The harvest in New England is here, and there's tons of amazing produce coming out of our farm fields and gardens. While there are numerous ways to prepare, cook, preserve, and maximize the bounty, baking with vegetables is a healthful* (*debatable...) way to get even more produce into your diet. If you're headed to a potluck, cooking or baking with kids, or just want a way to have a healthful-ish treat on hand, check out my go-to, simple baking with veggies recipes.
'Tis the season for many non-local confections, but many of them can be created using ethically sourced ingredients. My favorite, go-to recipe: chocolate bark! This is my latest concoction - sea salted mocha chocolate bark - made with Simply Smiles Casa Blend coffee!
A little bit about Simply Smiles coffee:
Your purchase helps farmers and their families through our ethical purchasing practices (Simply Smiles Coffees are a blend of certified Fair Trade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance beans) and our profits support the programs of Simply Smiles - a charity dedicated to providing bright futures for impoverished children.
I'm not a coffee drinker, but I do love cooking and baking with it. In this recipe, coffee intensifies the chocolate favor. The end result is a tasty, festive and thoughtful gift!
Sea Salted Mocha Chocolate Bark
Ingredients: * 16 oz. fair trade/organic dark chocolate (70% or more), chopped or 16 oz. of semisweet and/or bittersweet chocolate * 1.5 Tbl. of ground coffee beans (I used Simply Smiles Casa Blend) * pinch of sea salt * 1/8 c. whole coffee beans (optional)
Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or pop in the microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted but not burned. (It can happen quickly, so watch it!)
When the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and fold/stir in the coffee grounds. Pour the chocolate onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. With a spatula, work quickly to spread the chocolate evenly on the sheet before the chocolate sets.
Sprinkle the sea salt and coffee beans, if using. Press in if needed and allow the bark to set for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or a cool place.
When ready (when the chocolate is not tacky to the touch), break apart with a knife or your hands and serve.
Notes/suggestions: - I used regular coffee, but decaf is a suitable substitute. - You can always use milk chocolate. - Add more ground coffee beans if desired. - For an edible gift, place bark in a glass jar, tin or decorative plate...perhaps with a bag of Simply Smiles coffee!