Friday, February 10, 2012

Chocolate-Caramel Almond Bark with Sea Salt

I thought I'd leave you with a recipe idea for a Valentine's Day treat to make this weekend

1/2 cup sugar
2 T cold water
1 T unsalted butter
1 cup roughly chopped almonds
1 lb. good quality dark chocolate - I use Guittard at Lily's -
Flaked sea salt for sprinkling

Line a baking sheet with foil.  In a small saucepan, combine sugar with 2 T water.  Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring this mixture to a boil and cook without stirring until caramel is a deep amber.  This will take anywhere from 5 - 10 minutes. 

 Tip: Don't leave it unattended for too long, once it starts to caramelize it will go from perfect to burnt in 2 seconds.  While it is boiling, you can swipe the sugar gathering on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.  When it starts to turn amber, give it a swirl or two to blend.

When it is deep amber, remove pan from heat and immediately add butter.  Whisk until melted and stir almonds into caramel, stirring to coat well.  Spread the caramelized nuts onto the foil lined tray and spread into a single layer.  Let cool.  Break up any big clumps of nuts that might form.

Place chocolate into a glass bowl and microwave until almost melted completely.  Remove and stir until melted and smooth.  You may also do this step over a double boiler of water.

Immediately add 3/4 of the caramelized nuts and stir quickly to combine

Spread chocolate nut mixture on same foil lined sheet , keeping nuts in a single layer.  

Top with reserved nuts and sprinkle with sea salt ( I use Maldon's)
Cover lightly with plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill in refrigerator until chocolate is set, anywhere from 1 - 3 hours

Break bark into pieces and store between layers of waxed paper, keeping it chilled until sharing 

Enjoy your weekend!

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