Stir up something frightfully delicious for the kids this Halloween, like this easy vegan Blood and Brains White Chocolate Bark oozing with raspberry plasma and smashed walnut brains. A gluten-free, soy-free recipe, can be nut-free.
Halloween is the day Jay most looks forward to each year. And with not many trick-or-treatin' years left ahead for my favorite preteen, 2020 has been a colossal downer.
So I've been thinking up some Halloween treats to put a smile on his face, like this Blood and Brains White Chocolate Bark.
Jay loves white chocolate, as do I, and it's such a great flavor with raspberry, which makes this bark a total winner at our home. But first, have you a favorite ghost story to share?
I'll start. With a little one my dad told us all the time on dark, dreary nights, when the thunder and rain hammered away at the windows and the large, oval leaves of the banyan tree outside with its big, stringy, tentacle-like roots, cast eerie shadows all around us.
It was about this woman with no face, dressed in a white sari (the dress of choice for Indian woman ghosts). She'd wander around the streets of his childhood town, always at night. Her favorite victims were cooks, because she loved to eat (despite the crucial fact that she lacked a mouth, but go figure).
If you found yourself cooking up something delicious at night, you could be dead certain she'd pay you a visit.
Her faceless face would pop up right outside the window, shrouded in white, when you were least expecting it. Her long, bony hand would come snaking up to your nose, followed with a singsong plea, "Can I have some?"
If you were too scared to oblige, it'd be your blood and brains on the menu.
Okay, it sent a chill down my spine just to write that gory little tale. Like so many people, I am a sucker for a good ghost story. And Jay has shaped up into one too. He'll watch creepy movies and then stay up at night, too afraid to sleep, despite all the yelling and forbidding I do.
But Halloween is a good time to put those worries aside, because this is the time of year when ghosts and ghouls become fun, and ghost stories are pretty much de rigueur. So if you have a good one--a real one or a made-up one--be sure to share it in the comments so we can all scare ourselves out of our skins as we munch on this delicious vegan white chocolate bark.
Why we love this vegan white chocolate bark
- It's melt-in-the-mouth creamy.
- It's easy. Easy enough to make with your kids. Although you'll make the vegan white chocolate from scratch, which should totally make you feel like a domestic god or goddess, this recipe couldn't get any easier.
- It's white chocolate. I can't imagine anyone not liking it.
- It's crunchy. With the walnuts adding so much wonderful texture and, dare I say, nutrition?
- Kids'll love it. Guaranteed.
Tips for making the bark
- Cacao butter or cocoa butter is your main ingredient here. You will melt the cocoa butter with a fat over a double burner (a bowl placed over a pan of gently boiling water) which will help make it smooth and edibly soft. In this case, I used coconut oil (vegan butter is fine too) and a couple of tablespoons of cashew butter for more creaminess.
- Once you've melted all these down, stir in powdered sugar and a couple of teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. I used two cups of sugar for 8 oz of white chocolate. It was perfectly sweet for me, but if you like your white chocolate sweeter, use more.
- Take the bowl off the double boiler and, using a hand mixer, blend for a few seconds so everything is well-merged. You can do this with a whisk too, or just skip it. It's just added insurance.
- Next add the "brains"--pieces of walnut halves, you can chop them up if you want or leave the halves whole. Pecans are a fine substitute.
- Pour the white chocolate mixture into a parchment-lined baking or glass dish, making sure the walnuts are evenly distributed. Rightaway, before it begins to set, add the "blood".
- I used raspberry jam for the blood, because I love the flavor of white chocolate with raspberry as you already know if you've made my White Chocolate Raspberry Cake or my Vegan White Chocolate Pie. But any red jelly or jam is fine. Melt the jam in a small skillet over low heat so it's a little runny, which will make drizzling it on a bit easier. Use the back of a spoon or a skewer to make it run through the white chocolate.
- Let the white chocolate stand overnight, in a cool room or in the refrigerator. Then lift out the parchment sheet, peel it off, and break the bark with your hands into 24 pieces.
- The bark I made is fairly thick and would work just as well if you wanted to cut these with a knife into candy bars. For a thinner bark, use a bigger dish--I used a 9-inch square dish.
- You can decorate with googly eyes or little spiders if you're serving these for little ones at Halloween. The ones I used are not edible, but you can find edible googly eyes and spiders at a craft store or online.
How to store the white chocolate bark
- The bark will stay solid at room temperature, but as it contains coconut oil, please refrigerate it.
Vegan White Chocolate Bark recipe
- 8 oz cocoa butter (also called cacao butter)
- ½ cup extra virgin coconut oil (or vegan butter)
- 2 tablespoon cashew butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnut halves
- ¼ cup raspberry jam (or any red jam of your choice)
- Prepare a baking pan or any rimmed tray by lining it with parchment paper, which makes it easy to lift the white chocolate out after it's set. I used a 9-inch square baking pan for a thick bark, you can use a bigger tray for a thinner bark.
- Make a double boiler by placing a pan of water on the stove. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and then place a heatproof bowl over the pan of water. The bowl should not touch the water or the heat directly.
- Add the cocoa butter to the bowl along with the coconut oil. Let them melt completely.
- Whisk in the cashew butter and then the sugar. Add the vanilla and mix everything until smooth. You can remove the bowl once everything is mixed. At this point, if you want to, you can use a handheld mixer to whisk the chocolate mixture until very smooth.
- Stir in the walnuts, leaving a few to scatter over the top, if you wish.
- While the cocoa butter is melting, heat the raspberry in a small skillet to loosen it up a bit, which will make it easier to disperse through the chcoolate.
- Pour the white chocolate mixture into the parchment-lined pan and make sure the walnuts are evenly distributed. Drizzle in the raspberry jam, using a skewer or the back of a spoon to ensure it is evenly distributed in uneven, squiggly patterns.
- Let the chocolate cool completely, which could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on whether you freeze it, refrigerate it, or let it stand in a cool room. I advise refrigerating which should take about two hours.
- Once the chocolate is firm and set, remove from the tray, peel off the parchment, and break with your hand into 24 pieces. If it is not yet firm, return it to the fridge and wait until it is.If you want to make it into candy bars, cut with a knife into any size you want.