Last Christmas I made something similar to this bark except I used Saltine crackers instead of pretzels. I thought it was the most delicious snack ever–it tasted like toffee. When Kara suggested we try this recipe I was excited because I already knew I’d love it.
Whether it’s saltines or pretzels, this bark is delicious. Like the Saltines, the pretzels give it a salty base, the caramel layer is sweet and crunchy, and the chocolate…well chocolate’s chocolate. ‘Nuff said.
I don’t know if this is considered toffee. I’ve never made actual toffee before. Does hardened caramel = toffee? I don’t know. But toffee makes an excellent gift to pass out around Christmas time. And so does this bark! Just break it into small pieces and put it in a decorative bag or a Christmas tin. Or go to The Container Store and get those cute chinese take out boxes in red or green. Those are too cute! I know it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet…but I don’t care, I’m talking Christmas.
I mentioned earlier that Kara and I were starting Christmas recipes early (cookies, cookies, cookies & cookies), I was totally serious. This is the best time of year for sweets lovers and we’re taking full advantage.
Yield: 1 sheet of bark
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 pound bag of mini pretzels (you probably won’t use the whole bag)
12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
sea salt, for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover an 11×17 baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
Melt 2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. While the butter is melting, place enough pretzels on the prepared baking sheet to form a single, even layer.
Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and stir well to incorporate. Allow the brown sugar and butter to simmer and bubble, but do not let it boil. You may need to adjust the temperature to low. Stir the butter-sugar mixture occasionally. It should take about 3 minutes for the butter and sugar to caramelize, but keep a close eye on it because it will burn quickly.
When the sugar and butter have caramelized, pour the mixture evenly over the pretzels, strafing it back and forth down the length of the sheet. The caramel hardens quickly so it’s important to pour it as evenly and quickly as possible. If there are any clumps, use an offset spatula to spread the caramel as best you can. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Use a microwave safe bowl to make the chocolate layer. Microwave chocolate chips in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring after each interval, until smooth. The chocolate should melt in only a couple of minutes.
By this time the pretzel-caramel mixture should be out of the oven. Pour the chocolate over the pretzel-caramel mixture, strafing it down the length of the baking sheet just as you did for with the caramel layer. Again, move evenly and quickly. Use an offset spatula to smooth out any clumps or thick spots. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over chocolate before it starts to harden. Allow the baking sheet to harden in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
When the bark has cooled and hardened, remove from the fridge and carefully pull the aluminum foil off the back. Break the bark into pieces and serve. Best stored in the refrigerator.
**Edited on 12/17/11: Some readers have mentioned the caramel being too soft to spread the chocolate over top. If you’re experiencing the same problem you can put the caramel pretzel layer in the freezer to help the hardening process.
Source: adapted from Legume Loyalist