Monday, December 24, 2012
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark and Candy Cane Pretzel Bark
This past week at work was a tough one - we were crazy busy and there were goodies everywhere. So I sat at a desk and ate lots and lots of cookies. And candies. And candied apples. My absolute favorite goodies were the chocolate-dipped and candy cane-dusted pretzels that someone received as a gift and left out for all of us to snack on. I snacked on several of them. After we ran out of goodies I decided to try to make them at home, only the grocery store didn't seem to have any large pretzels (or pretzel rods). I ended up buying mini pretzels instead and decided I would make a lazy pretzel bark with them. And while I was thinking pretzel bark, I thought why not make a salty-sweet pretzel bark as well. The obvious choice was salted caramel pretzel bark. And it's a good thing we made that salted caramel pretzel bark because I love it. Of the two pretzel barks, it is my favorite. I love the combination of salty and sweet. It totally does it for me. I wish we had salted the candy cane pretzel bark a little more, but I barely dusted it with sea salt (and I'm pretty sure that most of the sea salt fell off along with some of the pretzels and the candy cane bits) so really it was just sweet with sweet. Sweet with sweet is yummy too, but nowhere near as good as the combination of sea salt, buttery caramel and chocolate. Yum. There is one problem with the salted caramel pretzel bark - you need to keep it cold or the caramel gets all melted and sticky. I thought it was amazing right out of the freezer.
Recipe after the jump!
Candy Cane Pretzel Bark
18 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup candy canes, roughly crushed
1/2 cup pretzels, roughly crushed
fine sea salt
Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Fill a saucepan about a quarter ways full with water. Place the pot over a medium flame. Take a large, heatproof bowl and set it on top of the saucepan. Pour the chocolate chips into the bowl and stir regularly until completely melted. Pour the chocolate onto the foil and spread out evenly using a spatula.
Sprinkle the swirled chocolate with candy cane pieces, pretzels and sea salt. Place the pan into the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour. Break the bark into pieces and store in an airtight container.
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
Adapted from Legume Loyalist
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
6-oz each of semi-sweet chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chips
Line a small rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and cover the baking sheet in a single even layer of mini pretzels.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and stir to incorporate. Allow the sugar and butter to simmer (but don’t let it boil), stirring occasionally until the caramel is lovely and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Pour the caramel evenly over the pretzels on the baking sheet. Strafing it back and forth down the length of the sheet works well. The caramel hardens pretty quickly so it’s important to pour it as evenly as possible. If you end up with any clumps, just use a spatula to spread the caramel as best you can. Bake the pretzel-caramel mixture in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
In the meantime, set up a double boiler. Fill a saucepan about a quarter ways full with water. Place the pot over a medium flame. Take a large, heatproof bowl and set it on top of the saucepan. Pour the chocolate chips into the bowl and stir constantly until they’re completely melted.
Pour the chocolate over the pretzel-caramel mixture evenly, again strafing the melted chocolate back and forth down the length of the sheet. Spread any remaining thick spots of chocolate with a spatula. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over the bark.
Place it in the freezer to cool and harden for an hour or two. Serve cold.