Today is Willie Nelson's birthday so I'm dedicating this post to him. I don't know if he likes chocolate but I made this bark on Sunday just moments before heading out to see him play at his 80th Birthday Bash (which he turned into a fundraiser for the town of West, TX). That man is a one-of-a-kind creature that has unintentionally carved out for himself a special place in my heart through his soulful songwriting, heartfelt undertakings, and gentle nature. His son, Lukas Nelson, opened up for him at the concert and WOW. Just wow. The first tune out of his mouth gave me chills and sounded just like his dad. Then he went on to sing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and Angel Flying Too Close To the Ground...two of my favorites. The guy is incredibly talented and really fun to watch.
Pure cacao is known for its medicinal benefits. It contains phenethylamine, the joy-enhancing chemical associated with love. Is this one of the reasons we reach for chocolate at the end of a long day when nothing else seems to do? Some use it to treat depression because of the mood-altering effects. Anandamide, a chemical that stimulates the brain and releases feelings of euphoria, is also found in cacao. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, so I usually make sure I get my fill before 2pm each day. Otherwise, I'm inspired to take on (and complete) a project way past my bedtime and I am one who needs my sleep. And the cell-repairing antioxidants in chocolate? Off the charts. It contains more than most fruits and vegetables. Chocolate also improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure. When I speak of the benefits, I am talking about chocolate in its purest form. Adding milk, white sugar, corn syrup, soy, preservatives, and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients to the mix can easily decrease health.
If you have never made (or eaten) raw dark chocolate, this recipe is a great introduction to a world of boundless bliss. It is simple, using only four ingredients, and takes very little time to make. You can always double the recipe so it will last longer. I eat this or another form of chocolate just about every day and never feel like I have a sugar-induced high or hangover. When mixed with the right ingredients, the aftermath is heavenly. I think even Willie would approve.