Salted caramel pretzel bark with chocolate and lime

by thebaking

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So, I had never made bark – of any kind – before and I’m rather pleased with the results.

I got the idea to make bark from a picture and recipe I saw online. The original recipe was similar to what I ended up doing, but I decided to modify it slightly. I used:

-1 cup of margarine – I used Earth Balance, but any margarine should probably work

-1 1/4 cup brown sugar – the recipe called for light brown sugar: I used dark

-1 tablespoon vanilla – this was my addition. I figured the recipe could use some vanilla. I think it was a good call.

-about 4 cups, total, of pretzels – I’m somewhat estimating on the amount here. I bought a bunch of assorted pretzels at a bulk store and, for this recipe, used enough pretzels to cover the surface of a cookie tray.

-salt – I used coarse Celtic sea salt, but any coarse or interesting salt would also work. Regular table salt would probably work as well.

-lime zest – this was my addition, the original recipe didn’t call for it. I used about one tablespoon of lime zest, total. And I grated it fresh right before using it in the recipe. I used a regular lime that I washed with dish soap and thoroughly rinsed. And then I grated it with the small-grind part of a cheese grater.

-chocolate chips – about two cups, total, but you can use more or less if you’d like.

I set the oven to preheat to 400 degrees and then spread the pretzels out on a foil-lined cookie sheet:

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Then, in a small pot, I started on the caramel. I melted the margarine over medium-high heat and then added the sugar, the vanilla, and the lime zest.  The mixture looked like this:

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Watch the caramel mixture carefully. Keep stirring – with a whisk or silicone spatula – until bubbles start to form in the mixture along the sides of the pot. Lower heat, stir for about a minute or so more, and, then, carefully pour the sugar mixture over the cookie sheet of pretzels.

Move the cookie sheet to the preheated oven. Here’s a view of the cookie sheet:

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After five to seven minutes, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let it cool on an even, heat-safe, surface. I used a wire rack. Here’s the cookie sheet of caramel and pretzels, fresh out of the oven:

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And another view:

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While the pretzel and caramel mixture was still hot, I sprinkled an even layer of chocolate chips over the cookie sheet. I left the chocolate chips to melt – the heat from the caramel and pretzels should take care of this – for several minutes and then spread them around with a spatula. Then, I sprinkled the chocolate with Celtic sea salt:

ImageI moved the cookie sheet to the fridge to cool and let the chocolate solidify. Cooling took about an hour, but you can leave the cookie sheet in for longer if you’d like.

Once the bark has cooled and the chocolate has solidified, carefully lift the bark from the foil on the cookie sheet, break into pieces, and enjoy.

I found that the lime zest worked well with the chocolate and caramel. But I also think that candy cane, marshmallows – added at the same time as the chocolate chips – various spices, dried fruit, or pretty much anything you’d like, would work as well.

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