Friday, November 2, 2012

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

This is a story about eating your stress.  A couple of weeks ago, my dear friends Rachel and John moved into their first home (yay!).  A delightful but stressful experience in general, this particular move was compounded by the fact that the in-laws decided to "help."  And while good intentions always come from the heart, they sometimes are not thought through to an extent allowing the recipients of those good intentions to truly appreciate the gesture.  Such as the in-laws deciding that they would come to the house before the movers came in that afternoon and start painting.  Let me repeat: putting in fresh paint, on walls, before and while the movers bring large boxes and miscellaneous furniture into the house on an already stress-filled day.  Dave and I had already invited Rachel and John to our house for dinner that night, thinking they'd want to get away from the boxes and mess, and in all likelihood, a kitchen unequipped to make ramen noodles let alone anything else until said boxes and mess were unpacked and put away.  So when Rachel burst through our doors venting about their overly-stressed day, before she even finished talking, I went to the fridge and pulled out a giant bowl of this delicious, satisfying, sweet, salty, crunchy bark that seemed to let the stress just melt away.  Yes, this bark has healing powers.  Or it's at least good enough to make you forget about your troubles, at least for a few hours.

A while back, I pinned this recipe thinking it would make a good holiday treat.  Apparently it's a good anytime treat.  The recipe comes from Mary Ellen M at Mama Say What?! and is so simple you have to make it and experience it's healing powers for yourself.  Rather than sprinkling salt over the chocolate, I added salt right to the caramel.  I also had a heck of a time peeling the bark off the aluminum foil, so I would recommend a light spray of cooking spray before arranging your pretzels.  Honestly, breaking it up was the hardest part.  That and keeping Rachel and John (actually, more John than Rachel) from eating the entire bowl.  That's ok, I sent them home with most of the leftovers.  The in-laws were still there when they came to dinner.  If they were still there when they returned home, I had a feel this magical healing bark might come in handy to keep things from leaving stressful territory and moving into an all-out nightmare.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark


approximately 8 ounces mini pretzel twists (about half a standard bag)
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a sheet pan with a raised edge with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Arrange pretzels to fill the pan in a single layer.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar until dissolved.  Let boil gently over medium heat for a few minutes until it starts to thicken and stick to the bottom and and edges of the pan, and bubbles slightly on top.

Stir in salt, then remove from heat and pour evenly (and carefully) over the pretzels.  It's ok if not every pretzel is coated.

Place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, then remove.

Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the pretzel/caramel layer, then spread gently.  (Note: I let the warm caramel melt the chips and it worked fine, but you can also pop it back in the oven for a minute before spreading.)

Let pan cool for a few minutes then put the whole pan in the freezer for 2-3 hours until completely set up.  Remove from freezer, peel bark from foil and break into pieces with your hands or a mallet.

Note: Keep chilled as it will get melty and sticky pretty quickly.

Makes a big bowl full of bark.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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1 comment:

  1. Oh man...I would devour the whole pan! I love the salty/sweet combo! :)