In this Chef Recipe Series we have teamed up with Ireland’s leading food stylist and cookbook author Sharon Hearne-Smith to bring you: Healthier Treats For Kids.
In this series, the focus will be on delicious treats, that are refined sugar free, using natural sugars such as fruit to sweeten and using healthier alternatives.
This is Sharon’s indulgent Chocolate Bark recipe.These make ideal edible gifts, if you can bare to part with them. Get the kids involved with weighing everything out, naming ingredients they may be unfamiliar with. They will especially love the melted chocolate swirling (and licking) part! You can use sugar free dark chocolate here but use half milk chocolate for a sweeter finish if preferred. 50g of melted white chocolate drizzled over makes a fun effect for kids if liked also.
In this series we feature child friendly recipe videos, that are easy to follow and super tasty without all the nasties! These are a much healthier alternative to some of the shop bought treats that are ladened with sugar and E numbers.
To follow the series subscribe to our YouTube channel here.
Chocolate Bark recipe:
Makes about 30
- A little sunflower oil for greasing
- 125ml honey
- 25g coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g hazelnuts, finely chopped
- 150g pecans, finely chopped
- 50g desicatted coconut
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp linseeds, optional
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 50g dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp edible stars
- Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C), 350F, Gas Mark 4. Grease a 24 x 30cm tray, line with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract in a small pan. Simmer over a low heat until melted together and remove.
- Toss all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the syrup mixture over and stir together until evenly mixed. Tip out onto the prepared tray and spread evenly, pressing it down well.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes. Once cooked, the bark will still feel soft but don’t worry as it cools it will harden and crisp up. Remove from the oven, lift out of the tin and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, snap the dark chocolate into a small heatproof bowl. Melt in the microwave in 30 second blasts, stirring between each go, or over a pan of simmering water, shallow enough that the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Stir until melted and then remove and leave to cool a little.
- Lay a large piece of parchment paper on a surface and carefully turn the bark over onto it. Peel away the original paper and discard. Spread the melted chocolate over, then immediately sprinkle the cranberries and edible stars over evenly.
- Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until set firm. Break or cut into about 30 shards and serve. Any remaining can be stored layered between parchment paper in an airtight container in the fridge.
TIP: For a healthier version, make the bark without any chocolate, adding the cranberries into the actual bark mixture if liked.
Getting to know Sharon:
Sharon Hearne-Smith is a food stylist and cookbook author. She has worked her magic with food in the media for 20 years in Ireland, the UK and the US. Her experience includes ghostwriting, recipe development and food styling for cookbooks and magazines and she has worked on over 30 cookery TV shows. Sharon has worked behind the scenes supporting top celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver, James Martin, Gordon Ramsey, Lorraine Pascale, Donal Skehan, Rachel Allen and Neven Maguire.
In recent years, Sharon has written two of her own cookbooks, No Bake Baking and The No-Cook Cookbook, published by Quercus (London). She is a regular cook on RTE’s Today Show. Sharon is in her second year as ambassador for Supervalu’s ‘Get Ireland Cooking’ project where she helps encourage the nation to get cooking fresh, healthy and homecooked meals with a particular emphasis on encouraging kids to get involved.
Since becoming a Mum to Pearl (6) and Poppy (2), Sharon has become even more passionate about encouraging other parents to create healthy, wholesome food for their children. In this mini series with ‘I love cooking’, Sharon shares some of the healthier sweet recipes she treats her kids to.