From the name alone, chocolate bark doesn’t sound particularly appetizing. Chocolate bark is actually a sheet of chocolate that is usually covered with nuts, dried fruits, candies or even additional pieces of chocolate.
Well - it couldn't be long! After cocoa powder was reintroduced and they had their first taste of home-made chocolate (see recipe for the cream egg), I wanted to improve on the theme. Yes - it was ME, not them! I've learnt something. It's been quite a revelation. I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to sweet treats. My family love it when I serve them, but are happy to eat stewed apple every day if that's all I've got. But it's ME... I keep giving them naughty things! I keep dreaming up more chocolate recipes to try!
So I was just simply delighted when first I found coconut butter and discovered coconut butter bread
( http://www.lovingourguts.com/coconut-butter-sandwich-bread/ ), and then discovered that instead of using expensive coconut butter, or making my own which is rather time-consuming...Oh wonders of wonders, I could go to the Co-op or Sainsburies (UK) and buy creamed coconut (BlueDragon https://bluedragon.co.uk/products - nonorganic but 100% pure coconut) or the health food shop has the 'Biona' organic creamed coconut (http://www.biona.co.uk/product-272-4.html) .
With a little research, I find that these two products are interchangeable, if not the same thing. See these links for proof. It seems the only difference is the price. yesterday I found a small jar of coconut butter in the health food shop for £4.99, while in the same shop a packet of Biona creamed coconut was only £1.79.
One of the biggest problems I have is interpreting American ingredients into English equivalents. But it works as I've tried making my own coconut butter and using creamed coconut to make coconut butter bread and the result was the same.
I then discovered coconut bark. Now to us English folk, that sounds really strange, but I found this definition of bark:
Well, I'd already made a sheet of chocolate with my carob chips recipe, but it was very strong - like 100% dark chocolate. With a little research I found that indeed, coconut butter can be used sort of like cocoa butter to make chocolate. Now most recipes do use some 100% unsweetened chocolate as well as I gather it's easily available in the US. Not so in the UK and certainly not at a price we can afford. Of course, we could just use cocoa butter, but that too is very expensive.
So I was thrilled when I found a recipe in my new GAPS cookbook called Coconut Bark. (The heal your Gut Cookbook by H. Boynton and M. Brackett).
Putting together the two ideas I came up with:
1/2 cup creamed coconut
3/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (raw cacao is best)
A little honey - until sweet enough to mask the bitter chocolate
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl over simmering water until melted. Stir well to combine.
Pour into a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Leave to cool then place in freezer to harden.
Break/cut into small pieces and store in freezer.
Take out and enjoy!
Ok it is rather coconutty in flavour but it also has a slight caramel flavour. I reckon you could add raisins and nuts if you liked.
The Family love it - so they have a ration of a small piece after lunch on Sunday! Just like the old days - but much healthier of course! Of course, I like it too!
So what else can you do with creamed coconut?
Well, basically, use it as a milk substitute, but it is best strained, otherwise it has a rather grainy texture.
So I have made proper custard with egg yolks, honey and vanilla, or cheese sauce with just the eggs and salt and mustard and cheese. So we almost had lasagne without the pasta for tea one day.
I'm looking forward to finding more uses for it as we progress through the diet!