Chocolate Bark Recipes With Coconut Oil and Agave Nectar

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) | Source

The Joy of Chocolate Bark

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.

Agave nectar is a good sweetener to use in chocolate bark since it has a low glycemic index, which means that it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar. Raw agave nectar also has a pleasant toffee-like taste.

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

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 from coconut oil is just as bad for us as saturated fat from animals.

The saturated fat in food obtained from animals increases the blood level of LDL cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol that increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The current thinking of most nutritionists is that we don’t need to eliminate saturated fat from our diet but that we should limit it. They say that unsaturated fats should make up the larger portion of our dietary fat and hydrogenated or trans fats should be avoided.

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 fatty acids.

Coconut is a delicious addition to recipes.
Coconut is a delicious addition to recipes. | Source

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 oil's benefits. For example, they say that coconut 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, refined coconut oil consumption may produce different results from unrefined oil consumption. It will be interesting to see what researchers discover about coconut oil and health in the future.

Chocolate bark with nut butter and vanilla protein powder added
Chocolate bark with nut butter and vanilla protein powder added | Source

Melting Coconut 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 the oil is 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.

Spices can be a nice addition to chocolate bark.
Spices can be a nice addition to chocolate bark. | Source

Chocolate Bark Tips

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 will disappear and the full deliciousness of the chocolate will 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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is the mixture of nut butter, cocoa and agave nectar that I use to make chocolate bark. The mixture is nice as a spread on bread or crackers or as a frosting on cakes.Liquid coconut oil has been added and the mixture has been poured into a loaf pan lined with aluminum foil. It's ready to go into the freezer.
This is the mixture of nut butter, cocoa and agave nectar that I use to make chocolate bark. The mixture is nice as a spread on bread or crackers or as a frosting on cakes.
This is the mixture of nut butter, cocoa and agave nectar that I use to make chocolate bark. The mixture is nice as a spread on bread or crackers or as a frosting on cakes. | Source
Liquid coconut oil has been added and the mixture has been poured into a loaf pan lined with aluminum foil. It's ready to go into the freezer.
Liquid coconut oil has been added and the mixture has been poured into a loaf pan lined with aluminum foil. It's ready to go into the freezer. | Source

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

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 very 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.
  • Optional - store the bark in the refrigerator until the next day for the best result.

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.

The video below shows how to make pecan cranberry chocolate bark with coconut oil. It produces a larger quantity of bark than my recipe but takes longer to make.

Pecan Cranberry Chocolate Bark Recipe

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 three or four ingredient bark, 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 | Source

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.

The following video describes how to use coconut oil to make chocolate instead of chocolate bark. Apart from the different thicknesses and shapes of the pieces, the two products are similar.

Coconut Oil Chocolate Recipe

Do you use coconut oil in your kitchen?

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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. Coconut oil sellers say that the unrefined oil 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's also good for cooking because it has a high smoke point. The oil isn't damaged even when it's used to cook foods at high temperatures.

I don't make chocolate bark very often, but it's very enjoyable to eat when I do. Interesting tastes can be created 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. Chocolate bark with coconut oil and nut butter is a lovely treat.

© 2012 Linda Crampton

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Comments 54 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

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. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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!


whowas 4 years ago

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


treyla profile image

treyla 4 years ago from New Mexico

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


AnimalWrites profile image

AnimalWrites 4 years ago from Planet Earth

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!


LetitiaFT profile image

LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

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!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

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


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


btrbell profile image

btrbell 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

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!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


Turtlewoman profile image

Turtlewoman 4 years ago from California

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


mylindaelliott profile image

mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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!


MarieAlana1 profile image

MarieAlana1 3 years ago from Ohio

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!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


Schoolmom24 profile image

Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

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!) :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, DDE.


Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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.


pocono foothills profile image

pocono foothills 3 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

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).


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

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!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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!


Torrs13 profile image

Torrs13 2 years ago from California

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 :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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!


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

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.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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


ReviewsfromSandy profile image

ReviewsfromSandy 2 years ago from Wisconsin

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

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

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    Linda Crampton (AliciaC)1,250 Followers
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    Linda Crampton is a teacher with an honours degree in biology. She enjoys exploring nutrition as well as the culture and history of food.



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