HO HO HO.... So I just got home from Costa Rica. Vacation was awesome, so needed and was far far away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas chaos that seems to grip Toronto at the beginning of each December.
Being away for two weeks was the perfect amount of time away but didn’t leave me a whole lotta time to prepare for Christmas. This year we (the mister and I) decided to pare down on the spending. More specifically, reducing the feeling of consuming for the sake of consuming. Choosing to give minimal gifts, mostly to children, and asking that the adults in our life do the same. No gifts please. At the end of the day, we don’t need for anything and really, everyone’s money could be put to better use. Right?
Onto the gifts that are always appreciated ... Food. Last year was a bit of a debacle. We had made and prepped a ton of food to take to Moms but the day we left was a bit of a shit show and with an already overpacked car we somehow overlooked allllll the food. Homemade chocolate truffles, main dishes, and more. Much more... it was a teensy bit hilarious when we realized our gorgeous garlicky kale and lentil potato dish was still on the counter. Funny until we got home days later that is😝
This Christmas will be different. We are still taking some treats but, again, minimal. We will do our cooking on Christmas Day in my moms kitchen.
To the treats! I love chocolate. Good dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cacao, for me, the better. As we all know, store bought stuff an have all sorts of hidden nasties so the mister and I have a rule, if we want it, we have to make it ourselves. Challenging sure, but also SO WELL WORTH IT!!!
Heres a recipe I adapted from Minimilist Baker cause she’s the queen and needs to be thanked here.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BARK
for the chocolate:
- 1 1/4 chopped cocoa butter
- 2tbsp organic coconut oil
- 1c pure cacao (not cocoa!)~sifted
- 2tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 big pinch of Maldon sea salt
- 1/2tsp organic vanilla extract
- 3tbsp cacao nibs (I love Navitas brand)
- 2c toasted hazelnuts—preheat oven to 350 and roast for 15 min. Keep your eyes on them! Once out of oven, place on clean towel and rub the skins off. It’s perfectly fine to still have some skin on too!
how to do:
Set up a double boiler. We used a stainless steel bowl over 2 inches of boiling water. The bowl should be bigger than pot so no risk of splashing water in your chocolate. Add in chopped cacao and coconut oil and let melt. Stirring occasionally.
Once melted, add in cacao using a fine mesh strainer (this helps avoid clumps), and stir to combine.
Add in maple syrup, vanilla, sea salt and cacao nibs. Stir stir. Finally, add in your nuts (this can be made with any nut and or dried fruit combo!). Transfer to a parchment lined 8 by 12 baking dish and spread evenly. Transfer to the freezer and let set for minimum 1 hour but I let mine set for 3 before breaking apart in desired sized chunks.