Tis’ the season for tricking ourselves into thinking we are living in the Hawaiian tropics, rather than experiencing the second ice age. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love (some aspects of) the Canadian winter, namely cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, a nice warm bed (#lazybones), holiday parties, lack of mosquitoes, the beautiful brightness that snow adds to our lives and the coziness that any indoor place automatically takes on once the mercury drops, but anything reminiscent of warm weather is welcome into my life, at this point of the year, which is how this recipe came to be.
I had a huge bag of dried pittahaya lying around from a trip to Boston, and thus Whole Foods (not complaining x2 🙂 ), and was racking my brain for a good use for it.
I chose to stay somewhat within my comfort zone and make chocolate bark (see my first chocolate bark attempt here), but experiment by adding to it some tropical elements. The dried fruits amp up the nutritional profile of this chocolate by adding fiber and antioxidants, toasted coconut adds manganese for healthy bones and copper for your immune system, and the delicate and milky Macadamia nuts provide yet more fiber (#happycolon) and a potential cholesterol-lowering effect. Side note: Macadamia nuts are the nuts with the highest fat content, so if you are watching your weight, consume them, but with moderation. Despite their fat content, these white nuts may help reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by 10%, according to a study published in 2008 in the Journal of Nutrition.
Did you know? Hawaii is the Macadamia nut capital of the world. Hawaiians (and tourists to Hawaii) love their Macadamia nuts, as I witnessed firsthand. I remember one of the first things I noticed as I visited Honolulu in 2007 (time, please stop flying by so fast!), was the ubiquitousness of Macadamia nuts. Displays of dry-roasted, caramel-glazed and chocolate-covered nuts, macadamia-containing nut brittle, ice cream, coffee and granola was abundant, as far as the eye could see. Too much information but in case you are interested: The shells of Macadamia nuts are notoriously difficult to crack open. In fact, these nuts require 300 lbs. per square inch to break their shell, making them the hardest of all nut shells (#ireallydigress).
Back to the recipe.
Everyone will devour this. Double the recipe and give some to everyone. Given this is so festive looking, this would also make for a fantastic sweet gift. I actually brought a batch to my favourite spinning teacher to thank him for being such an amazing team leader. Just suggesting! 😉
These are good. Really good.
Tropical Fruit Dark Chocolate Bark
- 200 g dark baking chocolate
- 3-4 pieces dried pittahaya, cut into small pieces
- 1/8 cup toasted Coconut Flakes
- 3-4 pieces of dried mango, cut into small pieces
- 3-4 tbsp. Macadamia nuts
- 3 tbsp. dried papaya
- In a double boiler, melt the baking chocolate until it is liquid.
- Pour the chocolatey goodness onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, forming circles with the chocolate.
- Decorate the chocolate with the nuts, toasted coconut and dried fruits.
- Place in the fridge to harden.
- Now enyoy! Invigorate your palate!
Source: Griel AE, Cao Y, et al. A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women, Journal of Nutrition, 2008 Apr;138(4):761-7.