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Chocolate Bark Recipes With Coconut Oil and Agave Nectar

Linda Crampton is a former teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys writing about nutrition and the culture and history of food.

Chocolate bark without nut butter (the lighter piece) and with nut butter (the darker pieces)

Chocolate bark without nut butter (the lighter piece) and with nut butter (the darker pieces)

A Tasty Treat for Chocolate Lovers

Chocolate bark is a delicious treat. It's very easy to make at home using just three ingredients—coconut oil, cocoa, and a sweetener. Replacing some of the coconut oil with nut butter is a tasty variation that I often use. Dried fruit, nuts, seeds, spices, and extracts can be added to create a wide range of flavors. The addition of protein powder provides extra nutrition, although it softens the texture of the bark.

Coconut oil is a great basis for homemade chocolate bark because it's a solid at room temperature but becomes liquid when heated. If coconut oil is softened or melted, other ingredients can be stirred into it. When the mixture is cooled in a refrigerator or freezer it becomes a solid again and can be broken into pieces.

Raw agave nectar or syrup has a pleasant toffee-like taste and is a nice sweetener to use in chocolate bark. The nectar has a low glycemic index, which means that it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar when eaten. It's rich in fructose, however. Eating large quantities of high-fructose sweeteners has been linked to an increased level of triglycerides (fats) in the blood. It's therefore best to make agave nectar an occasional treat.

The chocolate bark requires just three ingredients: coconut oil, agave nectar, and cocoa. I like to add nut butter as a fourth ingredient..

The chocolate bark requires just three ingredients: coconut oil, agave nectar, and cocoa. I like to add nut butter as a fourth ingredient..

Saturated Fats in Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, which is unusual for a plant oil. (Palm oil is another plant oil that is high in fat.) Many people working in the area of nutrition—but not all of them—say that saturated fat in foods obtained from animals is bad for us if eaten in excess. Many nutritionists—but once again, not all of them—also say that saturated fat from coconut oil is just as bad for us as fat from animals.

Interestingly, some nutrition researchers are now saying that perhaps coconut oil is not as bad for us as many nutritionists think. Saturated fats in humans and animals consist mainly of long-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, however. Medium-chain fatty acids may affect our bodies differently from long-chain ones.

Coconut is a delicious addition to recipes.

Coconut is a delicious addition to recipes.

Possible Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

There's still a lot that needs to be discovered about the ways in which coconut oil affects our bodies. Some people make wonderful claims about the benefits of the substance. For example, they say that the oil is antimicrobial inside the human body and that it causes weight loss by stimulating the thyroid gland. At the moment, there is no evidence for these claims that is accepted by the majority of scientists.

To complicate the analysis of research concerning coconut oil and human health, consumption of the refined oil may produce different results from consumption of the unrefined version. It will be interesting to see what researchers discover about the links between coconut oil and health in the future. It seems advisable to use the substance in moderation until more information is available.

Melting the SoIid Oil

It’s important to use virgin, unrefined coconut oil if you want to obtain the full aroma and flavor of the oil in a recipe. Unrefined coconut oil melts at 76°F (24°C), so on a hot day you may find that it’s already in a liquid form.

If the oil is still solid when you need to use it, it should be melted with a gentle heat. This can be done by sitting a container of coconut oil above a container of warm water, heating the oil gently in a double boiler, heating it briefly in a saucepan at the lowest setting on an oven burner, or microwaving it for a short time at a low setting.

Ground spices can be a nice addition to chocolate bark.

Ground spices can be a nice addition to chocolate bark.

A Few Tips for Making the Chocolate Bark

A liquid chocolate bark mixture solidifies quickly in the freezer, especially if the container is placed in the freezer for about ten minutes before being used. Once it's been made, the bark needs to be stored in the refrigerator to maintain its consistency.

Many people eat the bark as soon as it's solid, but you may find that at this stage it has an oily background taste, especially if no nut butter is used in the recipe. In addition, handling the bark so soon after it's made may leave an oily residue on the skin, which I find unappealing. If you leave the bark in the refrigerator overnight, the oily taste and residue should disappear and the full deliciousness of the chocolate should develop.

Adding a small amount of nut butter to the coconut oil makes the bark very creamy and tasty. The nut butter does soften the texture of the bark slightly, though. If you want to make traditional chocolate bark that snaps loudly as you break it, you will need to leave out the nut butter.

Another nice addition to the mixture is vanilla protein powder, which creates soft chocolate dessert bars rather than hard chocolate bark. I nearly always add nut butter to the coconut oil, and I sometimes add a vanilla whey protein powder as well. Vegan protein powders are available for people who would prefer them.

Ingredients for Chocolate Bark

  • 4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons smooth nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon of agave nectar (or another sweetener)

Instructions

  • Melt the coconut oil if it's in its solid form, as described above. Warm oil is fine to use, but it shouldn't be hot.
  • Stir the nut butter, cocoa, and agave nectar together.
  • Gradually pour the liquid coconut oil into the above mixture, stirring as you go.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into a freezer-safe eight inch by four inch loaf pan or another container. The container should be lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. I prefer to use recyclable aluminum foil and unbleached parchment paper.
  • The mixture doesn't need to cover the entire bottom of the container or have a neat shape. Chocolate bark traditionally consists of irregular and jagged pieces.
  • Place the chocolate bark container in the freezer on an even surface for at least fifteen minutes so that it solidifies.
  • Remove the slab of bark from its container and break it into pieces by hand.
  • Store the bark in the refrigerator until the next day for the best taste (unless you like the taste of the just-made bark)

If you want to omit the nut butter in the above recipe, add the cocoa and agave nectar to 1/2 cup (six tablespoons) of coconut oil.

Recipe Variations

The basic recipe for chocolate bark can be varied in the following ways.

  • Add one tablespoon or more of chopped dried fruit, chopped nuts, seeds, or finely shredded coconut. These ingredients can be stirred into the bark mixture or sprinkled on its surface before it solidifies.
  • Add one quarter teaspoon (or more to taste) of a ground spice.
  • Add one quarter teaspoon (or more to taste) of an essence.
  • Add one tablespoon of protein powder to the mixture.

The oil, salt, or sugar content of the nut butter and the use of a different sweetener —especially if it's a solid instead of a liquid—may affect the results of the recipe. In addition, some spices and essences may require more sweetener than others. Fortunately, experimentation is fun and the bark is quick to make. It's probably best to begin with a basic bark containing three or four ingredients, though.

To make a larger quantity of bark, increase the amount of each ingredient in the above recipe but keep the amounts in the same proportions (unless you want to experiment with the ratios). If the proportion of nut butter is increased, the bark will be softer and will take longer to solidify.

"Rustic" chocolate bark with crunchy peanut butter and currants

"Rustic" chocolate bark with crunchy peanut butter and currants

Chocolate Bark Made With Solid Coconut Oil

It's not essential to melt coconut oil in order to make chocolate bark. I got the "rustic' texture of the bark in the photo above by mashing the ingredients together at room temperature without melting the oil. This is a good technique to use if you have only a small amount of bark to make, as in my recipe. It's also useful if you don't want to take the time to melt the oil and mix it with nut butter and if you don't care about getting a smooth surface on the bark. The chocolate tastes the same, whichever method is used to make it.

Coconut Oil in the Kitchen

Coconut oil and protein powder are quite expensive, but if they're used in small quantities a container of each product lasts a long time. The oil doesn't need to be stored in the refrigerator, although it should be kept out of direct sunlight. Companies that sell coconut oil say that the unrefined product will stay in good condition for at least a year and a half.

Coconut oil is good for baking because it adds a nice flavor and a moist texture to foods. It can also be good for cooking because it has a high smoke point. The oil reportedly isn't damaged even when it's used to cook foods at high temperatures.

The main use of the oil in my kitchen is for making chocolate bark or slices. I enjoy creating interesting tastes by adding different types of nut butter, dried fruit and seeds, various spices, extracts such as vanilla, peppermint, or almond, and different flavors of protein powder. I think that chocolate made from coconut oil, nut butter, cocoa, and a sweetener is a lovely treat with or without additional ingredients.

References

© 2012 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 06, 2020:

Moderation sounds like a good idea, Peggy, especially with respect to coconut oil. Thanks for commenting.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2020:

We purchase different types of chocolate bark from Costco, but after reading this again I may give it a try. I wish that scientists and nutritionists would agree on the pros or cons of using coconut oil in our diets. In the meantime, I guess moderation is the best way to live our lives. We particularly love eating dark chocolate.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 31, 2014:

Hi, Sandy. Yes, chocolate bark as candy is delicious! Thanks for commenting.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin on August 31, 2014:

I remember using the chocolate bark for candy. Neer used the coconut oil though.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 22, 2014:

Yes, I think they're delicious! Coconut oil is a very interesting substance. Thanks for the visit, Arachnea.

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on August 22, 2014:

These sound delish. I only recently (over the last year and a half or so) started using coconut oil. I'll have to give these a try.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 15, 2014:

Hi, Torrs13. Thank you very much for the visit and comment. I enjoy the flavor of chocolate with peppermint, too. I love just about anything with chocolate in it, but I think the addition of peppermint makes chocolate even more delicious!

Tori Canonge from North Carolina on June 15, 2014:

I never even thought to use coconut oil for chocolate bark. I have heard lots of great things about its health benefits, so maybe I will give it a try. I really like to put chopped up peppermint pieces into my chocolate bark... it reminds me of Christmas time! Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe. I will have to pin this one for later :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 08, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, Thelma. Making coconut oil sounds interesting! I hope you enjoy the bark if you make it. Have a great weekend!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 08, 2014:

Hi, pocono foothills. Thanks for the interesting comment. I love chocolate bark with coconut oil, but after making it I always save the bark for the next day so that any oily taste disappears. It's so tempting to eat the bark earlier, but leaving it for a while is best for my taste buds!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 08, 2014:

Very creative! I have not heard about chocolate bark with coconut oil. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I´ll try this one day when I can find agave nectar. I used to make coconut oil with my late mother before. Happy weekend!

John Fisher from Easton, Pennsylvania on December 08, 2013:

I just recently started experimenting with coconut oil, coconut flour, and raw organic honey in some recipes. The first one I made, I noticed when I did a taste test immediately after preparation, the coconut flavor was very evident, but after being refrigerated overnight, the coconut flavor no longer overpowered the other flavors (I couldn't really taste it all anymore).

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 07, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Crystal. I totally agree with you - anything with the word chocolate in it gets my attention, too! I think you'll like coconut oil if you try it.

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on December 07, 2013:

This looks devine. I've never heard of chocolate bark but anything with the word chocolate in it gets my attention. I've never cooked with coconut oil and am interested to try, but a little hesitant as I don't know much about it. Great recipe and voting up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 19, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment, DDE.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 19, 2013:

Three Chocolate Bark Recipes With Coconut Oil and Agave Nectar wow! great recipes and sounds such a treat.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 30, 2013:

Hi, Rebecca. Coconut oil is great stuff! Unfortunately, as I say in the hub, at the moment there's no scientifically acceptable evidence that it stimulates the thyroid gland. It would be nice if it did! Thanks for the comment.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 30, 2013:

Using coconut oil in chocolate bark sounds like a great idea. Interesting facts....stimulates the thyroid gland? That's good news!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2013:

Hi, Crafty. Thanks for the visit and the comment! Whenever I make chocolate bark at home I use coconut oil. I don't buy chocolate bark in stores any more, because I prefer to make my own and control its ingredients. I would buy it if I found a version made from a recipe that I liked, though.

CraftytotheCore on October 23, 2013:

I've been learning quite a bit from Hubbers about the health benefits of coconut oil, and yet I hadn't even though to use it in chocolate bark! We have a store that sells it in a jar, and I am going to pick some up next shopping trip. Thanks so much for writing about this delicious treat and how we can make it different ways.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 30, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment, Schoolmom24. (I enjoyed your hub!)

Schoolmom24 from Oregon on August 30, 2013:

Yum! I've been hearing about all the health benefits of coconut oil and it's even better when it's in a delicious recipe! :) (And thank you, by the way, for stopping by my new hub!) :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 25, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, MarieAlana1. It's nice to meet you!

Marie Alana from Ohio on March 25, 2013:

This seems like a great recipe! I have had coconut oil in my kitchen for a couple months and just did not know what to do with it. Thanks for the information!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 15, 2012:

Thanks for the visit, mylindaelliot. I love chocolate too, but nutritionists do say that dark chocolate is better for us than milk chocolate. Any kind is good for a treat, though!

mylindaelliott from Louisiana on December 15, 2012:

Yum, I will try this recipe. I love chocolate but milk chocolate is not the healthiest choice.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 08, 2012:

Hi, Turtlewoman. I love the combination of chocolate and coconut oil or chocolate and peanut butter too - or the combination of all three ingredients! Thanks for the comment.

Kim Lam from California on December 08, 2012:

I am a lover of chocolate and coconut oil. Sometimes I add a bit of peanut butter in it too. Yum! Great hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 02, 2012:

Hi, unknown spy. Coconut and chocolate is a great combination! Thank you for the comment.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on December 02, 2012:

ohh so sweet. we used to make like these..well, a little different i guess but we also used coconut and chocolate..love it!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 16, 2012:

Thanks for the comment, btrbell. I appreciate your visit. Chocolate bark is definitely a nice treat during the holiday season! This version is easy to make, too. I hope you enjoy the bark if you make it.

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on November 16, 2012:

This looks and sounds great especially with the holiday season coming and the need to have treats on hand. It's funny, I have cooked with either cocnut oil or agave but yesterday, we debated the "agave or honey issue" at the store. Now I wish I had bought both! Thank you for sharing. i will try this!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 26, 2012:

Thank you for the visit and comment, vespawoolf. I like chocolate bark too - or chocolate anything, for that matter!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 26, 2012:

Thank you for the comment and the vote, moonlake. Coconut oil is very useful stuff - it's good for many purposes!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on June 26, 2012:

What a creative and interesting recipe! I love chocolate bark and especially like the idea of this healthful version. Thank you!

moonlake from America on June 26, 2012:

I have coconut oil in my kitchen and in my bathroom. Use it for skin care and cooking. I have never heard of Agave nectar will have to try to find it and make this recipe. I use chocolate bark at Christmas with recipes but have never made it myself. Interesting hub enjoyd reading it. Voted up

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 19, 2012:

Thank you for the vote and the "yummy" comment, Prasetio! I'm a chocolate lover too.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on June 19, 2012:

Very informative hub, Alicia. I am a chocolate lovers. I learn many things here, especially about "Health Effects of Coconut Oil". Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up and Yummy :-)

Prasetio

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 19, 2012:

Hi, Peggy. Thanks for commenting and for the votes and the share. I've heard about the claim that coconut oil helps dementia, but there's no scientific evidence that it works. I wish more scientists would do research on this topic - dementia is such a horrible disorder, and anything that improves the condition of someone suffering from the condition would be wonderful.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 19, 2012:

Believe it or not, I first read about using virgin coconut oil for dry skin. I had a dry spot on one elbow that few other lotions touched and I did find the coconut oil good for that use. Too bad there is not an aroma free coconut oil. Ha!

The next think I read about it was that there might be some evidence of it helping to ward off dementia...so as a precaution I started adding a teaspoon of it into my cup of morning coffee. Have no idea if there is any accuracy to those reports, but I rather like the taste...so all is not in vain.

I have yet to cook with it because my husband does not like the flavor of coconut.

Your recipe sounds like a winner for those who love chocolate, coconut and other flavors. Voted up, useful and will share.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 16, 2012:

Thanks for commenting, Nell. I like to find new ways to use chocolate in food too! I love its taste.

Nell Rose from England on June 16, 2012:

I am learning so many new things tonight reading these! lol! what a great idea, of course its not because I like chocolate, its purely because I am studying new ways of cooking! lol! thanks for sharing!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 15, 2012:

It's interesting to hear that you already have the ingredients for the chocolate bark, teaches, and that you like coconut oil chocolate! Coconut oil and agave nectar do seem to be growing in popularity. Thank you for the visit and the comment.

Dianna Mendez on June 15, 2012:

Now this recipe I can make today as I have all the ingredients in my kitchen. I love the combination of chocolate and coconut oil. Thanks for posting.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 15, 2012:

Thank you very much, LetitiaFT. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 15, 2012:

Thank you for the visit and the comment, AnimalWrites. I enjoy making chocolate desserts!

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on June 15, 2012:

What an unusual combination. It sounds (and looks!) like a wonderful match. Another must-try!

AnimalWrites from Planet Earth on June 15, 2012:

Mmm.... these chocolate bark recipes sound delicious and I can't wait to try them out. Thanks for the clear instructions and giving me something new in chocolate that I can indulge myself in!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 14, 2012:

I love chocolate too, drbj. In fact, most of my favorite desserts contain cocoa or chocolate! Thanks for the comment.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on June 14, 2012:

As a chocolate lover, you know, Alicia, I will have to try these fascinating chocolate bark recipes. Never thought of making it for myself before. Thanks for this new temptation.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 14, 2012:

Hi treyla. Thanks for the comment. I've never cooked foods with coconut oil on a stove top before - I always use it in raw or baked foods - so I like to read about people's experiences with using the oil in a different way.

treyla from New Mexico on June 14, 2012:

Cocnut oil is a great substitution. Just not when making g tortillas when u forgot to hy regular oil....hahahaja unless u want

Semi sweet tortillas.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 14, 2012:

Thank you, whowas! I appreciate your visit and comment.

whowas on June 14, 2012:

Hi AliciaC,

I've never even thought about coconut oil as an ingredient in cooking before but this recipe is very tempting. beautifully written and presented, too.

This is definitely one I'm going to try. Thanks so much for sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 13, 2012:

Thank you very much for the comment, RTalloni! I completely agree with your idea - all things in moderation. I'm very glad that coconut oil keeps so well, because although I have some in my kitchen cupboard I use it only occasionally. When I use it, though, it's always to make baked goods and desserts!

RTalloni on June 13, 2012:

Oh me oh my oh! I've wanted to work out a recipe for this for the longest time, now you've done it for me. Thanks so much!

After dropping butter due to a cow milk allergy I struggled with recipes until I discovered coconut oil. Thanks much for a closer look at it. We use it all the time--all things in moderation though. That means I'll have to only make your recipe once in a while. :)

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