An easy and flavourful festive treat!
This delicious bark offers a rich, appealing blend of flavours. Look for espresso powder (not instant coffee granules) in most grocery stores or specialty food shops. You can use milk, semisweet or dark chocolate chips according to your preference, or a combination of all three if you have multiple bags open in your pantry. If you like salted caramel you might also enjoy this pretzel bark (it’s one of my festive favourites). Like almost all bark recipes, this one is great for gifting in small containers or cellophane bags.
For the caramel sauce
- 1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water
- 1/4 cup (57 g) butter
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
For the bark
- 1 1/2 cups (250 g) chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) instant espresso powder
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the salted caramel sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) coarse sea salt or fleur de sel
- 1/3 cup (40 g) white chocolate melting wafers
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- Prepare the caramel sauce by putting the sugar, water and butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, gently swirling pot often, for about 10 – 15 minutes until the mixture has thickened, turned a deep amber colour, and registers 305F on an instant-read digital thermometer or candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla, stirring to blend. Transfer 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the sauce to a glass measuring cup or small, heatproof jug and transfer the rest to a glass jar. It can be refrigerated for up to a month and re-melted to enjoy on ice cream.
- While the caramel cooks, carefully melt the milk, semisweet or dark chocolate. You can do this in a double boiler (or on pot set atop another one with about an inch of water in the bottom pot); bring the water to a simmer then add the chocolate and vegetable oil to the pot on top and stir as it melts. Alternatively, you can place the chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl and microwave on medium for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for additional 30 second intervals until melted and smooth.
- As soon as the chocolate is melted, stir in the espresso powder, then pour onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth it out into a thin layer with a spatula.
- Drizzle the reserved 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the caramel sauce over the chocolate layer – if it has thickened while you were spreading the chocolate, warm it slightly in the microwave first to make it pourable. Swirl the caramel through the chocolate with the tip of a table knife then sprinkle the sea salt on top.
- Melt the white chocolate wafers in a very small pot using the double boiler method or carefully in the microwave; note that they may take longer than regular chocolate to melt. With a small spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the bark.
- Let the bark harden completely (put it outdoors if it is cold or into the fridge if you are in a hurry). Once it has completely cooled and solidified, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.
Makes 1 pan.