cherry almond coconut bark

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Nothing against Godiva or Russell Stover, but this year, I decided to make my own Valentine’s Day chocolate. It could be because I don’t anticipate anyone bringing me any, but I’d like to think there is no better feeling than enjoying my own recipe. I browsed through Pinterest to find the perfect dessert that wouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to put together, but the options were slim. I did find a recipe for a similar chocolate bark (as dessert lovers call it), but I didn’t love the ingredients. That’s the best part about cooking; you can make any recipe any way you want. If you don’t love it the first time, you learn for the next time.

I used dark chocolate for this recipe, which has a slightly bitter flavor compared to milk chocolate, but according to WebMD, it provides the body with antioxidants and can even lower high blood pressure. The hint of bitterness in the chocolate is complemented by the sweetness of the coconut flakes and cherries. Finally, salted almonds add delicious flavor and just enough crunch to complete this sweet and salty, guilt-free dessert.

The beauty of cooking is the ability to interchange ingredients. For those who are not fans of dark chocolate, feel free to substitute milk chocolate. The dessert will be sweeter overall, and perfect for sharing with your sweetheart – or enjoying with friends and a glass of wine.

Ingredients:

12-18 oz dark chocolate (12 oz for thinner bark)

1/3 c sweetened coconut flakes

1/2 c sweetened dried cherries

3/4 c sliced salted almonds

Line a 9×9-inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 50-second intervals (takes about 3 intervals). Pour melted chocolate into the pan, and top with coconut flakes, cherries and almonds. Press lightly on toppings with the back of a spoon to secure them into the chocolate. Chill for 2-3 hours. Remove the bark from the pan and break into uneven pieces. Serve and enjoy.

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