1.6.17 Dark Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Bark
It’s a brand new year, and I already feel behind. 2017 started off with the best of intentions; intentions that went completely by the wayside when our family was hit by a bout of stomach flu. I was lucky enough to escape unscathed, but the amount of laundry, caretaking, chicken soup making, etc. involved in this sort of ordeal leaves one with very little time for other projects.
I’m happy to report that things are pretty much back to normal at last in our house, and my first order of business was to whip up a batch of this delicious quinoa bark. After all we’d been through, it was clear we needed some chocolate, and over the holidays, one of my best friends was nice enough to make me a batch of this stuff. After one bite, I knew I’d have to make some myself as soon as possible. You see, this stuff has a lot going for it.
First off, it’s remarkably easy to make, which after the week we’ve had is absolutely what I need. Plus, it involves popping quinoa. If you’ve never tried this before, please do it immediately; it’s like making the world’s tiniest popcorn. The quinoa gets crunchy and toasty, and once it’s mixed into melted dark chocolate and cooled, it imparts a wonderful flavor and texture to the bark. You could get away with making this bark with just quinoa and chocolate if you’re a purist. Me, I added some dried tart cherries because I’m a sucker for cherries, but feel free to add whatever nuts, seeds, or dried fruit you’re feeling and really make it your own. The point is, you’ll end up with a quick, easy dessert that’s not cookies, and after the amount of Christmas cookie eating that went on around our house over the holidays, for the time being, that’s a good thing.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Bark
- ¼ cup quinoa
- 6 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup dried tart cherries, roughly chopped
1. Heat a medium sized, high sided pot over medium-high heat until it’s really hot (I actually found it most efficient to set the pan heating, then chop up the chocolate and cherries while I waited for it to come to temperature).
2. Once pot is screaming hot, add the quinoa, making sure the seeds are spread evenly across the bottom of the pot. Reduce heat to medium, put a lid on the pot, and shake it to agitate the quinoa. If your pot is hot enough, you should start hearing the quinoa popping almost immediately (if not, keep heating and shaking the pot periodically until you hear popping). Continue shaking until you no longer hear popping. If it smells like the quinoa is getting too toasty, just remove pot from heat and continue shaking. Once popping has stopped, dump popped quinoa out onto a baking sheet to cool off.
3. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is smoothly melted. Stir in the dried cherries and all but 1-2 tsps of the popped quinoa.
4. Line a baking sheet (I found that a ⅛ sheet pan was a great size for this) with parchment paper and pour chocolate mixture on top. Spread mixture evenly to a thickness of about ¼”, and sprinkle the top with the remaining quinoa.
5. Place baking sheet in refrigerator to cool until chocolate has solidified (about 1 hour). Peel bark off of parchment paper and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.