Friday, 28 March 2014

{Clean Eating} Cranberry & Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Clusters

So I've been thinking a lot about what my next, great, clean eating treat would be. So far, my favourite has been the chickpeas, but that doesn't really satisfy my after dinner sweet tooth. So, I lay awake in bed and try and come up with something. It had to be sweet (so obviously chocolate had to be involved) but I wanted there to be some nutritional benefits as well, and since I've been eating Almonds a lot to help with my low iron, I figured I'd add those in too. I wanted to add some tartness to it so that there would be a blend of flavours in there to make the treat ULTRA satisfying.

Then it hit me: Cranberries! We've been giving them to Molly as treats because she is UBER prone to UTI and cranberries are great for helping preventing them. They're sweet and a little tart and very good for you: high in antioxidants, low calorie and are a good source of Vitamin C, fibre and Vitamin E (read more here) so they would be the perfect addition to this treat!

So here it is my friends, my Cranberry & Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Clusters. The toasted almonds add a nice, almost smokey, flavour that combines beautifully with the dark chocolate (also high in antioxidants and other great stuff). The cranberries add balance with a little bit of tartness, and I dusted them with a wee bit of sea salt to make them slightly savoury.

Excuse my French, but these are f*cking good. The best part is, you feel completely satisfied after eating one of them, but if you want want more, you don't have to feel guilty. A true, power snack/dessert!

Cranberry & Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Clusters
By: Me
Makes About 12 Clusters
3/4 cup raw, unsalted Almonds
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips 
3/4 cup dried cranberries, no sugar added
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, smash the almonds with a hammer until they are all broken up. You don't want them to be a fine powder, just chunks. Spread out on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes (or until they are just starting to brown).

Once your almonds are done toasting, remove from oven and set aside. Turn the oven off. Prepare another baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, put a cup of the chocolate into a double boiler (or heat proof bowl over a boiling pot of water) and melt on medium heat. Once chocolate it completely melted, remove from heat. Using a tablespoon, scoop chocolate out and dollop on your prepared baking sheet so that you are making 2" chocolate disks. You should have 6-8 discs at this point. 

First, sprinkle a few dried cranberry pieces on each disc (about 4 per disc), then a few toasted almonds and gently press into the chocolate (not to hard, just ensuring that everything is IN the chocolate). Finally add a sprinkle of sea salt. How much you add on each disc is completely up to you!

Repeat with the remaining chocolate, almonds and cranberries. You might have leftovers of both. 

Put discs into the freezer for about 20 minutes or until hardened. Removed and store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks! Enjoy whenever you need something sweet!