You know what’s really good together? Quinoa and chocolate.
Quinoa haters, you’re like “aw heyyy-all no!” Quinoa lovers, you know better.
I recently decided I wanted to try to make a quinoa chocolate bar. And right after that, I saw just such a thing at the grocery store! Talk about serendipity; of course I had to buy it… you know, to see if my efforts would be worth it and everything.
Well, as you can probably tell from the fact that I made three different variations, stuffed my face with them all of last weekend, and am now posting about them… the quinoa chocolate bar was good. VERY good.
But for a little festive touch, I decided we need to make this a quinoa chocolate bark. That way we can add festive toppings and share with friends! Or add festive toppings and hoard it in the back of a cabinet until all your house guests go home. Your choice.
After my weekend face-stuffing, I opted to bring the remains of this bark into work, where it was a big hit. Everyone liked it, and you know what? No one guessed that the crunchy stuff in it was quinoa. I think we’re calling that a success, because this is chocolate after all.
Once my co-workers were informed of the quinoa in their treat, they all asked the same question: is it cooked? And the answer is: kinda. It’s toasted, but not boiled. Toasting the quinoa until golden brown puffs it up and makes it edible – we’re not putting dense little pebbles in our chocolate, I promise. It’s not exactly as airy as popcorn or rice crisp cereal, but it’s crunchy and enjoyable. We’ve done the toasted quinoa thing before, yes? So we’re not scared.
I made this lovely, crunchy bark with 3 different toppings: dried cranberries + toasted pepitas, just plain sea salt, and toasted sliced almonds + toasted unsweetened coconut flakes.
My favorite? A tie between the cranberry/pepita and sea salt versions. The almond+coconut topping is good to, but it doesn’t get any better than salted chocolate to me. With the cranberry/pepita combo, it’s the red and green that gets me – so festive! And I loved the chewy cranberries. If you’re feeling crazy, I say top this bark with cranberries, pepitas AND sea salt. Do it! Or you can use anything you like, of course.
I’m pretty sure some chocolate lovers on your Christmas list would go crazy for a tin of this quinoa bark! And you can choose whether or not you tell them what that crunchy stuff inside is.
- 1/2 cup pre-rinsed quinoa
- 10 oz high-quality dark or bittersweet chocolate (use dairy-free chocolate for vegan chocolate bark)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- flaky sea salt, OR
- 1/2 cup toasted pepitas and 1/2 cup dried cranberries, OR
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds and 1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11x17 baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread quinoa on a separate baking sheet and toast until golden, 6-8 minutes, stirring once. Check frequently to make sure it does not burn. Remove from oven and set aside.
- If using any toppings that require toasting, spread them on a baking sheet and toast until golden - about 4-6 minutes for the sliced almonds, 1-2 minutes for the coconut flakes, and 3-4 minutes for the pepitas. This will vary depending on your oven, so check frequently!
- Place chocolate and coconut oil in a heat-proof dish and microwave in 30-second increments until melted. Joy of Baking has some excellent instructions on tempering chocolate for chocolate bark here, but if you're lazy like me, you can just microwave it.
- Stir the toasted quinoa into the melted chocolate. Pour onto the lined baking sheet and spread into an even square about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle on desired toppings. Place in fridge to set. Once hardened, remove from fridge and break into pieces. Store covered in the fridge, or at room temperature if you've tempered the chocolate.