A Dietitian’s Healthy Dark Chocolate Bark Recipe
Jessica Bippen, MS, RD, whips up a healthy dark chocolate bark recipe that’s boosted with feel-good ingredients. Bonus: It’s ready in about 20 minutes and is perfect for gifting!
Chocolate bark may be one of easiest desserts to make. For starters, it’s simple and holds up well. Plus, as long as you have chocolate, you can make it with just about any other ingredients you have on hand.
This particular dark chocolate bark recipe plays on festive holiday colors from dried cranberries, raw pistachios, and coconut. Plus, each of the ingredients packs in good-for-you nutrients, making for a healthy holiday treat.
Before we get to the main attraction, let’s first look at some nutritional benefits of this healthy chocolate bark recipe.
Thankfully, this indulgent dessert staple comes with numerous health benefits.
Dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and several antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins.
Tip: When choosing dark chocolate, opt for 70 percent or higher cacao content. A higher percentage means a higher concentration of nutrients and antioxidants, as well as less sugar.
Speaking of sugar, dark chocolate still contains a moderate amount, so it’s best to enjoy in high-quality dark chocolate in moderation.
These little green nuts are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They even pack in some protein.
Next, a one-ounce (28 gram) serving of pistachios is about 49 pistachios, which is pretty generous compared to other nuts. This servings size contains about:
- three grams of fiber
- six grams of protein
- 13 grams of fat (90 percent of which are heart-healthy unsaturated fats!)
Pistachios are also one of the best sources of vitamin B6, and they’re also rich in potassium. Your body needs B6 to help with blood sugar regulation (among several other important functions!) and potassium to help maintain healthy blood pressure and heart rate.
Cranberries are a rich source of several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C. However, one of its most notable nutritional highlights is proanthocyanidins (PACs), a type of antioxidant.
Tip: Since fresh cranberries taste quite tart, it’s best to cook them with a low-glycemic sugar. Otherwise, opt for dried cranberries, which often pack a touch of added sugar to balance out the tartness. Pairing the dried cranberries with sweet chocolate (like in this dark chocolate bark recipe) also helps balance out the tart flavor.
A sprinkle of coconut on this healthy chocolate bark adds a pleasant, slightly sweet flavor. It also adds some nutritional benefits since coconut is a good source of healthy fats, B-vitamins, manganese, copper, and iron.
One of the biggest health benefits of coconut is from the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Your body uses this healthy fat differently than other types of fats. They’re absorbed directly from your small intestine, making them rapidly available for your body to use as energy.