Cacao and Roasted Almond Butter Bark

Chocolate encourages your brain to produce feel-good endorphins because it has the same chemical, phenylethylamine (PEA), that your body produces when you are falling in love. 

This incredible combo of almond butter and cacao nibs is deliciously rich and full of phytonutrients. It's best incorporated as a two-ounce daily treat.

I used 100 percent cacao nibs in this recipe, which are naturally unsweetened. Nibs do not melt when heated, so if you will be using them, a high-speed blender is needed to pulverize well. If you are unable to locate the nibs at your local health food store, you can use chocolate chips (at least 70 percent cacao), which also do not require a blender.

More: Is Chocolate a Health Food?

Cacao nibs run about $11 for an eight-ounce package, which is more than enough for this recipe. Since nibs are incredibly versatile and lend themselves to both sweet and savory recipes, use them as you would nuts or chocolate chips. Bake into breads and cookies, sprinkle over oatmeal, top over roasted vegetables, toss into trail mix and salads, incorporate in meat rubs and sauces ? the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roasted almond butter (or plain)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup cacao nibs (or chocolate chips made with at least 70 percent cacao)
  • 1 cup roasted almonds, broken into small pieces
For the almond-butter mixture, mix almond butter, 1/4 cup agave, 1 cup coconut oil and sea salt in a medium bowl. Keep in a warm place until ready to use.

For the chocolate mixture, blend cacao nibs, remaining 1/4 cup of agave nectar and remaining 1/2 cup of coconut oil in a high-speed blender until smooth. (*Special note: If using chocolate chips, combine 1 cup of chips with coconut oil in a saucepan. Leave out the agave nectar and stir over low heat until the chips are thoroughly melted.) Spread half of the cacao mixture on a parchment-lined sheet pan to create a thin layer. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm. 

Spread almond-butter mixture over hardened cacao layer. Then spread remainder of cacao mixture over almond butter; place in freezer until firm. Top with chopped almonds and drizzle with remaining chocolate or continue layering chocolate and almond butter to reach a desired bark thickness. 

More: Peanut Butter vs. Almond Butter

Break the hardened chocolate and almond butter layer into pieces. Keep cold in freezer until you are ready to gift, share and enjoy.

More: Healthy Ways to Handle Food Cravings

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