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Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Amaranth Bars

serves

36

pieces

Serves

prep-time

20

minutes

Preparation Time

15 minutes + 3 hours refrigeration

Cooking Time

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (250ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) honey
  • 1 cup (250ml) smooth almond butter
  • 4 tsp McCormick Cinnamon Ground
  • 3 tsp (15ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup amaranth grain
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup salted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, toasted
  • 1/4 tsp McCormick Adjustable Grinder Sea Salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (90ml) dulce de leche sauce, warmed
Directions
  1. Place 1 cup of the chocolate chips in resealable plastic bag or airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Mix maple syrup and honey in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add almond butter, 3 tsps of the cinnamon and 2 tsps (10ml) of the vanilla; mix well. Set aside.
  3. Heat large frypan on medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsps of the amaranth; cover and cook about 30 seconds or until most of the grains have popped. (The popped grains will look like slightly larger small white beads.) Immediately transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth. (Should have about 2 cups popped amaranth.) Add coconut, cranberries, cashews, toasted oats and sea salt to popped amaranth in bowl; mix well. Add almond butter mixture; stir to coat all ingredients. Allow mixture to cool slightly. Stir in frozen chocolate chips. Gently press amaranth mixture into bottom of foil-lined 33cm x 22cm (13x9-inch) baking pan, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Place pan in refrigerator to chill.
  4. Meanwhile, bring cream just to boil in small saucepan. Stir in remaining 1 tsp each cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in medium heatproof bowl. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Pour chocolate sauce evenly over chilled amaranth dessert. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until chocolate is set.
  5. Use foil handles to remove chilled dessert from pan onto cutting board. Drizzle top of dessert with warm dulce de leche. Let stand until dulce de leche is set. Cut into bars.
Recipe Tip

  • Amaranth is an ancient seed from South America, rich in protein, fibre and vitamins, with an earthy, nutty flavour and crunchy texture. It can be found in health foods stores, the organic section of gourmet supermarket or online specialty stores.

  • Toasting oats enhances their flavor and gives them a nutty brown color and crispy texture. To toast oats, heat a small nonstick frypan on medium-high heat. Add oats; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Immediately pour out of hot frypan to avoid over-toasting.

  • Dulce de leche is a Latin American thick caramelized sweetened condensed milk used for sweet treats and desserts. Available at gourmet or specialty supermarkets.

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