Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
It’s true; you can never truly prepare yourself to become a parent. You can read books, watch the Brady Bunch and buy a puppy but these all fail to measure up to the realities of parenthood. There are things that are thrust upon you from day one, and then there are things that you know you will have to do as your child gets older. They are problems that there’s time to prepare for that… or so I thought.
The other night, in a post-Christmas concert hyper, 6yo H came to me with a delicate subject matter. He wanted to discuss girls and making babies. 6 yo H knows a bit about how babies are made thanks to baby L (when we told him we were having another baby his response was “those pesky sperm have done it again”) and he has quite a curious mind so I was a little bit worried about where this would lead us.
Turns out H has a little crush on a girl at school. He gets nervous when he’s around her and can’t even say more than one sentence to her without feeling strange (his words!). Apparently she’s one of the least nasty girls in his class, she’s a good reader and she likes to play Inspector Gadget; a triple threat when you’re 6!
You may recall that H had a fiancé in kindergarten; a girl I did not approve who wore a lot of leopard print (look at me; the disapproving Mother in Law already!). That relationship fizzled out when they made a fire station in the playground. This crush too will fade, but it’s brought home to me that my little boy is becoming a little man. I still think of him as my baby boy, but tomorrow he finishes his first year of primary school and, just like the first day, it might be hard to hold in the tears.
Some days are harder than others, and on those days sometimes you just need chocolate… and caramel. This Turtle Bark is just what any overwhelmed Mum needs when she realises her babies aren’t babies any more. It’s a thin layer of chocolate with lashings of caramel sauce and topped with crunchy pecans. It is gooey caramel that oozes from the dairy free chocolate. It is a decadent treat when you need a shoulder to cry on.
I like making bark. It’s simple and ready to eat after only 30 minutes. I have previously made Cranberry and Orange Bark and this time decided to take on the flavours of the Turtle Cookie. Who doesn’t love chocolate and caramel?! The trickiest part of making Turtle Bark is making the Caramel, and it’s not that hard once you give it a try. There’s no need for thermometers, just make sure your saucepan in big enough to accommodate the bubbling caramel. This Caramel Sauce does not set firm like the Chocolate does so the Turtle Bark will ooze caramel…which is why I love it so much.
So next time your child tells you they think women have babies in factories or that a girl makes them feel funny inside eat this Turtle Bark – all of it!
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa
- Dash Salt
- 2-3 Tablespoons of Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
- 1/3 Cup chopped Pecans (plain or roasted work)
- 3/4 Cup Coconut Cream
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- dash of Salt
- 1 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- Place the coconut oil in a small saucepan and melt over a very low heat.
- Add the vanilla, maple syrup and salt and stir until combined.
- Add the cocoa and stir until well combined.
- Line a 20cm (8inch) square cake tin (or a baking tray of similar dimensions) and pour the chocolate into the tray, ensuring an even distribution.
- Drop teaspoons of caramel sauce over the chocolate and use a sharp knife to spread the chocolate through the chocolate. Make sure some of the sauce remain in 'pools' to create gooey stretchy caramel. Add as much caramel as desired (normally between 5-8 teaspoons)
- Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the thin chocolate and freeze for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Break into pieces and serve. Keep the bark in the freezer between serves.
- Place the coconut cream, maple syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium/high heat.
- Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce to a medium heat.
- Allow the mixture to simmer until quite thick and dark golden in colour. Stir regularly to prevent burning. This will take 15-30 minutes, depending on the quality of your coconut cream.
- Add vanilla and continue to cook on medium heat for another 2 minutes. The caramel will be dark golden in colour and delicious.
- When cooler, place into container and keep in fridge. The caramel will thicken as it refridgerates.