Some Christmas treats I sent to my mom this year ~~
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
I got the original recipe from a blog linked here.
I follow this and see she has added some notes that weren’t in the original and are helpful. (My notes: Cook syrup in pan until foamy and a bit longer. Bake in oven until bubbly.)
Salt – coarse would be best… I just use regular
EDIT by OP:: I’ve turned out several batches of soft bark over the past couple years, and I think I finally uncovered the secret last night. Cook the butter and brown sugar until it turns a bit darker and has a fluffy texture. Spread over your pretzels, then put the pan into the oven at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. You’ll want the surface to be covered in tiny bubbles…but don’t burn it! (Been there, done that, too.)
Line a 4-sided jelly roll pan with foil. Cover with a single layer of pretzels. Melt two sticks of butter in a small saucepan. Add one cup brown sugar and stir together. Boil just a little and keep stirring until it gets darker. *You want to let it cook just to the point that you think you may have ruined everything. That’s when the caramelly, sticky magic happens. Pour over pretzels. Bake at 375 for 7ish minutes. Remove from oven and immediately throw your chips on. The heat will melt them, then scrape your rubber spatula over them to spread them around. Sprinkle liberally and generously and graciously and lovingly with sea salt. Cool a bit on the counter. Then pop into the freezer for an hour or until you remember it’s in there. Break apart into bite sized (aka fist-sized) pieces. Fall asleep with salty lips. Wake up with bark mouth.
My first batch was too soft… we had to eat it ourselves. (so sad….) The 2nd batch was hard enough and was sent but of course some little pieces were picked up by me. This is so good… I eat enough to get sick to my stomach… but soon it is gone and I withdraw from the sugar once again.
This has been my stand-by recipe, was a normal snack years ago, and is still good.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
Pop 2 batches of popcorn. (1/2 cup unpopped corn each)
Put pop corn in a brown paper grocery sack, discarding old maids.
Mix first 4 ingredients in a large pan. Heat to boiling and boil for 2 minutes. Add baking soda and stir well. Pour over the popped corn in the bag. Close the bag and shake well. Put bag in the microwave and cook on High 30 – 60 seconds. Turn the bag over and shake again and cook on High on high 30 – 60 seconds more. (less cooking time is stickier corn and I have an old microwave so cook longer for slightly sticky – not too sticky.)
Dump out of bag onto 2 large cookie sheets to cool. Crumble and keep covered if any lasts.
Salted Date Caramels
Link here. (I made the chocolate coating as listed and it is easy to do. I didn’t dust with coconut flour. I used maple syrup.)
Yield: Makes about 15 large or 25 small caramels
- 1 cup pitted mejool dates. To measure, pit your dates and then pack them into the measuring cup before soaking them in the hot water. For me, this was about 14 smallish dates.
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat or light), warmed
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, optional
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. unrefined salt
- Coconut flour, for dusting
- Chocolate coating
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 Tbs. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- OR use melted dairy-free chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup chocolate chips, use more if needed)
- Soak dates in very hot water for 15 minutes. Drain before proceeding. Blend the dates, coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract until a smooth paste forms. Add 1/4 tsp. salt, blend, and taste. Add a bit more salt if desired. Place in the fridge or freezer until firm and pliable, at least 3 hours.
- Roll teaspoons of the date mixture into balls. (work fast) Dust lightly with coconut flour so they don’t stick to each other. Place in the freezer to stay firm.
- Make the chocolate coating: melt and stir together the cocoa powder, coconut oil and raw honey over very low heat until combined. The mixture may separate slightly, in this case put it in the fridge for just a few minutes and then stir. Let the mixture cool until thickened enough to coat the caramel balls. Place in the fridge for a few minutes if it is too runny, but keep an eye on it because it hardens very quickly.
- If you are using the chocolate chips instead of the homemade chocolate coating, just melt the chocolate chips over low heat until smooth. Do not overheat.
- One by one, roll a caramel into the chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment or waxed paper. Sprinkle very lightly with the unrefined salt, and place in the fridge until the chocolate coating is firm. Store in the fridge. If they aren’t consumed quickly (most likely), they last at least a few weeks in the fridge.
Ok… these won my heart! Not really sugar in them except the maple syrup. I do not like cream filled candy at all. These are not that texture. More coconut flavor than dates.
I bought a quart of coconut milk for this and needed 1/4 cup. It only makes sense I need to make more of this recipe to use the coconut milk, right? Buying more dates tomorrow! (BTW, I just used store brand pitted dates. I have no idea what mejool dates are or where I get them and I’m pretty sure I don’t like the cost. )
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