Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

My appetite for sweet treats knows few limits, and when you combine salty with sweet… oh vey! My children like the peanut butter filled pretzel bites that are sold at Costco, and I thought they would make a good core ingredient for something chocolatey.

Here’s what you need to create this:

4 cups of peanut butter filled pretzels or regular pretzels if that is what you have
1/2 butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag, 12 oz., semi-sweet chocolate chips
Fleur de Sel salt

967d977a-58ab-4cb5-88eb-19ea64d6e94fPreheat oven to 400 degrees and line a half sheet baking pan with foil or parchment. I prefer parchment for this because it manages heat better and doesn’t stick, which can happen with foil if you get folds.

Pour 4 cups of pretzels into a gallon sized Ziplock bag. Using a rolling pin or something similar, break up the pretzels into coarse chunks. You don’t want crumbs, coarse chunks. Spread into the half-sheet.

In a saucepan melt the 2 sticks of butter over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and stir regularly until the sugar is absorbed in the butter and the color turns to a rich, well, caramel. The mix will burn if you leave it on the heat for too long but if not long enough the mixture will taste like buttered sugar, which is surprisingly not appetizing.

d5f6e16f-b69d-45ee-9f36-e8b9ec18022cImmediately pour the caramel over the pretzel chunks. Don’t worry about spreading it evenly over the half sheet, you won’t be able to. The objective is to pour it evenly over the sheet from one side to the other and back to get good coverage. Bake the half sheet in the oven for 5-7 minutes, and it is at this stage that the caramel will disperse throughout the pretzel chunks.
While the caramel and pretzels are baking, melt the chocolate. I use a makeshift double-boiler and it is very effective and easy to manage, but you can also use the microwave with good results. Chocolate chips will not melt to a fluid consistency, they melt to something more like a paste. It’s okay because when you remove the pretzels from the oven the resulting mass will have some structure to it.

79e9a8c5-c30b-4d78-95d2-022b1d3f1f0dPour the chocolate over the pretzels and caramel, using a spoon or silicone spatula to spread the chocolate evenly. Fleur de Sel is a wonderful and delicate salt that pairs perfectly with sweets. Sprinkle salt over the surface and refrigerate the entire baking pan overnight to harden.

Remove from the refrigerator, lift out of the pan and break into chunks. Enjoy.