Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
10 Dec

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Bark Sprinkled with Sea Salt

‘Tis the season of candy and sugary baked goods showing up everywhere you go. Plates of cookies, tins of caramel corn, strings of candy canes and leaden logs of fruitcake – why these things symbolize good cheer is hard to figure out. There’s no reason to be a complete Scrooge about holiday desserts, though, just as there’s no reason to deprive yourself entirely if you’re craving something festive. When your sweet tooth goes looking for the ultimate dessert indulgence this year, look no further. Dark Chocolate Macadamia Bark Sprinkled with Sea Salt tastes fully and completely like “real” dessert. Not only will you enjoy every bite, so will the family and friends that you gift it to (hint, hint, don’t eat it all yourself!)

This perfectly Primal dessert is loaded with flavonoids from the dark chocolate and has a positive fatty acid profile from the macadamias. But the very best part about this decadent Primal treat is that you can whip it up in less than 30 minutes using only three ingredients. How’s that for making your gift-giving simple this year?

The full recipe is below, but there’s not a whole lot more to it than melting chocolate, stirring in nuts, sprinkling with sea salt and refrigerating. So why is the result so amazing? First of all, it’s important to use good chocolate. The darker the better, both for health reasons and intensity of flavor. The macadamia nuts add a sweet, buttery component and the crucial sprinkle of sea salt on top is the flavor equivalent of an exclamation point.

The result is a dessert that’s the perfect thing to nibble on around a roaring fire, surrounded by those you love most. Or, at a holiday office party surrounded by those you love a little less dearly. Or, at that neighborhood cookie exchange you can never seem to get out of…wherever the holiday festivities take you, it will be a little bit merrier if Dark Chocolate Macadamia Bark Sprinkled with Sea Salt is your sensible indulgence of choice.


  • 9-10 ounces dark chocolate (aim for 85 – 90% cacao), chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Heat 2/3 of the chocolate in the microwave or on the stove. If using a microwave, heat the chocolate in 30-second increments, stopping to stir vigorously each time. It should take 2 minutes or less to melt the chocolate. If using the stove, create a double boiler by filling a pot with a few inches of water then balance or hold a smaller pot filled with the chocolate just above the water line. As the water gently boils, the steam will melt the chocolate in the smaller pot without burning it. Stir occasionally, removing from heat as soon as the chocolate melts completely.

Remove the melted chocolate from the microwave or stove. Add the remaining hard chocolate to the hot melted chocolate, stirring vigorously until it melts as well.

Stir the macadamia nuts into the chocolate.

Line a rimmed dish of your choice with parchment paper or wax paper. The size of the dish will determine how thick the bark is. A 2-quart squarebaking dish makes thicker bark (like in the photos). A larger dish will obviously yield thinner bark.

Spread the chocolate evenly in the rimmed dish. Sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, longer if chocolate isn’t solid yet. Use a knife to cut the bark into squares or misshapen pieces. Store the bark at room temperature.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Our forging ancestors had the upper-hand when it came to the purity of real foods, but I’m sure they would be jealous of things like this.

    Todd wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • You bet they would Todd. I had to reply to this comment because my real name is Todd but I go by Toad…

      Grok on Todd!

      Primal Toad wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • They would not be jealous…they would just beat our head in with a rock and eat the macadamia nut bark. :)

      Mari Davidson wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • That made me LOL. Thanks for that.

        Jared wrote on December 12th, 2011
        • bahahaha You and me both!

          Doug D wrote on December 14th, 2011
  2. I have a question about the chocolate. I’m trying to get rid of all soy products, but no matter how dark the chocolate, I see “soy lethicin” on the label. Is that acceptable in the PB plan? I was just reading last night (or very early this morning) on another post here regarding tofu being PB-approved because of the process it goes through being made.

    So…what about chocolate with soy lethicin? Or am I just not finding the good stuff in the stores around me?

    Decaf Debi wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • I’ve cut out soy completely because it gives me sinus issues, and I’ve had a hard time finding chocolate with out soy lecithin. However, Theo brand and Vivani brand don’t use it, and Chocolove’s 73% dark organic bars also don’t have it.

      Angela L wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • However, Chocolove may have trace amounts of gluten. I have celiac disease and I have a reaction to Chocolove’s strong dark 70%. I looked at their website and they say that they have no reason to believe there is gluten in their chocolate, but the vanilla does come in a powder form (on maltodextrin) and they can’t guarantee it is free from gluten. Most maltodextrin in this country is from corn, but since I’ve had reactions to it multiple times, it may be that the maltodextrin isn’t totally safe. So far I’ve had good luck with Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and with Endangered Species chocolate, as as gluten avoidance goes.

        Sara wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • I’m very sensitive to gluten, but have never had any problems eating Chocolove chocolate…and I eat it quite often.

          Ste wrote on December 12th, 2011
        • Their 73% does not contain the vanilla.

          Guest wrote on January 7th, 2012
    • Lindt makes an 85% and 99% Excellence Dark Cocoa bars without soy lecithin. the 85% is YUMMY!! And they uses demerara sugar and bourbon vanilla beans.

      Heather wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • Unfortunately, I’ve also had repeated reactions to Lindt 85%. On their website they say they clean their chocolate lines very carefully between batches, but if you’re sensitive to trace amounts of gluten, I recommend avoiding.

        Sara wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • Look for a brand called can be hard to find but it’s organic and has no soy and their coco powder is safe as well. I have Celiac Disease and don’t have a reaction..I am like the canary they send down in the mine-very sensitive to gluten! You can order Rapunzel on line as well..yummy dark chocolate!

          allie wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • Beware Lindt!!! All of their chocolate contains barley malt which contains gluten. I know, I know, it’s not listed anywhere, but I found a site quoting a company representative. I have never been so sick as after consuming 1/2 a dark chocolate Lindt bar.

        Sparkleplenty wrote on December 12th, 2011
    • Look for the brand “Equal Exchange”- we don’t use any soy lecithin and all of our chocolate is organic and from small farmers. The 80% panama is amazing- dark and smooth! You can find it at natural foods stores, Whole Foods or online at

      River wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • I second that. EqualExchange has no soy in it and is some of the best chocolate I’ve had. I actually love the mint version.

        Carls wrote on January 4th, 2012
    • I personally don’t worry about it… I think its a minor issue. If everything else is perfect in your world then worry about it. Otherwise, forget about it!

      Primal Toad wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • NOOOOO!

      Decaf Debi

      Tofu is even WORSE than normal soy products. To its credit, tofu has less goitrogenic activity than unfermented soy products (meaning that it interferes with thyroid function less than usual for soy)


      fermented soy like tofu has even MORE estrogen-like compounds than unfermented soy. So if you agree that BPAs in plastic and other hormone disrupting molecules are bad for you….then tofu is also bad.

      Not to mention I just found an academic paper reviewing soy consumption….and it is bad. For example, when older adults consume tofu regularly over the course of several months, they show higher measures of DEMENTIA and worse spatial skills compared to a control group that were instructed to eat other foods. Messing with your hormone system by eating foods that contain estrogenic activity (meaning that molecules in the food bind estrogen receptors) is a bad idea.

      Also, fun fact. Currently, polymer scientists are trying to develop a plastic that does not have estrogenic activity so they can make a ‘safe’ plastic….but they can’t seem to do it! Every plastic they have tried showed estrogenic activity in lab tests!

      Estrogen Researcher wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • Damn feminine plastic!

        Jackson wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • actually, tofu’s not fermented – at least the kind of tofu americans eat. there is such a thing as fermented tofu that you can find in chinese or taiwanese groceries, and it’s VERY salty and smelly. but it’s yummy – tastes like blue cheese!!

        jackie wrote on December 14th, 2011
  3. Chocolate and macadamias together, could it be any better? This needs to be my christmas snack!!

    Eirik wrote on December 10th, 2011
  4. I’m thinking dark chocolate with coconut butter filling. THAT has gotta be brilliant as well!

    Rikke wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • I’ve done it!! Coconut butter by itself is too soft. But you can add ground nuts to the coconut butter (to stiffen it) and then cover it in dark chocolate. It’s like a no guilt Mounds bar! The family loves it!

      Shema wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • I’m going to try this, I loved me some Mounds bars back in the day. A Primal alternative sounds just perfect.

        Trocki wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • I’ve done this, too.

      If you put make your own coconut butter, you can put it in a square glass dish and cool until it is a scoopable consistency. (Here is my coconut butter recipe, ridiculously simple:

      Then use a melon baller to scoop and roll into a small ball (like you would a truffle), and refrigerate throughly until the ball is set very hard.

      A quick tumble in cocoa powder, then a very fast dip in melted dark chocolate, then back to the fridge and in an hour or two, voila. Very tasty chocolate coconut balls.

      You just have to move very fast and work with very cold coconut butter, because it will melt right away into the dipping chocolate due to its high fat content.

      Kate wrote on December 13th, 2011
  5. Green & Blacks 85 doesn’t have any soy (although some of their varieties do). Also, Theo (another organic brand) doesn’t have any. I’ve been seeing more and more brands lately without it…. Yippee!

    Sara wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • love me some green and blacks 85

      tyler wrote on February 27th, 2012
      • +1

        Merky wrote on April 22nd, 2014
  6. Oh my.

    Unamused Mouse wrote on December 10th, 2011
  7. Dear God. I need to buy some macadamias. I was looking right at them and got raw almonds instead. I don’t understand how anyone could eat any less than all of that in a sitting.

    ChocoTaco369 wrote on December 10th, 2011
  8. mouth is watering….

    Burn wrote on December 10th, 2011
  9. that looks gooooood. i’m also thinking of trying with some unsalted butter and honey in the mix.
    the only way this will be shared is if i develop a split personality.

    greg wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • Haha, love it.

      A.J. wrote on December 10th, 2011
  10. Dak chocolate and red wine are supposed to raise HDL…I’ve been cutting it out completely a year ago.

    I just had my blood lipids done and I could benefit from a few pieces of dark chocolate a week.

    This looks delicious /drool

    Arty wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • Dark chocolate goes very well with a glass of syrah….two birds with one stone. :-)

      bbuddha wrote on December 11th, 2011
  11. Spread a little ghee on it for a caramel-ly treat.

    Dustin Bopp wrote on December 10th, 2011
  12. This recipe makes me so excited that I wet my pants!

    Roger Jack wrote on December 10th, 2011
  13. Chocolate and macadamias are a match made in heaven. Two such wonderfully fatty things together are so divine.

    Erika wrote on December 10th, 2011
  14. I like this recipe a lot but I would never use a microwave. The Russians did research on those things and concluded they’re a hazard and completely toxic.

    I like do make a recipe similar to this using raw cacao butter, raw cacao powder and nuts as well.

    Thanks for posting now you’re making me want to eat this for breakfast! :p

    Justin wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • That microwave comment is urban legend – I’ve tried following up such claims and have never found any basis. There are risks if your door doesn’t close and you’ve defeated the interlocks. Otherwise, they are so low on any risk profile as to be essentially harmless. You are more likely to burn yourself on the stove.

      As for toxic? Balogna -stop spreading unfounded and plain silly rumors, and perhaps take a physics class or two.

      john wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • I second John. Microwaves are not physically capable of turning food toxic. It’s obvious if you know the physics.

      Given that, though, it is not a good idea to use one if the door is not completely shut.

      Estrogen Researcher wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • I have to back up Justin on this. True, there hasn’t been enough research about microwave cooking, but the following study is just one of many that saw denaturing effects.

      Annie wrote on December 13th, 2011
      • You know, I haven’t used a microwave in more than 10 years (and no, I’m not old or anything like that). I simply don’t like what it does to my food – the taste, the texture. People ask how I defrost meat. Um, take it out of the freezer the night before or in the morning. And what about reheating? Again, I used a pot on the stove. If you have doubts, just chuck it out. Melting chocolate on a stove is simple… Let’s get rid of microwaves for the sake of our tastebuds!

        Jo Vraca wrote on December 13th, 2011
        • +1

          Ma Flintstone wrote on June 30th, 2012
      • annie,

        that study is valid only relation to unpasteurized human milk; it’s not valid evidence regarding the effects of microwaves in general. boiling liquids on a stovetop kills bacteria; microwaves don’t use heat. i wouldn’t go to india and try to microwave a cup of water and call it good. but microwaving chocolate (which is already pasteurized) is a different story, and as others have already stated, a quick look into the physics of micro-waves will say the rest.

        liz wrote on December 14th, 2011
        • Microwaves won’t kill bacteria? That is incorrect. It’s more the water temp, not the heating method that kills microorganisms.It’s like saying water will boil if you heat it on a wood burning stove but not a coal burning stove. Apparently some people have never had water boil over in the microwave.

          Trav wrote on December 30th, 2011
    • You are so right Justin, me neither.
      Microwaves change food.

      Anke wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  15. Oh hell yeah. Thanks so much for posting, the timing is perfect. Just when I was about to cave and buy fancy chocolate bars for stocking stuffers, I’d much rather gift this homemade treat instead!

    Jessica wrote on December 10th, 2011
  16. I wonder if you could mould it in the shape of Grok. Then you’d have… Grokolate!

    Martin_B wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • awesome.

      Maureen wrote on December 12th, 2011
  17. “Holy sh!$.”

    Those are the words that came out of my mouth when I saw the title and then the photo.

    I love how simple this recipe is too. I’ll be making this hundreds of times for the rest of my life. In fact, I may have to make a batch here in Chicago and bring it with me to Grand Rapids, MI for our family Christmas party in a couple of weeks!

    Thanks Mark!

    Primal Toad wrote on December 10th, 2011
  18. This is what I’m leaving out for Santa this year. He’ll be REALLY hungry. We’d better make a big batch!

    Stef wrote on December 10th, 2011
  19. wow, so funny, I just did the same exact thing with 90% cacao chocolate, some coconut oil and coconut shavings!!

    PaleoDentist wrote on December 10th, 2011
  20. I’m so licking my lips, delicious!

    Paul Alexander wrote on December 10th, 2011
  21. I use bakers chocolate which is 100% cacao when I make treats like this (read dark chock almond butter cups). Add in a little coconut oil to a) up the fatty acid makeup & b) smooth out the chocolate to a velvety smooth texture.

    This I’m thinking would pair well with a bit of full coconut milk, give a little smooth & sweetness

    Greg wrote on December 10th, 2011
  22. If giving as a gift to non-primal family & friends, would raw cocoa nibs be too bitter? I’m not overly fond of sweet to begin with, but I’m pretty sure not everyone shares my tastes, so wanted a second opinion. Thanks!

    Steph wrote on December 10th, 2011
  23. I was wondering is 100% unsweetened cocoa would work and if it’s even better for you than 85 or 90% since it is pure without any sugar. I enjoy the taste a lot, although I’m not sure it’s something I would share or bring to a party considering how most find it bitter. Any thoughts on its nutritional stats?

    katie wrote on December 10th, 2011
  24. Steph, I say go for it on the raw cocoa nibs. They may be too bitter for some, but I bet it’s a present they won’t get from anyone else, unlike sugar loaded milk chocolates etc. I would never have tried the raw nibs until someone introduced me to them and I love them. Plus, it’ll give you a chance to explain why they’re good for you (and Primal)! Most people still don’t know that some chocolate products have health benefits and are delighted to find out. I certainly was!

    Rob wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • Thanks! I’m also hoping for a good balance to all the traditional cookies DH’s family makes.

      Steph wrote on December 10th, 2011
  25. Wow……..

    That’s all I can say.

    This sounds so perfect.

    Andrea wrote on December 10th, 2011
  26. Anyone know about how berries could work in this? I know they aren’t in season now, but some summertime I wouldn’t mind something like this with blueberries, raspberries or cherries in the mix. Would it need to be kept refrigerated for the berries to not go rotten?

    On that thought, there are plenty of other things I can think of that be great in here. How about ginger? Lemon/lime zest? Mmm…

    Tim W wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • You would want to use dried berries, and you could just mix them right in to the melted chocolate. Sounds really good!!

      LDub wrote on December 11th, 2011
  27. maybe cranberries this time of year? might have to add something to balance the tartness..

    Hopeless Dreamer wrote on December 10th, 2011
  28. This is seriously awesome. Mac’s & Dark Chocolate two of me and my wife’s favorite primal snacks. Every once in a while, we’ll buy a small pack of dark choc. covered mac’s to fit in our 20% wiggle room … but this is way more legit. And with sea salt on top … heaven! Oh… and maybe popping in a few blueberries straight out of the dehydrator too… oh yes.

    Kevin - Diy Dork wrote on December 10th, 2011
  29. My hero!

    Danielle wrote on December 10th, 2011
  30. Yum, yum, yum!!!

    Marjorie wrote on December 10th, 2011
  31. Bacon works pretty well with chocolate too.

    Jeff wrote on December 10th, 2011
  32. Oh my, I want this NOW. Time to go buy some macadamias. *drools slightly*

    Audrey H wrote on December 10th, 2011
  33. I JUST made some of this 2 days ago! My version was unsweetened chocolate, a stick of butter, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and almonds on top. It’s so good, it’s a problem. I’m going to try grating fresh ginger into it next time!

    Meagan wrote on December 10th, 2011
  34. Hey Mark: Have you run this one through Fitday? :-)

    I can’t even imagine the caloric value. I’m quite sure I couldn’t eat just a little. So, knowing myself as I do, I’m going to pass.

    To me, dark chocolate and macadamia nuts are about as good as it gets. Do we really have to combine them for double orgasm?

    That’s not to say I’ll never have anything totally yummy. Just not now. I’ve been on a good long stretch of around 70 grams of carbs per day, sub 1500 calories, and I feel great. I don’t want to lose the momentum just because of the holidays.

    And lose the momentum is exactly what would happen if I tried this stuff. :-)

    Susan Alexander wrote on December 10th, 2011
  35. Hmmmm…Make it “Christmassy” by adding a few drops of peppermint extract. This could work. Thanks Mark!

    Gaby A. wrote on December 10th, 2011
  36. Holy Smoke! I made this tonight using Lindt 85%, hazelnuts and Australian Murray River salt flakes (which is slightly pink). Absolutely quenched my sweet cravings. Thanks!

    Jo Vraca wrote on December 11th, 2011
  37. How about adding in some of Trader Joe’s dried Montmorency Cherries. Don’t get carried away, a few should do. They are very carby, but heavenly.

    Kathy L. wrote on December 11th, 2011
  38. Delicious…I’ll be trying this for sure!

    Your Primal Life wrote on December 11th, 2011

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