Delight your family and friends with a dessert that tastes decadent, but really isn’t. The key is tricking your palate with a rich, sweet flavor that satisfies that sweet spot, but doesn’t break the calorie bank. I love to go mini with sweets as I can savor and enjoy the whole thing (and not overindulge!)
I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate as you get benefits from antioxidants in the cocoa called flavanols. The cocoa powder, the part of the cocoa bean without cocoa butter or solids, is where you gain potential health benefits.
These plant compounds may good for your heart as they may lower blood pressure and keep your blood flowing normally. Eating dark chocolate (versus drinking hot cocoa) has shown to be eight times more effective at lowering blood pressure. So enjoy an ounce a day of the dark stuff! (For more on chocolate, read page 176 – 177 in Total Body Diet For Dummies.)
For this recipe, instead of the oven I use the freezer. So, you could say this is a no-bake dessert, but there is a freezing process that goes into it. I am going to create mini “bark bites”.
We love holiday bark in our house and I like to throw different textures and flavors into it. I encourage you to get creative with yours.
Today, I am adding a hint of matcha green tea with McCormick Organic Matcha Green Tea with Ginger. Matcha is an ancient green tea that comes from the Camellia sinensis (where all green teas come from). What makes it different from other green tea is that matcha tea leaves are shaded for a few weeks prior to harvest. The shade time may allow the tea leaves to store up more plant compounds, which may be attributed to its anecdotal calming effect. In this seasoning, the matcha mixed with the powered ginger gives it a unique kick!
To incorporate the seasoning a bit so it’s not overpowering, I add it to the chopped walnuts. The hearty, rich walnuts stands up well to the robust flavoring. Walnuts are jam-packed with omega-3 fats, fiber and protein and add a tasty nutritious boost to baked goods, soups, salads and encrusted fish or chicken. Plus, they taste great with chocolate!
For a hint of tart sweetness, dried cranberries add a nice accent. Plus, little will your family and friend realize while they are biting into the bark that the cranberries add plant-based compounds that may help fend off infections, such as urinary tract infections, as well as gastrointestinal and oral infections, too. Drinking cranberry juice and eating the whole fruit (aka cranberry sauce ) can be good for you. Check out my recent article on cranberries.
It’s super simple to make these. Melt chocolate, add cranberries and walnuts; mix and dollop into mini muffin tins. Freeze for a couple of hours and pop out onto a plate and serve.
Makes 16 clusters
1 10-ounce package dark chocolate chips, melted
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Organic Matcha Green Tea and Ginger Seasoning*
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Lightly spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
Put chocolate in a bowl and melt in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove with a oven mitt and stir gently (it should be smooth and fully melted).
In a small bowl, combine walnuts and matcha tea ginger seasoning. Stir gently. Spoon walnut mixture into melted chocolate along with the cranberries. Stir gently until combined.
Dollop chocolate mixture into prepared muffin tin. Fill up each one to the top. Place into the freezer for at least 2 – 3 hours. Pop each one out and place on a serving plate or tray.
*This post is not a paid sponsorship by McCormick, but I was given free samples of this product. Thanks, McCormick Spices!