Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel BarkPosted: March 7, 2011
For our first Slow Food NYU cooking demo, we decided to host a post-Valentine’s day chocolate lover’s recovery session. Fellow slow foodie Meg, a former professional baker and friend of Slow Food NYU, gave us a tutorial in the NYU kitchen on how to make one of her favorite chocolate desserts: salted chocolate caramel pretzel bark. This bark is so delicious that I had to make it again two weeks later. Aside from being addictive, another great thing about this bark recipe is the endless potential for customization: Noah and I were brainstorming for the next batch and considered the addition of shredded coconut or mint extract.
Warning: this bark recipe is not for the faint of heart.
Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark
makes 1 sheet of bark
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
bag of mini pretzels
12-oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Wrap a baking sheet with tin foil. (You naturalists may be inclined to use parchment paper, like myself and Meg, but the caramel is uber annoying to pull off the parchment, so tin foil is highly recommended) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. As it melts, cover the baking sheet in an even layer of mini pretzels. (You may not use the entire bag.)
3. Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and stir to incorporate. Allow the sugar and butter to softly simmer and bubble, but don’t let it boil, so adjust the heat accordingly. Stir occasionally. The browning process should take about three minutes from when it starts to bubble.
4. Once the sugar and butter have caramelized, pour the mixture 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 from the start. If you end up with any clumps, just use a spatula to spread the caramel as best you can. But clumps are not the end of the world! As Meg said best, “‘Rustic’ is culinary school speak for messy.” I’m totally ok with that. Bake the pretzel-caramel mixture in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
5. 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. Be sure that the water in the pot will not touch the bottom of the dish, otherwise your chocolate will burn! Pour the chocolate chips into the bowl and stir constantly until they’re completely melted.
6. By this time the pretzel-caramel mixture should be done and out of the oven. Pour the chocolate over the pretzel-caramel mixture evenly, again careful to strafe chocolate back and forth down the length of the sheet.
7. Spread any remaining thick spots of chocolate with a spatula. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over the bark. Place it in the fridge to cool and harden for about an hour.