Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Bark

Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years and that you are all well rested and healthy! I myself am just getting over a pretty bad cold but luckily Christmas Break has allowed me to sleep it off :)  For today's post, I wanted to share an awesome recipe I made last week in NC.  I was inspired by the peppermint bark post I did a couple weeks ago, and thought it would be fun to do something sweet and salty in the same form.  I have to say this will become a yearly tradition as it was even better than the peppermint bark! It has a dark chocolate layer on the bottom, then a salted caramel middle, and a semi-sweet chocolate top with a pretzel garnish....pretty much AMAZING! Once again, this recipe does take a bit of patience and time, however, it is by no means impossible! 

16 oz. 60% Dark Cocao Baking Chocolate
16 oz. Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
About 1 cup of caramel sauce (recipe for my version below)
About .5-1 cup of smashed pretzels (to use as a garnish)
2 cups sugar
8 tbs. butter
1 cup heavy cream 

Caramel Sauce:
Ok, so you are going to want to prepare this caramel sauce in advance to make sure it has time to cool and thicken before using it in the bark.  First, place the sugar in a pot on the stove over a medium heat.  I like to make sure my pan isn't to shallow to avoid splashing myself with super hot caramel.  Allow the sugar to slowly melt (you can add a tablespoon of water at this point if you like) occasionally stirring to avoid burning.  Once it becomes an amber color, add the butter (at room temp. and diced into small pieces) into the liquid sugar.  This will bubble ALOT but don't worry it will make the caramel SUPER delicious :) Once the butter has settled take the pan off the heat and add the cream (I recommend taking it off the heat because this will bubble even more).  Once the cream has been added, stir the mixture and turn the heat on low (you can also add a little sea salt at this time to bring out the flavor).  The caramel may be more "liquidy" at this point but don't worry! It will thicken as you let it sit.

Chocolate Layers:
OK, so here it where it gets a little tricky just because of time sensitivity.  Once your caramel has thickened, place a double-boiler or a pot with a fitted heat-resistant bowl on top of the stove (remember that the water shouldn't be touching the base of the bowl).  Next, get out a cookie-sheet and line it with parchment paper.  (You may also want to clear out space in your freezer as you will need to freeze this layer). Now you are going to want to place about half of the chocolate into the bowl and allow it to melt.  Make sure you use a spatula and stir the chocolate during all of this as it is quite easy to burn.  Once the chocolate is about half melted add in the rest of the bag.  Once all the chocolate has melted and there are only a few lumps, remove the bowl from the pot and finish stirring away from your heat source.  This allows the chocolate to become smooth and glossy and again prevents burning. Once completed, pour the chocolate onto the cookie-sheet, making sure to even it out with the spatula.  Place layer into freezer.

Once your base layer has solidified (should take about 5 minutes).  Pour the caramel over the chocolate (you probably won't need all of it) and gently smooth it in an even layer.  Place into the freezer.

Ok!! Now we have two layers completed and only one more to go! The third layer is the easiest and you just need to repeat the directions for melting the chocolate as posted above :). I would recommend making sure the caramel is solid enough that you can pour the third layer over top without it mixing together (this almost happened to me!). Now evenly spread a layer of crushed pretzel. Just another little tip, make sure to score the bark to allow for easy cutting later.   And once the third layer is done, you can put it in the freezer to solidify the whole thing :)

This is a seriously delectable recipe! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

No comments:

Post a Comment