Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark + A Valentine's Day Blog Hop

So you don't have to slave away on Valentine's Day, this Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark is super easy and quick to make.

If Valentine's Day seems a little trivial to you right now, a bit selfish, I say that Valentine's Day celebrates what we all know is best and most important in this world - our family, our friends, our neighbours, our peeps, whomever they may be - our loved ones. Valentine's Day celebrates love. And we can all use more of that.

If you object to the crass commercialism of Valentine's Day, why not celebrate your loved ones with homemade, inexpensive gifts that come straight from the heart? Something made with chocolate never hurts. Plus, check out the 24 creative Valentine's Day project ideas from other Canadian bloggers at the end of this post - there are treats, crafts, cards and even a cocktail (that I really want to try).

For my Valentine's Day project, I opted to make a luscious chocolate dessert. Chocolate and Valentine's Day go together like Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. They just fit. And just so you don't have to slave away on Valentine's Day, this Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark is super easy and quick to make. If you have kids, you can get them involved in making this recipe too. They can help sprinkle the Valentine's Day heart candies on top. And if you're celebrating Galentine's Day, make a bunch of this chocolate bark for your devoted girlfriends to munch on while watching Bridget Jones's Baby.

For this Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark, you need only roast a handful of almonds. Then, melt vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips with coconut oil and maple syrup in a heatproof bowl over gently boiling water. Remove from heat and stir in dried cranberries and almonds. Spread the chocolate out onto a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.

Then comes the lovey dovey part of the recipe, which involves sprinkling on all the Valentine's Day hearts you can find. Conversation hearts (the heart-shaped sugar candies with sayings on them) send your Valentine a sweet message. And red cinnamon hearts candies contrast so nicely in flavour with the chocolate base. I'm not a fan of these candies on their own, but they work beautifully with the chocolate. And they ensure that the chocolate bark has a fun factor that befits Valentine's Day.

I'm not at all patient when it comes to sweets, so I recommend popping this chocolate bark right into the freezer so it sets quickly. Then, take it out, cut it up and put it back in the freezer in a cookie tin with waxed paper between layers.

Do you see the dried cranberries in that top layer (above)? Yum. I'm all about the sweet stuff. My husband likes the roasted almonds best. You could certainly choose more of one filling and/or topping and less of another, depending what your loved ones prefer.

I eat this Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark straight from the freezer. No, it's not particularly healthy, but Valentine's Day is for treating ourselves!

I get a chuckle at the "Text Me" conversations hearts. The messages certainly have changed since I was a child.

You probably have semi-sweet chocolate chips in your fridge or pantry right now. A bit of coconut oil, a bit of maple syrup and a few lovely fillings and you are good to go. You can have this ready to eat tonight!

Do you have a loved one who would love a yummy homemade chocolate treat? (Wait, is that a dumb question?)

Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark

by Joann MacDonald
Keywords: vegan
  • 2 cups semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup conversation hearts
  • ¼ cup cinnamon hearts
  • Pinch of sea salt

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Melt chocolate chips with coconut oil and maple syrup in a heatproof bowl over gently boiling water. (I like to use a stainless steel bowl ever since I had a glass bowl break and ruin my other baked goods!)

Remove from heat and stir in dried cranberries and almonds.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to the waxed paper, spreading it into a rectangle about ¼- inch thick (measuring about 7" by 10" in size).

Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Sprinkle on conversation and cinnamon hearts, pressing in gently.

Refrigerate about an hour or until set. (Place in freezer if you’re in a hurry for chocolate!) Transfer to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into small pieces.

To roast almonds
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread whole almonds onto baking sheet. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the almonds are fragrant and lightly toasted. Be careful not to let them burn. Allow to cool and then chop into small pieces.

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Canadian Bloggers Valentine's Day Blog Hop

Check out these gorgeous crafts, recipes and drinks! Follow along on social media with the hashtag #CBValentinesDay. 

Heart Shaped Pizzas for Valentine's Day by Jo-Anna of A Pretty Life
Blood Orange Limoncello Cocktail for Valentine's Day by Tara of Suburble
Ombre Cake Makeover from a Grocery Store Cake by Colleen of Lemon Thistle
Valentine's Popcorn by Janella of Ma Belle Vie
"Warm Heart" Hand Warmers by Sarah of Flourish & Knot
Valentine's Day Embroidery Projects by Heather of Home to Heather
Valentine's Candy Inspired Table Setting by Andrea of Personally Andrea
Valentine Heart Strawberry Pop Tarts by Jen of Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Valentine's Day Date Night In Gift Basket Idea by Christina of The DIY Mommy
Valentine's Day Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookies by Shauna of Satori Design for Living
Felt Valentine's Day Cards by Alex of Northstory
Lovey Dovey Vegan Chocolate Bark by Joann of Woman in Real Life
Valentine's Day Wall Hanging by Thalita of The Learner Observer
DIY Valentine String Art by Tasha of The Dreamhouse Project
Fluffy Valentine Sugar Cookies by Kendra of Joy In Our Home
Easy DIY Valentine's Wreath by Laurie of VinYet ETC
Raspberry Pie Mousse Cups by Daniela of Lifeovereasy
Valentine’s Day Breakfast by Dannyelle of Life is a Party
Valentine's Mantel by Jen of Rambling Renovators
Boyfriend Bouquet | Floating Heart Terrarium by Cynthia of Cynthia Zamaria
Embroidery Hoop Valentine Art by Christine of The DIY Dreamer
"You & Me" Wood Sign by Lindi of Love Create Celebrate
Chocolate and Coconut Coated Heart Mini-Cakes by Jane and Sonja of Sustain My Craft Habit
DIY String Heart Wall Hanging by Melissa of The Sweet Escape
Heart Shaped Marshmallows for Valentine's Day by Christine of Amidst the Chaos


  1. Hi Joann,

    Wow! It looks fantastic! Love the colours. It would make a wonderful gift.

    1. Thanks so much Gabriela! Yes, I think it would be nice to gift some in a tin or jar. :)

  2. This looks SO good Joann! There is nothing better than a homemade gift!

    1. Thank you Jo-Anna! Yes, I love a good homemade gift. :)

  3. This looks like a great recipe I can do with my kids on a weekend!

    1. Thanks Alex! I think it would be fun for the kids. And tasty. ;)

  4. This is beautiful! I love a good bark and it's so easy to do. Nice job!

    1. Thanks Heather! Easy to make is tops on my list. ;)

  5. Love how the conversation hearts are updated from what we had when we were kids. Such a great idea!

    1. It's cute isn't it? Luv instead of love, haha. :)

  6. This looks so wonderful. I'm going to have to try it - I know my kids will love it.

  7. I soooo want to snack on some right now!

    1. I need some chocolate too Christine! The bark is all gone. :(

  8. This makes me want to become vegan! Almost... lol. Looks like a great recipe!

    1. Maybe I can swing you over to vegan for a day or two? Hehe.

  9. I can never believe that your recipes are vegan Joann! These look amazing, definitely pretty enough for a gift! xo

    1. I'm happy to hear that Andrea! I aim to make vegan food that everyone would want to eat, so that's perfect. :) Thank you.

  10. Hahaha "crass commercialism"! But you don't feel strongly about it at all... This looks delicious!!

    1. Thanks Sarah! I must admit, I don't mind getting a little gift now and then, whatever the reason. ;)

  11. Oh my goodness, this is gorgeous I would adore getting something so thoughtful as a sweet treat! Your mad skills in the kitchen blow my mind!!! <3

    1. Aw, thanks so much Laurie! I think my mom never would have imagined anybody would say I had mad skills in the kitchen. lol. Let's just say I started late. ;)

  12. What a yummy looking treat. Perfect for Valentine's Day!

  13. These look amazing!! Love coconut oil and what a great way to use it!!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I think I need more coconut oil to get my skin through this winter!

  14. You had me at dried cranberries. What a sweet treat!