How To Make Holiday Desserts That Won’t Kill You

Chocolate bark.
Print icon

Looking for some waistline-friendly holiday desserts?

Join personal chef Jeanne Tennis in the demonstration kitchen at the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Hospital for a hands-on cooking class Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon or Dec. 11 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The demonstration kitchen at the Bone and Joint Institute

You’ll learn how to make several quick, easy, affordable and nutritional treats. Registration, with a $45 fee, is required. To register, call 1.855.442.4373.

Here’s one of the treats you’ll make and take home — or dress up as a holiday gift.

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Bark

Prep time: 15 – 20 minutes, plus time to cool and set


  • 1 9-ounce package dark chocolate morsels, such as Enjoy Life
  • 2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil or coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of spice of choice (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract or peppermint flavor
  • 1 – 1 ½ teaspoon of sea salt

Add-ons: slivered almonds and shaved coconut, dried goji berries, cranberries or blueberries, raisins, chopped walnuts, Matcha green tea, finely chopped candied ginger, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, fennel seeds, crumbled dried nori or dulse seaweed, crushed peppermint candy.


  • Line a large baking sheet or 9×13 glass dish with parchment paper.
  • Melt the chocolate morsels and the coconut oil together in a double boiler on your stove top.
  • Whisk in the vanilla or almond extract or flavoring.
  • Continue whisking until a smooth consistency has been reached.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Using a spatula spread the chocolate mixture onto the parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle the sea salt or seaweed sprinkles on top of the cacao mixture.
  • Sprinkle on your chosen Add-ons to create the taste and look you desire.
  • Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator.
  • Break up the bark into bite size pieces using the parchment paper when completely cooled.

Store bark in a tightly sealed container in your refrigerator until ready to serve.

What's New

Multiple Sclerosis: New Program, New Treatments

Each week, an estimated 200 Americans are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). But new treatments bring new hope, according to neuro-immunologist Dr. Brian Wong. He is helping to launch a comprehensive multiple sclerosis program at Hartford HealthCare’s Ayer Neuroscience Institute. Q: What is neuro-immunology? A: Neuro-immunology is a subspecialty of...


E-Cigarettes & Vaping: What Parents Need to Know

More teens are vaping now than ever – and parents are concerned. Psychiatrist Dr. J. Craig Allen, medical director at Rushford, has important information for parents, teachers and anyone else with teens in their lives. Q: What do I need to be on the lookout for? A: Familiarize yourself with...

MidState Medical Center Receives Breastfeeding Award

Baby-Friendly USA recently re-designated MidState Medical Center as a Baby-Friendly birth facility. “We are proud to be recognized as a ‘Baby-Friendly’ hospital,” said Amy Kelleher, Director of Women and Infant Services at MidState Medical Center. “Our Family Birthing Center team members are committed to creating the best breast-feeding experience to...

Increased Access to Specialty Services, Growth on the Shoreline and Plainfield and Enhanced Coordination of Care Highlight Backus and Windham Hospital Annual Meeting

Backus Hospital and Windham Hospital experienced a year of growth, increased access to specialty services in the community and enhanced care coordination in 2018, according to Hartford HealthCare East Region President Donna Handley at the combined Annual Meeting of the two hospitals on Nov. 7. The meeting, the theme of...

Seasonal soup.

Seasonal, Good-For-You Recipe: Ginger Lentil Butternut Squash Soup

By Jeanne Tennis Here’s a delicious and healthy butternut squash soup recipe that’s perfect for the fall-winter season: Ginger Lentil Butternut Squash Soup (Seasonal, plant-based and gluten-Free) Ingredients 1 medium onion, diced 1 – 2 celery stalks, diced 1 – 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or water to sauté 1...

Indoor Exercise Ideas to Keep You Active in the Colder Months

As the temperature drops and the daylight hours begin to fade away, there’s no excuse to stop your exercise activities just because you can’t be outdoors anymore.  Those looking to keep up with their exercise routines during the winter months have plenty of options to stay in shape even as...

Weight Loss Surgery: Can Success Be Predicted?

Weight loss surgery has become an effective tool in treating obesity, especially in people who have not benefitted from diet and exercise. Along with reduced weight – about 30% on average – there is improved health for many who undergo this surgery: lowered blood pressure, reduced sleep apnea, and even...