I don't remember when it was exactly, but sometime before Thanksgiving (and I actually think it was in October) Ben and I were at Costco and sampled their new Salted Caramel Bark. Immediately, I knew I had to try to recreate this at home. It's a caramel of sorts base with toffee bits and pretzels, then drizzled with white and dark chocolate. It's so good, and in my opinion it trumps Peppermint Bark by far. (That might have something to do with me and my dislike for mint and chocolate together.)
After searching and searching for a recipe and coming up with nothing, I finally took the plunge to just do it myself. My main obstacle was to figure out the base. It had caramel flavor, but was not the consistency of your typical chewy caramel. It was definitely more like the texture of chocolate. So, instead of making caramel, I caramelized some white chocolate using a method I read on David Lebovitz' blog. Once the melted white chocolate reached the color of peanut butter (about an hour later), I spread it evenly on the baking sheet then sprinkled toffee bits and pretzel pieces over top. I then let it cool completely, melted some dark chocolate to drizzle, let cool again, then drizzled some melted white chocolate.
Next, I threw the bark into the fridge to cool completely and harden. One hour later, I was breaking it into pieces and snacking on some delicious Salted Caramel Bark! Unfortunately, this has to be kept in the fridge in order to keep the bark hard and snappy, otherwise it softens up and starts melting at room temperature. I don't know if this is because the white chocolate is caramelized, or if it has something to do with the type of white chocolate used. I've made this twice now. The first time I used white chocolate chips, generic brand, from the grocery store that was pure cocoa butter with no additional ingredients like coconut or palm kernel oil. The second time, I used white chocolate blocks from Ghirardelli that did contain other ingredients. But, each time the recipe turned out the same and just as delicious.
Because this needs to be kept in the fridge to stay hard, it might not be the treat that you want to include in your Christmas baskets. But, you will definitely want to have this sitting in your fridge for your family to snack on as they open that refrigerator door, peering in for just the right decadent bite before bed.
Salted Caramel Bark
- 12 ounces white chocolate , broken into pieces (or white chocolate chips)
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup white chocolate chips (ingredients = pure cocoa butter only)
- 1/2 cup thin twisted pretzels , broken into small pieces
- 1/4 cup toffee bits
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Evenly spread the 12 ounces of broken white chocolate (or white chocolate chips) onto the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven for 40 to 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The easiest way I found to stir the white chocolate as its melting, is to use two spatulas, one in each hand.
- Once the white chocolate is melted and reaches the color of peanut butter, remove the pan from the oven and toss in a pinch of sea salt then stir one last time. Careful spread the caramelized white chocolate evenly over the parchment paper to a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle the toffee bits and pretzel pieces on top, then gently press them into the caramelized white chocolate with the palm of your hand. Allow to cool completely (preferably in the fridge).
- Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, then drizzle over the top of the cooled caramelized white chocolate. Place back in fridge to cool and harden. Meanwhile, melt the 1 cup white chocolate chips in the microwave, then drizzle over top the bark. Place back in fridge again to cool and harden for at least 15 minutes.
- Break into pieces and serve. Keep stored in the fridge.