Pistachio Cranberry Dark Chocolate Bark

Here’s a real quick idea for a wee holiday gift that you can make in about 20 minutes.  A few pieces wrapped in cellophane tied with  ribbon, would make for a nice thoughtful gift wouldn’t it?  I used to love baking cookies, cakes and other goodies to hand out as holiday gifts in Christmases past, but now I don’t seem to be as enthused about baking gifts.  Perhaps that’s because I don’t trust myself with anything sweet lying around the house?  Truth be told I’m a chocoholic, well who isn’t?  But I try not to tempt myself except on special occasions, and with Christmas around the corner, I believe that special occasion is here.  Don’t you agree?

When Christmas rolls around I always find myself reminiscing about the “good old days”.  Growing up in Kenya, our Christmas celebrations were centered around Baby Jesus, exchanging sweets, Goan sweets to be precise (much like cookie exchanges in the USA), getting new dresses tailored for midnight mass, shiny new patent leather shoes, and a boatload of social events like parties, dances and visits to friends homes. Socialization took precedence over consumerism :).  We probably got one gift, but for the most part, Santa’s route did not always bring him to Kenya.  Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Blitzen and the other reindeer would never have endured the warm weather in Kenya around Christmas time :).

I guess that tradition still exists in our humble home.  Before we downsized we always hosted a pretty big Christmas party for our friends –  I’d say roughly 40 plus friends in attendance.  We’d get dressed to the nines, organize games to introduce friends to one another, there was dancing, music and plenty of amazing food and drink.  I’d start preparing weeks ahead and freeze most of the food.  My husband was in charge of the music and cleaning.  They were fun times.  We still enjoy entertaining and having friends over, only on a much smaller scale.  I guess having no family around us has prompted us to make our own fun.  As I write this, I’m getting ready to host a Christmas luncheon tomorrow for a group of volunteers that I work with in the garden.  It has got me in the spirit, and I’m loving it.   These social gatherings definitely trump gift giving for us.  We’re not completely against gift giving over the holidays, (perhaps to those less fortunate), but this is our way of staying out of the malls or ordering online.  🙂

Back to the present……..I thought of baking a few goodies for when our girls come home for Christmas.  That’s my excuse anyway, and I’m sticking with it.   This quick and easy bark is loaded with antioxidants and good fats, they do say dark chocolate is good for you right?  Well in moderation I suppose, but I think you’ll find yourself reaching out for more than one piece at a time.  It is a festive treat that you can indulge in without the guilt, and believe you me, I’ve sampled a few already 🙂  Here’s the quick and simple way to get it together.

Coarsely chop about 3 oz. dried cranberries, 5 oz. shelled pistachios and melt 7 oz. dark chocolate in the microwave.  I used the Hershey dark chocolate.  Mix it all together, line a jelly roll pan with foil and freeze for an hour.  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

IMG_6204Irresistible? What do you think?  Oh so simple too.  Next up, shortbread cookies with raspberry jam centers.  Watch this space!  Peace and good wishes from our home to yours!

Recipe source: Skinnytaste

Linking this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #98.  Her co-hosts are Sadhna @ Herbs, Spices, and Traditions and Natalie @ Kitchen, uncorked.  Thanks ladies!

48 comments

    1. Thanks so much Sue, your visits on my blog mean a lot to me. I truly appreciate them. Who’d have thought I’d still be blogging almost a year and a half from when I started eh? I got a bit carried away with the memories on this post :). Christmas bear hugs coming your way. xoxo

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  1. Perfect holiday treat for friends and family.I like your use of cranberries and pistachios – favorites any time of the year. Your Christmas memories are a little similar to mine – lots of big parties with friends and Gene’s business associates. Good times and now I cook/bake for much smaller groups 🙂

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    1. Thanks Judi. Yes, I absolutely love gathering together with friends and cooking/baking and enjoying parties around the holidays. I guess that’s my way of showing we care, sans gifts. I can’t fathom how so many folks go broke around the holidays. It’s nice that you carry on your tradition albeit in smaller groups.

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  2. Beautiful! Yes, life does change after the kids leave home. But it is less work, so there’s that! Your Christmas parties sounded fabulous. Beautiful bark – I might just have to make this for some fun treat over the holiday!

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    1. Thanks Mimi. Our girls always come home for the holidays, so I always try to prepare little treats before their arrival. I’m pretty sure they will love this simple bark. Thanks for stopping 🙂

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  3. I love treats like this! The cranberry and pistachios are perfect Christmas colors. I think I like your Kenya Christmas. So much of what I like about Christmas. Getting together and socializing with friends and family. Good luck with your get together. I know it will be so much fun.

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    1. Thanks Julie, so simple, yet so festive and addictive! I think the true meaning of Christmas is all but gone. Folks stress so much about gifts and many go broke over this holiday. We’ve always enjoyed Christmas, but perhaps at times I behave like Scrooge did himself, but in my heart I’d rather spend time in my kitchen cooking/baking for friends and neighbors than being caught in a mall :). Like I said in the post, Santa rarely made it to Kenya 🙂 Off to put the finishing touches to my luncheon today 🙂

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  4. The bark looks lovely, and I also loved hearing about your Christmas traditions. Socializing, whether with family or friends, is the best part of the holiday. Those 40 people parties sound like those were so much fun, as does your Christmas luncheon 🙂 I’ll take some inspiration from you this holiday and focus more on the lovely people in my life this holiday!

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    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts. You are in the UK are you not? I know when I lived there, Christmas wasn’t so blown up as it is now. But I suppose all that American consumerism floats across the pond sometime or another doesn’t it? I was so surprised when I was visiting my folks in England in October, how Halloween is now celebrated all over, it never was when I lived there. Oh how times have changed eh? :). With all your beautiful contributions, I’m sure your friends and family will be so blessed with all that you offer around the holidays.

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      1. I actually live in Canada; definitely strong American influence, and Canada does have its own share of consumeristic spirit, doesn’t it? 🙂 Thanks for your kind response Loretta, and enjoy your holidays!

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    1. Thanks Freda, I talked a bit about our Christmas traditions growing up in Kenya. Your Goan sweets really take me back, I haven’t attempted any Goan sweets, except of course Christmas fruit cake, but then that isn’t exactly Goan is it? 🙂

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      1. I’ve probably only visited Goa about 4 times in my lifetime. We visited twice from Kenya when we were still in school – my grandparents lived there, and then twice again as an adult, the last time was about 10 years ago. Do you visit often?

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      2. 10 years!! Wow! That’s quite some time back! We used to visit Goa every summer vacation until the Xth std. Then once we got to college, not that frequently, only may be during weddings! I was in Goa last October, we decided to celebrate our son’s 1st birthday there!

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    1. Thanks Johanne, I’m sure it would be fine in the freezer, but I don’t want much to be leftover after the girls are gone, and actually it would do just fine in the refrigerator too.

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  5. Loretta,
    I can relate to creating our own fun with friends as we do not have family close by to celebrate with.Close friends do become our family too, right? The gathering /party at your home and sharing the joy is so much more important than material gifts! What a great lesson when your your girls were growing up!
    That chocolate bark looks divine! Love the red and green festive colors too!
    I am making it!

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    1. Thanks Sandhya, you bet a lot of my friends here are probably closer than my extended family who are so spread out. I don’t know if our girls thought it was a great lesson though, they dubbed us Mr. & Mrs. Scrooge LOL! I love Christmas, but the consumerism makes me wonder how so many folks actually get in debt over the holidays? Oh well, each to his own eh? Thanks for stopping by. That bark actually is just amazing, even my husband who is not too fond of candy or sweet delicacies, is popping one in his mouth each time he goes by the refrigerator. I’ll have to make an extra batch for when the girls come home for Christmas. I’m sure your kids would love it too. Have a go, so simple too!

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      1. Thanks Loretta! I just made it. I made it with dark and white chocolate marbled. It is cooling now and I cannot wait to eat it!
        I agree whole heartedly with you about the consumerism. Too funny about your girls dubbing you Mr. and Mrs. Scrooge:)

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  6. It looks gorgeous – that’s the kind of wee gift I like! I love all the gatherings, too, even though we never upsized we managed to cram quite a large number of people into our tiny two-up-two-down (22 for dinner last New Year’s Eve – on garden furniture, over two rooms … Even the cat had to be swung upstairs)
    Happy Advent!

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    1. Ha ha Ginger, I love the visual, adding the cat to the mix too :). What does 2 up, 2 down mean? I’ve heard that expression before in England. Will you be hosting New Year’s Eve again this year? Since we’ve downsized we do still enjoy the gatherings albeit on a much smaller scale. We had a curry cook-off last February and I recall dragging in the garden furniture so everyone could be seated at a table. I think we had 20 people then, utter chaos with about 8 different curries presented from around the world. It was such a huge hit, I blogged about it, and we now want to make it an annual tradition in February when everything is so dull and boring. Happy Advent to you too.

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    1. Thanks Indu, pretty much the same health wise, how about you? I’m trying to find some tumeric capsules that I hear you can get from a health food store. They are supposed to help with joint pain? Merry Christmas to you and your family too.

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      1. Oh sorry to hear. I am pretty much the same myself and getting tired of all the pain. Actually I have started having turmeric for my pain. I use organic turmeric powder from Whole foods. I make a paste with some olive oil and black pepper. And have it in hot water. You can have it with milk too. I didn’t look for turmeric capsules.

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