Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sinful Bark (aka Salted Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Toffee)

I wanted to try to make a bark, especially something salty & is what I came up with, and I think it could be gluttonous, hence the name ;)

15 ounces of dark chocolate (I used 1 1/2 bags of Nestle Dark Chocolate Chips)
3/4 cups Heath Bar Bits (divided)
1/2 cup crushed pretzels
1 bag (11 oz) Caramel Bits (I've only found them at Target and they are amazing for baking; so much easier than unwrapping those hard caramels) or make your own caramel sauce instead
2 tbsp milk
Sea Salt
1. Melt chocolate in the microwave on medium to low power, stirring frequently (about every 30 seconds) until completely melted and smooth.
2. Mix 1/2 cup of Heath bits and 1/2 cup pretzels into chocolate.
3. Pour on to your Demarle Flexipat or Silpat (if you do not have, use a cookie sheet lined w/ wax paper). It does not spread much, so just leave about an inch around the border if using cookie sheet or silpat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Melt caramel and milk in microwave at high power 2 minutes, stirring a couple times. Once caramel is fully melted and mixed well, spread on top of the chocolate.
5. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Heath bits and Sea Salt 
6. I say freeze before cutting/breaking up into pieces. The caramel is very sticky if just refrigerated. (When I made it the first time, I only refrigerated it and the caramel stuck to my cutting board). So freeze for about 30-60 minutes, flip out onto cutting board, cut into pieces, then store in airtight container in refrigerator.
7. ENJOY!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Dough Ornaments

Demarle at Home newsletter shared this recipe and I had to try it out! It worked pretty well; however, I added too much dough to mine so they are pretty thick, but they did work. It was much easier than making the kind you roll out and use dough cutters to make the shapes, but you can also do that. We haven't even painted them yet, but the girls did each color one with markers. I need to go buy paint do the rest.

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and place oven rack in the center position. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Fill Molds or Tray wells with dough. I used the Christmas Tree Tray and the Little Chef Tray (looks like gingerbreak men). Bake for up to 2 hours, until dough is firm in the center.

Make a hole at the top of each ornament BEFORE baking in order to run a ribbon through for hanging the ornament. I just used a straw to poke a hole, make sure it goes all the way through.

TIP: Add food coloring to batter to color dough.

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Found this amazingly delicious idea from - she is a fabulous resource for all things baking :) This was created to imitate the yummy Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, and I think it definitely does it justice! I, of course, used my Demarle product which makes it super duper easy. Use the Silpat or Roul'Pat for placing your truffles on and refrigerating, or the Baking sheet with wax paper. They peel right off!

1½ cups pretzel pieces  
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (could also use almond butter)       
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp                                             
2 tbsp brown sugar                                                            
Pinch of salt  
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup your favorite chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable shortening

1. Put the pretzel pieces into a resealable plastic bag and crush into very small bits (a rolling pin works great for this).
2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Mix until all of the ingredients are completely blended and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until completely combined. Add the pretzel bits to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly.  
3. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper, or use your Silpat or Roul'Pat. Using a small cookie scoop, or about 2 teaspoons worth of peanut butter mixture, gently shape into a ball with your fingertips. Place the ball on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. When ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate chips  (any kind will do but I prefer Nestle's dark chocolate or semi-sweet) and vegetable shortening together in a small bowl at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.
5. Dip each peanut butter-pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and use a fork to roll it around. Let any extra chocolate drip off and place back on cookie sheet.
6. Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with a drizzle of melted peanut butter and crushed pretzels, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. NOTE: these do not have to be refrigerated once they are completely done (have been chilled), but I think they actually taste better chilled.

This amount yields about 18-20 truffles. It is very easy to double or triple...which is what I did the first time to have enough for 2 cookie exchange parties :)