suggested adding graham cracker crumbs, in order to get that signature Reese’s texture. I personally am not a fan of the texture, but if you are, then this would be the way to go.
Once this is mixed up and your shells are hardened, (which only takes a few minutes) take a spoon or a scoop, — I used a scoop that equals about 2 T. — and plop the peanut butter mixture into the shells.
You might need to flatten the PB out a little, with the back of a spoon, or clean fingers.
Melt some more chocolate, then transfer to a plastic baggie as before. Snip off the corner, and cover the peanut butter with chocolate. I suggest going from the outside in. That way, the peanut butter doesn’t cave, and the chocolate has a chance to meld together. 
Smooth the tops off (if you want), stick ’em in the fridge to harden, and you got yourself a treat to rival an all-American classic!
And just for kicks, how about these weirdos? Yes, the beauty you see before you is nothing less than bacon peanut butter cups.
My dad is a voracious lover of all meat, especially if that meat has been smoked, and especially if that meat is bacon! We were going to make chocolate-covered bacon, but then I ended up using all of the chocolate on the peanut butter cups. Oops! So we figured, why not get a little bit funky and throw some bacon on the peanut butter cups!
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how well these turned out! You can hardly taste the bacon; it just adds a little bit of saltiness that complements the bitterness of the chocolate nicely, and brings out the saltiness of the peanut butter. If I make these again, however, I’ll mix the bacon in with the peanut butter.
I hope you enjoyed my guest blog! Now it’s back to school for me! (With some of these little delights stowed away in my suitcase…)
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