Recipe

Dark chocolate and cranberry amaranth bars

These indulgent bars star popped amaranth, an ancient grain, paired with dark chocolate, crunchy cashews, toasted oats and tart cranberries. A drizzle of dulce de leche brings a kick of sweetness. Recipe courtesy of McCormick's.

  • 20 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
  • 3 hrs marinating
  • Makes 36
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Ingredients

Dark chocolate and cranberry amaranth bars
  • 2 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (250ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) honey
  • 1 cup (250ml) smooth almond butter
  • 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoon (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 centimetre salted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (90ml) dulce de leche sauce, warmed

Method

Dark chocolate and cranberry amaranth bars
  • 1
    Place 1 cup of the chocolate chips in re-sealable 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 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 3
    Add almond butter, 3 teaspoons of the cinnamon and 2 teaspoons (10ml) of the vanilla; mix well. Set aside.
  • 4
    Heat large frypan on medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons 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.)
  • 5
    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.
  • 6
    Gently press amaranth mixture into bottom of foil-lined 33cm x 22cm baking pan, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Place pan in refrigerator to chill.
  • 7
    Meanwhile, bring cream just to boil in small saucepan. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in medium heatproof bowl.
  • 8
    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.
  • 9
    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.