Calgary·RECIPE

No-bake chocolate 'rocks' are kid-friendly, nature-inspired summer treats

These no-bake chocolate cookies are good for kids to try out as they don't need an oven and they can get creative to make the treats look like different kinds of rocks.

No oven needed for these sweets, and you can get artsy with ingredients

Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature, by Marit Hovland, also inspired Calgary Eyeopener food guide Julie Van Rosendaal to share this no-bake cookie recipe. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Nordic cuisine is having a moment, perhaps partially spurred by the popularization of the concept of hygge.

Hygge is a quality of coziness, contentment and comfortable conviviality that inspired a series of books and a flurry of online content and Nordic cafes. Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden are all in the top 10 coffee-drinking countries in the world, as is Canada. The eateries, such as Noma in Copenhagen, have been on lists of the world's best restaurants for years.

There has also been an increase in the number of Nordic cookbooks released in recent years.

One of the most recent, Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Norwegian graphic designer and baker Marit Hovland, is one of the most unique books to join my shelf. It's a baking book focused on esthetically stunning cakes, cookies, tortes and chocolate creations, inspired by elements found in nature without being precious or overly complex.

You can play around with the ingredients to make the chocolate "rocks" look like different kinds of stones you might find in Alberta. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

There are tiny fruits made of pistachio marzipan and blue anemones stamped onto delicate cookies using a rudimentary potato stamp.

There are also tiny icing butterflies require no more than a ziplock bag and parchment, curled leaves and chocolate shells, candied edible flowers and snowflakes made of sugar.

This recipe is adapted from one in the cookbook, Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature, by Marit Hovland. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

But the desserts are not just one-dimensional. They're made with nuts and dried fruit and cardamom, with substance and a natural colour palette. They're perfect for any kids at home this summer who might be looking for unique baking projects.

Because it was too hot to turn on the oven, our first recipe to try was the one that most caught our eye while flipping through the book. That turned out to these chocolate rocks.

Chocolate rocks with fruit and nut filling

The desserts actually resemble smooth rocks that have been rocked back and forth by waves at the water's edge. They're surprisingly easy to make, and a fun project to make with kids that doesn't require turning on the oven.

This recipe has been adapted from Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature, by Marit Hovland.

Mix up the batter by using colours wafers or cookies. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Oreo cookies or three to four chocolate wafer cookies.
  • 7 oz. white chocolate, chopped.
  • 6 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk.
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 1/8 tsp., or a big pinch, of cocoa powder.
  • Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries.

Preparation:

Crush the Oreos or wafers by removing the icing, putting the wafers into a ziplock bag and rolling them with a rolling pin or bashing with the bottom of a mug.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and salt. Stir until smooth.

Split your batter into different bowls. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Remove from the heat and stir in half the chocolate cookie crumbs.

Divide the mixture between three small bowls.

Stir the remaining crumbs into one, the cocoa into another, and leave the third as is.

Please a cashew or other tasty filling in the centre of the batter. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Let stand on the counter or refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Shape the rocks by scooping out a small quantity of the mixture, flattening it slightly and wrapping around a nut or dried cranberry. We played around with bits of two different shades to mimic real rocks.

This no-bake activity may be fun for science-oriented kids this summer. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Roll it in your hands until smooth and place on parchment or waxed paper.

Set in the fridge or at room temperature.

Serving: Makes two to three dozen rocks.

  • Hear more from Julie Van Rosendaal about making nature-inspired chocolate bark and edible rocks:

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story misidentified a Copenhagen restaurant as Noma.
    Jul 18, 2018 2:22 PM MT

About the Author

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal talks about food trends, recipes and cooking tips on the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. MT. The best-selling cookbook author is a contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, and writes for other publications across Canada.

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