By Laurenda Marie Bennett

Hello everyone! I’m Laurenda Marie Bennett, or Ren for short. I like to make mouth-watering recipes made from real, clean and nutrient-dense food. I share recipes and healthy living advice via my blog, Laurenda Marie.

Good health is extremely important to me, but yummy food is, too! So, why not have them both?

My food philosophy is quite simple: Just eat real food! It’s naturally healing, energizing, satisfying and extremely nourishing. I'm thriving, not surviving!

I’m avocados' No. 1 fan and, therefore, they make an appearance in a lot of my recipes. Peanut butter and chocolate do too. Yup, I'm a health enthusiast with a sweet tooth!

Dan and Laurenda Marie Bennett have a seven-month-old son, Sawyer. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett)

My husband, Dan, is very keen in the kitchen. He’s my No. 1 taste-tester and develops a lot of his own recipes, too. We have a dog named Dave who (lucky for him) gets to taste test all that falls victim to the floor. Most importantly, we have a 7-month-old son, Sawyer, who doesn’t get to taste test (yet), but he sure thinks everything smells and looks divine.

Admittedly, I have weaknesses, and not the strongest willpower when it comes to certain treats, whether sweet or savory. Dan and I recently found ourselves with a Costco membership to purchase diapers and wipes in bulk.

There just so happen to be these sinful bags of dark chocolate covered pretzel thins that somehow wind up in our cart on every visit. Ahem, Dan.

This would be OK, aside for the whole lack of willpower thing. I need to work on that. There is something about the sweet, salty, crunchy combo that is simply irresistible.

I needed a replacement that tasted just as delicious. So, in a joint effort, Dan and I created the Salted Dark Chocolate Energy Bark.

We both agree it’s better than the packaged chocolate pretzels. It’s packed with toasted almonds, pepitas, chia seeds and flax seeds – an omega powerhouse; and all surrounded by rich dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. It's absolutely delicious and a healthier option for curing that sweet tooth!

Salted Dark Chocolate Energy Bark

It takes five minutes' prep time and 15 minutes of cooking to make this Salted Dark Chocolate Energy Bark. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett)

Recipe type: Sweet treat
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12 people


  • 2 10 ounce packages dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup roasted salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw pepitas
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup whole flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon and one teaspooon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons course sea salt


Line a sheet tray (preferably with raised edges so the chocolate doesn't run off) with parchment paper.

Mmm, Salted Dark Chocolate Energy Bark is a sweet treat. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett)

Melt 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a medium fry pan and add almonds, pepitas and palm sugar. Toast a few minutes over medium heat until almonds and pepitas begin to brown.

Remove the almonds and pepitas from heat and mix in a small bowl with chia and flax seeds.

Melt the chocolate and one tablespoon of coconut oil in a double broiler. Pour the melted chocolate over the parchment paper and tip from side to side to help spread it evenly across the tray. Sprinkle the almond seed mixture evenly over the melted chocolate, followed with the sea salt.

Place the tray in a refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes. (We put ours in the mudroom, one benefit to the cold Michigan winters.)

Break into pieces and enjoy!

Notes: I recommend storing the bark in an air tight container in the fridge. The chocolate gets pretty "melty" when it sits out! You can also see this recipe at my Laurenda Marie blog.

Laurenda Marie Bennett authors the cooking blog Laurenda Marie and is a contributor on food and cooking for 100.5 The River the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. You can follow Laurenda on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.