September 2, 2011

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Bark


Whew.  That's a mouthful, but this is worth every word in that title.  It's earned every word in that title.  This recipe may be the most decadent and most delicious sweet treat I've made thus far.  For real.  Just listen to this:

Salted.

Caramel.

Chocolate.

Pretzel.  

Bark!  

I mean, come on!


Disclaimer: I took this photos with my phone so they're a little weird.  This does not deter from the earth-shattering deliciousness that is taking place on that plate.  

First step is to line a baking sheet with foil very well.  I put two layers of foil just in case, because hardened caramel and baking sheets don't mix.  Line that baby well!  Once I was sure that my baking sheet was safe, I spread a layer of mini pretzels over the entire sheet.

Next, I made the caramel.  In a sauce pan, I melted 2 sticks of butter.  I know.  It's bad.  Just... bear with me.


Once the butter was melted, I added 1 cup of brown sugar and stirred constantly for about 3-4 minutes until the sauce was brown and thick.  Kind of like caramel.  

Stirring...


Stirring...


Caramel!


When the caramel was nice and thick, I poured it in an even layer over the pretzels.  Now, it didn't cover it as well as I thought it would.  It didn't go all the way to the edges, so I tried to spread it out with a spatula, but that didn't work great either.  Don't despair, this worked itself out later.


Here's how: I put this in the oven for about 6 minutes.  This reheats the caramel and it spreads it evenly throughout the pan.  Perfecto!


While that was in the oven, I microwaved 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips until smooth and melted.  I could have done this over a double boiler, but I don't have a double boiler, or a glass bowl, so I used the microwave.  And you know what?  It was just fine.  I spread the melted chocolate over the caramel in a not-so-even layer.  You know what else?  That was just fine too.  It's bark, its supposed to be free-form and lumpy!


The final step is to sprinkle some Kosher salt all over the top.  Then I put the whole pan in the refrigerator for about an hour until it was hardened.  When it was ready,  I took it out, peeled the foil off the bottom, which was surprisingly easy by the way, and broke it into pieces!


Listen to me.  Come closer.  This is dangerous.  Like, the eat the whole batch in one sitting then go into a sugar coma kind of dangerous.  


It's sweet, rich, and decadent, and then when you think you can't handle the goodness, it's crunchy and then salty.   What!?


I mean this with my whole heart: make this today, then either find someone to share it with or give it away to neighbors, friends, special someones--whoever.  You're going to want to do this sooner rather than later.  Trust me.

Here's the recipe!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Bark (originally found on Pinterest which led me to Legume Loyalist)

Ingredients
  • Enough mini pretzels to cover a sheet pan (I used like half of a 1 lb bag)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon sea or Kosher salt (just not table salt)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spread mini pretzels in a single layer (it's OK if they overlap at some points.  No worries!)
  2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter completely over medium heat.  Once it's melted, add the sugar and stir constantly until it's darkened and thick.  This takes about 3 minutes.  You want to watch the heat here, because if it boils it will burn, so if it's bubbling too much, turn the heat down.  
  3. When the caramel is thick, pour it over the pretzels evenly.  If it doesn't cover the pretzels completely, do not fret.  You can spread some out with a spatula if you want.  Put the pan into the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the caramel has spread to the edges and is bubbly.
  4. Meanwhile, either in a double boiler or the microwave, melt 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips until smooth.  Take the caramel and pretzels out of the oven and pour the melted chocolate over the caramel.  Smooth with a spatula to thin out any clumps or thick parts.  
  5. When the bark is to your liking, put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  When it is cooled, take it out and lift the bark out of the pan.  You will be able to simply peel the foil off the bark.  Break it into pieces.  I put mine in a zipper bag and am keeping it in the refrigerator so that it can harden more.  
Enjoy!

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