Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Chocolate Coconut Caramel Pretzel Bark

At work, I am in a very small department - only about 7 people - so at the holidays we don't hold a big office party.  Instead, we started doing a cookie swap, which is a good way to indulge for the holidays and also put together a fun gift for all of the security guards and parking attendants and all of the others in our building to help make things easier.  However, this year the cookie swap was on the Wednesday of a very busy week, so I was at a bit of a loss when trying to decide what to make.  I refused to buy something pre-made but it almost came to that!

Instead, I remembered a recipe I spotted on Pinterest that was for a pretzel bark, which required very little cooking, so at 9:00pm on Tuesday night I started to put this recipe together and was "done" by 9:20.

To get started, I put together my ingredients to make sure I had everything I needed - it was too late to get started only to be missing something important!

The Ingredients

The Necessities (adapted from Legume Loyalist) - I doubled this recipe, but the amounts below are for a single baking pan
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • bag of mini pretzels
  • 12-oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12-oz bag of milk chocolate chips 
  • sea salt
  • coconut
This recipe involved making caramel and since my first caramel attempt was a bit rough, I was eager to try caramel again.  This was a bit of a different way to make caramel so I took the tips from the comments in my other post, especially from Megan - she always has some great tips!

I began the caramel by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Melting Butter
Meanwhile, I spread the bag of mini pretzels onto a baking sheet that I had lined with tin foil.  I tried to keep it only one layer deep and tuck them into the corners.

Once the butter was fully melted I added the sugar.  You can use light brown sugar as the original recipe suggests, but I love the deeper taste of the dark brown sugar, so that is what I keep on hand in our kitchen.

Adding the sugar
I stirred the mixture regularly, allowing the sugar to fully dissolve.  Once completely smooth, I allowed the mixture to reach an almost boil, but then turned down the heat and let the mixture simmer.  I continued to stir it every 30 seconds and just waited to see how long it would take to come together, really hoping it would not take a full 30 minutes like last time!  Instead, this caramel came together a lot faster, in about 5 minutes.

Simmering Caramel
I then poured the caramel over the pretzels, attempting to do it as evenly as possible - a bit tough, but somehow it worked!  I just poured a little at a time trying to evenly move the pot back and fourth across the pan.  I put the baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 7 minutes.

Covered in caramel
While the pretzels were in the oven, I filled a heat proof bowl with the two different kinds of chocolate chips and placed it over a saucepan with some boiling water, making sure the water was not touching the bottom of the bowl.  I continued to stir the the chips until they were fully melted - probably about 3-5 minutes.

"Double Boiler"
Melted Chocolate
When the caramel was done I took it out of the oven.  It seemed to cook up nicely.

Cooked Caramel
I then poured the melted chocolate over the pretzels.  For this batch I sprinkled some salt over the top and popped the whole sheet pan into the fridge to cool overnight.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
I made a second sheet pan and for this one I stirred some coconut into the chocolate mixture and poured it over the pretzels baked in caramel.  I topped this sheet off with a bit more coconut for a little flair.  I also placed this completed pan in the fridge to cool overnight.

Mixing in the coconut
Ready for the fridge
While the recipe did not take much time at night, I still had a bit of work to do in the morning before the gym and work.  I pulled each of the pans out of the fridge and broke the bark up into pieces and put them into a tin to bring to work.

I must say, pulling this bark off of the tin foil was not as easy as I thought.  I spent a considerable amount of time peeling off the tin foil.  This was worse on the salted caramel than the coconut, but I think its because the caramel cooked a bit longer with the coconut sheet pan, so really go the full 7 minutes.

Salted Caramel Pieces
Chocolate Coconut Pieces
The pretzel bark was a hit at work - nice to have something a bit different than chocolate chip cookies.  That, and they were one of the only things not bought from a store!  I would make both of these again, since they are super easy with a lot of pay off.  If I were to make the salted caramel bark again, I would add some salt to the caramel as it would give it a better/stronger salty flavor to contrast more with the sweet.


  1. This is so fun, I love that the pretzels are left whole. Caramel and pretzels is the best.

  2. Wow, you certainly cannot go wrong with this combo of ingredients. YUM. I'd eat the whole pan!

  3. Um... can you send some of this my way right now? It looks soooo good!!

  4. wow, that sounds fantastic. salty pretzels, caramel and chocolate, yes please :)

  5. i want this to manifest through my computer screen it looks so good!

  6. Bark is the best! I usually only make it around the holidays, but I have NO idea why. It's definitely an all-year-round treat!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...